You know how some only kids beg their parents for a sibling? Or how some little girls wish and pray for a sister just so they can have someone to play with? Not me. I didn’t want any part of a sister. I had one brother already, plenty of cousins, and had been the only girl grandchild for six years. The position was a good one, and I relished the attention.
When my baby sister was born, my life completely changed. I was surprisingly in love with her when she was a newborn and infant. She was so cute and everyone made a big deal out of me being a big sister. I couldn’t get enough of the attention. But soon, things shifted. My stepmother didn’t have as much time or affection for me anymore, and it seemed to me to be a direct result of my little sister’s presence. I resented her as a toddler and preschooler and longed for the days of being the only girl again.
Having a sister taught me empathy and how to be a good nurturer.
Years later, when I was in college and she was in middle school, our relationship changed. I started taking my role as big sister seriously again, and was intentional about looking out for the only other female sibling I had. Even though I was away at school, I’d make sure to get home for dance recitals and other special events. Once, I even threw her a birthday party. I sent my parents away, and along with my best friend, planned every detail and paid for everything from the cake to balloons. It was like being a mom, but I only had to do the fun stuff.
In many ways, my sister helped me to be more responsible, especially when I was younger. I learned empathy and how to nurture thanks to her. Being a big sister taught me how to be a good person, and I’m realizing that a lot of folks who have sisters learned some of those same lessons. Actually, sisters help folks become better people — and it’s a fact that is backed by science. A study by the Brigham Young University School of Family Life found that having a sister makes many adolescents feel more loved, connected, and brave.
Sisters can talk about anything. For hours.
Since my sister and I are several years apart, it wasn’t until we became young adults that we became really close. Around the time that she went away to college is when we connected on more than just a sibling level. We’d talk about everything and confide our deepest secrets to one another, confident that no one else in the world would ever hear about it. We’d hang out a lot, and she even lived with me during one of her summer breaks. Oh, we fought like cats and dogs the whole summer, but we also had a lot of fun.
We would stay up all night having discussions about pop culture and politics. It was cool to see her asserting her opinion about different issues, and we actually changed each other’s minds a few times. We still have those types of conversations. Sometimes we have to agree to disagree, but it’s nice to have a safe space to do a little verbal sparring. Only a sister will have a fundamentally different view on an important cause or issue than you do, go at it for hours at the top of their voice, and then go out for ice cream afterwards.
Sisters and the relationships we share are special like that.
You have a built-in friend for life when you have a sister.
In my twenties, when I was dating, if my sister was around, she’d come along. The guy would just have to get used to it. During the summer she visited me, a fella asked me to a concert and I told him I’d love to, but he’d have to get a ticket for my sister, too. Of course, he agreed. When he ended up being kind of weird, I had my sister with me to dish about him once we got home. See how cool that is? Having a sister means you have a built-in friend to commiserate with when life gets weird or hard.
When I became pregnant with my first child, I asked my sister to move in with me, and we lived together for two years. Grocery shopping, watching television, playing with the baby, spontaneous trips to the beach — you name it, we did it. In the moment, I didn’t realize what a gift it was to have my sister there with me. I don’t think she got it, either. We spent so much quality time together, building our relationship and getting to know each other as grown-ups. I know for a fact that we’re closer now than we would have been if we hadn’t spent that time together.
Sisters will always take care of you.
I’m so glad to have a sister to go through life with. At just about every baby shower, bachelorette party, or graduation celebration I attend, if the person of honor has a sister, she’s usually in charge of making sure things run smoothly. Sisters take care of each other in so many different ways, and we’re always going to make sure our siblings are taken care of.
When I look back, I know things weren’t perfect. She is my little sister, after all, and used to getting her way. Oh, we had some disagreements! But sisters always figure out a way to work things out. All I can remember now is the support she gave me and my daughter. I think that’s probably why my daughter looked just like her when she was born!
Our family has faced some dysfunction and tragedy, and it’s comforting to know that I have my sister there. She lost her mother (my stepmother) a few years ago. We have a lot of family around to support us, but only the two of us truly understands the magnitude that loss has been on the other. My sister and I lived in the same house and was raised by my stepmom. She did our hair, yelled at us, and taught us lessons. Each of our relationships was different with my stepmother, though, and especially as we got older and I became a mom, it changed. Only my sister and I can recognize and appreciate those differences, though.
We’re also dealing with our father basically deserting us in our adult years, so we recognize that we’re each other’s anchor. Whatever I need, she’s got me. And she knows I have her back in return. Dealing with the sadness and trying to make sense of our dad’s desertion is a lot easier to go through with someone who understands exactly what I’m feeling. I wish we didn’t have this deal with this hurt and pain, but my sister definitely softens the sting a lot.
Having a sister gives you someone to go through the good and the bad times with.
It’s pretty fantastic to have someone there to share the good and the bad times with, without worrying about making the other person feel uncomfortable. That’s the person my sister is to me.
Now that we’re both grown, we’re in the perfect place. I know that if I have a long drive, I can call her and we’ll gab on the phone for hours. Even though we’re across the country from each other, we find time to get together a few times a year so we can drive each other crazy in person. We message each other on social media all the time, and she finally just downloaded the Marco Polo app so I can drive her crazy with a ton of video messages all day long.
My sister and I are nothing alike. She’s fashionable and social. I’m a homebody and will rock the same outfit until it absolutely has to be washed. I’m a lot nicer than she is. She cusses like a sailor. She gets on my last nerve. And I’m sure she’d tell you I get on hers. But we’re stuck with each other, by blood, and I’m really glad about that.
This article was originally published on