“She is your mirror, shining back at you with a world of possibilities. She is your witness, who sees you at your worst and best, and loves you anyway. She is your partner in crime, your midnight companion, someone who knows when you are smiling, even in the dark. She is your teacher, your defense attorney, your personal press agent, even your shrink.” — Barbara Alpert
Real Women are all about relationships. Sure, men have relationships with other people, but they are more a convenient happenstance for them, not a vital requirement to their existence. For women, having relationships with the people in our lives is like needing air to breathe.
Some of us are lucky enough to have a long-lasting, loving relationship with a man and decide to spend the majority of our life with him. Some of us have to kiss a few frogs to find a prince. Certainly those relationships can be amazing, horrifying or just down right educational. But we’ll save that discussion for future posts.
On the other hand, the relationships we women have with other women are our lifeblood. At the very core of our connections lays some sort of common bond, a similarity, and a history. Quite possibly the strongest of all of these connections is with sisters.
Sure, like any sibling combination, sisters can appear to be so very different from each other that others would never believe them to be related, or they can be shockingly similar. There can be disagreements, fights, and frustrations. Yet there is no denying the strength of that “sister thing” that ties us together.
My sister and I were not especially close growing up. It wasn’t because we didn’t get along… it was more because of our age difference. She was my big sister by 7 years, so as I was in grade school, she was testing the waters of a teenage world. When I was in college, she was a fast-paced married career woman. I think we kind of fascinated each other. To me, she was always the strong beautiful fashion plate, the older and more experienced one. To her, I was the baby of the family, goofy and happy to follow my siblings around. We never argued, we got along well, and we have some great memories from our youth – we just didn’t spend a whole lot of time together.
Funny thing though….in our adult lives, things started to change. That age difference started to fade and it became not really much of a difference at all. Our similarities became more and more pronounced. We started to cling more to the value of having each other. And now even though we live 1,600 miles from each other, we are closer than ever.
What I’ve experienced between us is what I’ve observed in others…Sisters are funny creatures. Even if we can’t be together often, we sound alike. We act alike. We often think alike. Sisters can poke fun at each other without offense. At times of crisis, sisters are there for each other. Sisters are sounding boards, allies and confidantes. No ideas are too crazy to share with a sister. The history between sisters is the unspoken bond, the understanding of where we come from and why we are who we are. Sisters just plain get it.
Sisters will also do things for each other that no one else will, no matter how silly. Great example… this past weekend my sister and I took a road trip together. After getting a couple of breakfast sandwiches to go, I was piloting us down the road and she was divvying up our cuisine. Short side note here: I have a thing about cheese. Primarily, I can’t stand gooey orange cheese. And as I unwrapped my selection, I was horrified to find that the server clearly had not heard my plea for “no cheese please”, and there it was, in its mushy golden globbiness. My sister simply plucked the item from my grasp and proceeded to perform a precision mobile cheese extraction. Matter of factly, she let me know that the egg portion was a total loss, but was able to save the remainder of the sandwich and handed it back to me. If that’s not sisterly love, I don’t know what is.
In the hours we spent together over the weekend, we touched on topics as deep as family issues and as light as celebrity fashion. We jumped topics like two distracted puppies, but had no problem keeping up with each other. We laughed, we got misty, we solved world problems.
Most importantly, we put in place our plans to see each other again in two months.
And so it goes with sisters. The most amazing part of this vital relationship in women’s lives is that if an R.W. doesn’t have a biological sister, she likely develops that sisterly relationship elsewhere. Sisters don’t have to be connected via DNA. They just need to have that bond built by loyalty, love, humor, history, security… and a good dose of admiration.
And it really helps if your strengths compliment each other – so one of you can kill spiders while the other can protect against orange cheese.