Brothers & Sisters

Ronit Sherwin

I have a guilty television indulgence: Brothers & Sisters. It is a ridiculous show about just that – a motley crew of brothers and sisters. This television family seems to have an inordinate amount of craziness, tragedy, and general dysfunction, as well as infinite love and understanding for each other (not to mention their share of paternity discrepancies). I do not watch the show as religiously as I did prior to parenthood, but I did so recently when I was visiting my own “crazy” family during Passover. And I started to think, “this show is not all that ridiculous.”

The truth is that I could write my own Brothers & Sisters as I know quite a bit about siblings. I have two older brothers, a young sister, two sisters-in-law, a brother-in-law, as well as two half-siblings who are school-age. I mean no disrespect to my own beloved family when I say the following: family is crazy and dysfunctional, and no one family is immune to this reality.

I had a dear friend named Suzy who died nearly four years ago of a brain tumor. One particular evening, Suzy, I and our friend Jan were sitting around my coffee table, sharing intimate stories of family. Suzy looked at Jan and I and said, “You two have some crazy family! My family is normal.” Jan and I looked at each other and laughed. As Suzy’s illness progressed, and Jan and I spent increasing time with Suzy’s family, we found it humorous to learn just how crazy Suzy’s family also was and we continued to share our observations with her. In the end, Suzy died, surrounded with the love, warmth, loyalty and insanity as any other family.

I continue to enjoy my irregular doses of Brothers & Sisters. I find it both comforting and refreshing to watch someone else’s family muddle through the good, the bad, the ugly and the simply funny parts of life.