I usually tell people that I don’t have sisters, just four brothers, as though I’m apologizing. There’s nothing wrong with having brothers; it’s just that they aren’t sisters. They’ve never gotten excited about my new outfit or my haircut or my broken heart. They’ve never felt the way I feel. I suppose during those brief moments when I see sisters together and feel a twinge of jealousy it is because I imagine a bond that can’t exist between siblings of the opposite sex. Don’t get me wrong, I love my brothers. I’ve enjoyed their company over the years. However, I hardly think our relationship is as close as it would be if they were girls. And I’m not the same person I would be if they were girls. I blame them for the fact that I’m somewhat of a tomboy and I don’t always act like a lady. “What do you expect?” I always justify, “I was raised with wolves!”
I did have sisters…once…long ago…for a short time. My mother used to tell me about them. Their names were Sandra and Carla. I don’t remember their last names. They were little girls who stayed with us and for some reason made a lasting impression on me. I don’t know why. I was such a little thing it’s difficult to imagine so brief an encounter making a “lasting impression”. I don’t remember the girls staying with us more than a few times over one summer. However, for years I remembered that giggly, sweet closeness that clings to little girls. Each time one of my brothers drowned my rag doll in the bathtub or pulled my hair, I imagined life with Sandra and Carla in their places.
My mother has sisters who are still alive to remind me of her. Each one is a connection to parts of her personality. One has a lot of Mom’s expressions and mannerisms. One has her warm heart and generous spirit. One has her sense of humor. They all have memories and stories of her. They shared a lifetime of experiences. It’s comforting to think that a part of her still lives in her sisters.
I have two daughters who sometimes admit to being sisters. They’ve always been very different and at times have been at odds with each other. However, I think that as they’ve married and had children and experienced some of the same joys and tragedies of life they have grown closer. I hope that in years to come they will rely more and more on each other and find even more to share.
My husband’s cousin has five sisters. Maybe that’s too much of a good thing! It seems to work for them. They have their occasional squabbles, but I know that they are close and have “sister trips” and “sister parties” and “sister dinners”.
Over the years I’ve had some wonderful friends who have seemed like sisters. My childhood friend, Elaine, was a part of my heart for many years, until cancer took her life in 1983. Someday I’ll share a bit of our relationship with you. There have been so many others I dare not make a list for fear of leaving someone out. Each woman has contributed to who I am and made me a better person. Perhaps I really didn’t need a sister after all!
I don’t know that I had any life-altering purpose in writing this. I just ran across this picture and it brought back fond memories. I hope that if you have a sister, you will give her a call or email and tell her how much you appreciate her!
(By the way, I’m the one in the middle.)