On getting along with your siblings...
I don't have a great relationship with my family, which probably has a lot to do with why I keep my girls and their kids so close. I haven't talked to one of my older sisters in about 8 years now and I haven't talked to my baby brother in about 6. Why? It's a long rather stupid story, always petty and stupid things that make us turn into such cold and ugly people. The truth is that I love my siblings, we grew up with a mom who wasn't very nice, she was a very cold woman who treated us all pretty crappily when we were little. I should be very close with my siblings because of that, we all made it through that life and came out of it okay, perhaps we didn't come out perfect because she really did a number on all of us, but we came out together. Yet the way we were raised has a lot to do with why we can't get along now, instead of learning to accept each other for our mistakes, we learned to do what mom taught us, which is be cold and just turn away.
Being estranged from my brother and sister is one of the things that makes me most unhappiest. It should never have come to that, why are we not stronger than this? We can only blame our mom up to a point, because even if she gave us a crappy upbringing it was up to us to rise above it, and as of right now we have not. I don't know if we will ever have the chance to set things right, all I can say is that I hope we can. I hope that one day we can slay the dragon that keeps us apart.
When it comes to my girls and now all of the little ones, I hope that what happened with my siblings never happens to them. I try so hard to instill in them the love for each other and hope that they will be strong enough to never let any problems (no matter how big) get between them. If I wish anything for them, it is that they will always be there for each other.
There are friends in life and there are spouses/partners. But the strongest bond is with your blood, and if you take care of it, it will never let you down.
Always be present in each other's lives, no matter how far you might be from each other. And if one of you should ever fall, look how many of you there will be to help them rise.