Lurking siblings make time with friends a sharing experience

When I have friends over to visit, I often have to "rescue" them from my siblings; otherwise they might end up trapped playing games forever.
By : 
Lydia Hanson
Too Hick to be Square

If there’s one thing the Clan has gotten good at, it’s sharing.

I’m not saying we’ve gotten good at liking sharing, but it tends to be a way of life for us. My siblings and I share birthday parties, science textbooks, bedrooms, and sometimes (accidentally) clothes. 

Whether we’re fans of it or not, sharing just goes with the territory.

But in many cases, I don’t think we really mind the sharing all that much — in many cases, we haven’t known a time when we didn’t share birthday parties and science textbooks. There are even some things we really enjoy sharing, like cleaning chores and garden work.

On the other hand, there are other things we would just as soon not have to share. In my case, at least one of those things is friends.

For most of my life, my friends have been long-distance, living in other states and only reachable by letter, text, or email. We don’t actually see each other all that often, and as a result, I’ve gotten used to not having to share my friends with my siblings.

But recently one of my best friends came to visit from North Dakota, and during her week-long stay, I was reminded how difficult it can be to secure one-on-one time with my friends without all my siblings looking on.

It may surprise you to find that many of the Clan (including myself) are actually pretty shy. So whenever someone new turns up at the house, the first hour or so of their stay involves lots of lingering and lurking in silence — which for me meant I didn’t have to beat off the hordes with a stick just so we could talk in private for five minutes.

The lingering and lurking only lasts as long as they’re feeling shy, however, and as soon as that’s gone, my siblings jump at the opportunity to have someone new to play games with or to follow around and ask questions of.

Let’s just say my friend never lacked for company while she was here. 

Our fascination with having guests at the house is such that (as I’ve learned from past experience) if I’m going to have someone visiting me at the house, I’d better prepare them to be tailed by an entourage of at least three people under the age of 10 at all times and to be kept under constant surveillance by roughly a half dozen lingering lurkers who aren’t nearly as sneaky as they think they are.

This doesn’t only happen to me, of course. I’m not that special. If any of my other siblings have friends here visiting for a day or afternoon or really any period of time, our interactions with them will follow nearly the same pattern. 

In fact, this is a pretty accurate overview of the treatment we give anyone who comes to our house, whether it’s friends, relatives, or the appliance guy come to fix the washing machine.