Perfect question to ask your siblings because, together, siblings come up with some weird ish, man! My sister and I made up a road trip game called “Mr. Brown”. We were probably 5 and 6 years old, respectively. This is how “Mr. Brown” game would go: Someone would ask, “Hey, do you wanna play Mr. Brown?” The other person would say yes so we’d find this one pillow that my mom always put in the car for us during road trips. It was a square, off-white pillow with a thousand small fabric tassels around the edge. We’d each yank off one tassel and proceed to chew on it like gum while saying, “Mmm! Yum! Mr. Brown.” That’s it. That was the whole game. W.T.Effff? The tassels tasted salty and starchy and disgusting. There was no winner. It wasn’t even a game. But we still played it every road trip. Don’t ask me… Continue reading Do you remember us making up any games as kids?
I like this question as one to ask your sibling(s). It somehow seems like the easy route to ask this of your parents. Parents are always LOOKING for ways to be proud of their kids. And for me at least, the thing that most recently made my parents proud would probably be, like, me going to the dentist. But my sister and brother could care less about my cavity situation. Siblings are harder to impress. So remember the times that you’ve made them proud. And get back there. Continue reading When did I last make you proud?
My older sister has given me some exceptionally thoughtful gifts over the years. But the VERY first one I ever remember getting from her made me so mad. At Christmas, my parents allowed us to choose just one gift to open early on Christmas Eve. I remember being perhaps 8 years old. My sister and I weren’t in the habit of giving gifts to each other at that early age. But underneath the tree, there it was: a small wrapped box from “Jamie” – my sister. I was so intrigued that I chose to open the gift from her early. I was so excited. I remember tearing open the wrapping paper and looking down at… a “fun-size” box of raisins. I was so pissed because 1) I didn’t even like raisins and 2) I had completely WASTED my early gift pick. But bitter memories aside, this is a really fun question to ask your sister or brother. Continue reading What’s the very first present you remember getting from me?
This is a great question to ask your sibling(s). You’ll get to laugh about which of your parents’ characteristics you’ve absorbed (intentionally or unintentionally). Are you constantly telling people to turn off the lights when they leave a room, just like dad? Are you regularly advising people to “do what you love and the rest will follow,” just like mom? And if you’re not sure what you say that sounds like your parent, your bro/sis will probably be able to help you learn something about yourself. Continue reading What do you say that sounds just like mom or dad?
Tim Urban over at the Wait Buy Why blog is a hilarious genius. (He’s also rather profane. So click over only if you don’t mind an F-bomb or three.) Tim wrote an absolute mind trip of a post called “Your Life In Weeks.” It’s a visualization of how much time we actually have on the earth to do what we value. And then in an arguably EVEN MORE shocking follow-up post called “The Tail End,” Tim drops some serious truth on us about the difference between life activities that are evenly distributed and those that are not. When it comes to number of winters he has left, Tim has plenty because there’s one every year and there has only ever been one a year. But when it comes to relationships, Tim’s stats tell a very different story:
“When you look at that reality, you realize that despite not being at the end of your life, you may very well be nearing the end of your time with some of the most important people in your life. If I lay out the total days I’ll ever spend with each of my parents—assuming I’m as lucky as can be—this becomes starkly clear. It turns out that when I graduated from high school, I had already used up 93% of my in-person parent time. I’m now enjoying the last 5% of that time. We’re in the tail end. It’s a similar story with my two sisters. After living in a house with them for 10 and 13 years respectively, I now live across the country from both of them and spend maybe 15 days with each of them a year. Hopefully, that leaves us with about 15% of our total hangout time left.”
So, back to the question. “When are we getting together next?” Ask your siblings. Ask your parents. Ask your closest friends. AND THEN PUT SOMETHING ON THE CALENDAR. Otherwise, it just won’t happen. What could be more important? Seriously? Continue reading When are we getting together next?
Is this just me? Or sometimes do you “remember” something from your childhood and then all of a sudden you’re not 100% sure if it’s actually a memory of something that truly happened or if your kid brain just rolled together a childhood desire, a tv commercial, and a dream from falling asleep on the way home in the back of your Dodge Caravan? I hope it’s not just me! Anyway, this question is fun because comparing memories with your siblings is super fun. Ask away! Continue reading What’s one thing you remember about growing up that you think I probably don’t remember?
No matter what, your family has a certain vibe – a certain energy distinct from any other family on earth. What motto would capture your family’s essence? What would go underneath your house seal? Ask your siblings and see what comes up. I can tell you my family’s motto could easily be: “Send ’em home with leftovers.” Because growing up in my Filipino family, our house was often full with my parents’ friends, our counter full of food, us kids all running around or rollerblading or playing super nintendo. And you could be dang sure that if you came to our house, you’d encounter a super-abundance of food and we’d send you home with at least one plastic grocery bag full of pancit, and lumpia, and bbq and rice. I can’t tell what’s more important – the food itself or the sharing. (For a different look at this question, ask your parent instead of your sibling.)
Continue reading If our family had a motto, what do you think it would be?
There are so many different directions to go with this. I’m imagining what my answers would be. I might time warp to 1996 when my sister and I were entering middle school (which are always weird, difficult years for kids). I’d tell myself to look out for her and not to be a punk. I really regret how I treated people, my sister included, during middle school. Or I might time warp to a 1999 family road trip in our dodge caravan and tell us all to soak it in, really love it and pay attention even if all we’re doing is eating at a Denny’s off the freeway and playing the claw machine game with the 50 cents we BEGGED my parents for. Ask this question. Sometimes questions involving time machines are, in fact, already time machines themselves. Continue reading If a time machine could drop you right in front of us as kids, what year would you want to appear and what would you say to us?
Maybe your sister would’ve wanted to be the oldest by 5 years. Maybe your brother would’ve wanted to still be the youngest but not by the 8 years that actually separated him from the rest of the pack. Hearing the “why’s” behind the choices will put you into your siblings’ shoes. You’ll get a glimpse of what your family looks like from their perspective. (And perspective is always a good thing!) Continue reading If you could have picked any place in the birth order for yourself, what would you have picked? Why?
Comparing notes is healthy. And it doesn’t take long for this question to inspire funny stories between you and your siblings. Your childhood might have been pretty idyllic or kinda dysfunctional but either way there will be something about it to appreciate. (Appreciating like this also has a way of putting you in charge of your own future.) Continue reading What do you appreciate most about how we were raised?
No matter how much you’ve fought and still fight with your siblings, brothers and sisters are a blessing. Nobody knows you and your story the way they do. Kick around some ideas of things you might collaborate on. If the answers are goofy, you’ll have a good laugh. If the answers are exciting, then remember me when you’re the new Jackson 5. (Don’t remember me if you’re the next Kardashians, though. I’m not taking the fall for that shit.) Continue reading If we could collaborate on any project together, what would you want it to be? (Could be a business, a rock band, an artistic creation…)
This is of course the corollary to the “What is the nicest thing…” question. As much as we need occasions to thank each other, we need occasions to ask for forgiveness and to forgive. (Once I dumped chocolate syrup on a painting my sister had spent weeks on. I can’t even remember what she “did” to me to deserve that. What a little shit move on my part…) Continue reading What is the meanest thing you remember me doing to you when we were growing up?
Even if you weren’t always the best brother/sister ever, your sibling will remember some act of kindness you showed in those formative early years. You might be surprised what they remember. And just in general, we don’t have enough opportunities to thank each other about what matters. This question is perfect for helping us show gratitude. Continue reading What was the nicest thing you remember me doing for you when we were growing up?
Almost nobody else in your life will ever share as many formative experiences with you as your sibling(s). And yet despite the shared history, it’s pretty funny to see how we all inhabit our own little worlds. This question gets at that. Continue reading What is the strangest thing you believed when we were growing up?