My sister, Kassie, and I had our tough times growing up, as most siblings do, but we mostly got along. I wouldn’t have called us best friends, but we could definitely be depended upon to come through for one another in a pinch. We did that thing so many sisters do, where we’d bicker and sling insults at each other, but woe to the unwise soul who dared utter one negative word about either one of us in the other’s presence. And yet I still wouldn’t say we were super close.
But there is a unique, impossible to duplicate bond that comes from sharing the same room for half your life with someone. Around the time when I was almost finished with my bachelor’s degree and my sister was turning 18, we began to reconnect. Our bond, stronger even than we suspected from years of shared experiences, shifted and clicked into place. We’ve been best friends ever since.
I think it started with us hanging out when I’d come home from college to visit. We were thrilled at the prospect of our both being adults and able to doll up and head out for a night out on the town together. “Um, I am not in love with that lipstick color,” Kassie would say, and I’d retort, utterly unoffended: “It’s my favorite lipstick!” Then we’d cock block each other all night because Ew, can’t a bunch of overzealous wankers see we’re perfectly content hanging out with just each other? Boy, bye.
It was around the time Kassie was planning her wedding (pre-Facebook and pre-texting) that we began talking regularly by phone. We talked almost daily, sometimes for 5 minutes and sometimes for an hour, about anything you could think of. We knew the most mundane minutiae of one another’s day, down to what colors we were considering painting our walls.
When she was pregnant for the first time, I hung on her every word about her pregnancy, absorbing it all vicariously and retaining the knowledge for when I would become pregnant a year later. I attended the birth of my niece, which to this day is still the most incredible thing I’ve ever witnessed. (Women are such warriors, y’all, LOL “weaker sex,” my ass.)
Later, when our two families would get together, we’d have game nights. Kassie and I would always team up, and our shared history and constant communication made us an insufferable and unbeatable Will and Grace-style team. I know we’re not alone in our sisterly ability to practically read each other’s minds—with games like Charades and Taboo, where teammates have to guess what their team member is trying to say, no one stands a chance against us. In fact, there are several games for which my sister and I are now forbidden to team up on, because our sisterly bond makes it completely unfair to everyone else.
Though my sister is 3 years younger than me, she’s my parenting role model. She is an incredibly devoted mom, loving and patient, tough but fair. Whenever I’m stressed about something to do with my kids, I can rely on my sister to put my worries in perspective with calm, practical advice.
I admire her simply as a human being, too—as in, she’s the kind of person I’d be friends with even without the DNA link. She is whip-smart, hilarious, and kind. She is more religious than I am but would never judge me or anyone else for their spiritual preferences. She is adventurous, always up for trying something new—and to motivate me to get out since I can be such a homebody.
Sisters can also be an amazing source of inspiration for each other, pulling out each other’s strengths. For instance, I’m continually amazed at and inspired by how impeccably kind my sister is to strangers. The Christmas following Sandy Hook, when we couldn’t seem to feel festive about the holiday, Kassie thought up an activity to spread kindness and love and lift our hearts a little. We bought a bunch of carnations and with the kids wrote out short positive notes about love, then attached a note to each carnation. We went to a strip mall and handed them out to busy, stressed shoppers. At first, people were annoyed because they thought we were trying to sell something, but then they were touched when they realized we just wanted to share some love. Many tears were shed that day. This is the kind of thing my sister regularly does. Even if she isn’t in the position to accomplish some grand, expensive gesture, she will think of some way to spread love.
Sisters’ support of and love for one another is often unbreakable and unconditional. Kassie knows things about me that no one else knows, has seen all my darkest, ugliest sides, and still loves and accepts and supports me. And I can’t imagine ever holding on to a grudge or being angry at her for more than a few minutes.
Sometimes just knowing my sister is there is enough to fortify me on hard days when it feels like everything else around me is falling apart. I thank my lucky stars every day for my amazing sister, my best friend, and I wish everyone with a sibling could experience the same.
There are sisters, and there are best friends. And then there are sisters who are best friends — and I’m so glad my sister and I fall into that category.