The day my parents brought the new baby home from the hospital, I felt my cushy life as an only child shatter at the tender age of 2. I dragged my diaper bag across the floor and announced I was leaving. This little usurper was going to shack up in my room, play with my toys, and steal the attention I was used to being showered with, and I wanted no part of it.
A couple years later, they brought another girl home from the hospital. I didn’t protest as much at the time. But as the years went by, we fought and bickered and ratted each other out around the clock. Each of us rolled our eyes when urged to get along or when opening a Christmas present only to find some garbage ceramic plaque with a cheesy quote about sisterhood beneath the wrapping paper.
Our adolescences were spent slamming doors in each other’s faces, screaming that we hated one or two of our trio, stealing clothes, hogging the remote and the bathroom, and eating food that one of us had bought with zero guilt. Olive Garden leftovers are suddenly palatable when there’s a threatening note from one of your siblings on the styrofoam box.
We wanted nothing to do with each other most of the time. Sure, there were moments of peace here and there and an acknowledged feeling of obligated, familial love. But as the oldest, one of the most exciting parts about moving out on my own was finally being away from my sisters.
But once we weren’t all in the same house, something shifted.
I would go home and the three of us would…hang out. We would eat junk food and watch Friends on DVD. I would pick up my youngest sister for a sleepover at my apartment. Our middle sister would come to my place for parties.
As time went by, we started meeting up to go shopping or get lunch or go to the movies. When one of us had a rough day or a breakup, the other two would come to the sister in need with takeout food, face masks, and funny movies. When someone had a new boyfriend, the big deal wasn’t bringing him home to meet the parents — it was getting approval from “the girls.” Once the three of us were out of high school, the bond we had was stronger than ever. We were more than friends and more than best friends.
Sisters don’t need to have idyllic relationships. They can yell and scream at each other. They can be angry or furious with each other to the point of tears. They can be annoyed daily by the same things that drove them nuts about each other when they were kids. There is something about the bond between sisters that is strong and resilient, even through arguments and disagreements or a massive falling-out. We have told each other to get out of our homes, hung up the phone in the middle of a fight, and vowed not to speak to each other again.
But the value of our relationships can make even the most stubborn of us *cough cough* suck it up and apologize because life is now something we don’t know how to do without each other. And we don’t want to do life without each other because it’s more enjoyable when we are together.
Sisters can keep a running group text where they not only make plans to get together, but also get to a level of detail about their poops that they don’t even reach with their primary care physician. They can go to the grocery store in the middle of the night because they’re both feeling festive and suddenly want to throw every Christmas-themed snack in their cart. Sisters can get in the car together and one of them can put on music she knows the others hate while she sings along at the top of her lungs, grinning from ear to ear while her sisters threaten to cut off all her hair while she sleeps.
Sisters will bring you tissues, crackers, and cold medicine when you’re sick because they know you don’t keep any of that on hand. But they’ll hand it to you at the door and tell you not to breathe on them so they don’t get sick too. They will write your number down on the check when you comment that your waiter is really cute but you’re too shy to say anything. They will also write that waiter a note letting him know that it’s your sisters leaving your number and that you’re probably too amazing for any man, but they will give him a chance because he has nice dimples. Sisters will become friends with all of your friends because you all are a package deal. If someone gets one of you, they get all of you, or else they don’t make the cut.
I have a son and a daughter right now. Seeing the bond they have as siblings is one of the greatest joys I have as their mother — especially because they’re young enough that the constant bickering hasn’t set in yet. And while I hope to have a couple more kids in the future, I’m especially hoping for another girl so my daughter can (fingers crossed) experience the bond between sisters. I can handle the yelling, slamming doors, and eye-rolls if it means they will get to share what I do with my favorite girls.
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