Every girl needs a sister. Secret-keeper. Fashion advisor. Cohort. Sous chef. Problem solver. Cheerleader.
If you were lucky enough to grow up with a sister, you know there is no relationship like the one between sisters.
Women who never had a sister or have lost a sister, often find a sister bond with a girlfriend.
Look at the devoted sister-friends in pop culture: Oprah Winfrey & Gayle King, Drew Barrymore & Cameron Diaz, Tina Fey & Amy Poehler. Oh, I’m sure there are sister-friend duos in the actual arts and the field of science – however, since I live close to the TMZ, I can only speak of what I know.
The sister bond is powerful. I am blessed to have grown up with a sister of my own, and today is her birthday.
For ten years she was the only girl. A rose among 3 thorns. Apple of her daddy’s eye. Princess in her own bedroom.
Then natural family planning resulted in my unexpected arrival. From that day forward, she shared her royal quarters with a lady in waiting; until one day, a prince of a guy
stole married her and made her his Queen.
I was crushed that she was leaving. I had a nervous stomach the week prior to her wedding. I floated through my junior bridesmaid duties on her wedding day, thanks to the valium Mom gave me. Hey, it’s not like we lived in The Valley Of The Dolls, but it was the 1970’s. “Mother’s little helper” helped me make it through the night.
What would I do without her? She taught me to shave my legs. Watched Mary Tyler Moore with me. Campaigned for my rights……to pierced ears. Made the best popcorn. Bought me my first perfume (Windsong, of course). I didn’t want my own room, because everything was more fun with her – even show tunes.
I eventually got used to her married life. During my high school and college years, she birthed three babies. I spent countless hours in her happy little home.
Our difference in age meant we never fought over clothes, make-up, or the bathroom. Naturally, our age difference is no longer noticeable. Even so, in our 50 years together, we’ve never had an argument. (Scrabble squabbles don’t count.)
Not one fight. Not even when I poured boiling water on her hand while draining pasta, or when she squirted lavender dish soap in my soon-to-be-mashed potatoes.
However, she has accused me of stealing her identity. We look and sound a little bit alike, although I am taller and she is skinnier. I caused a kerfluffle during one visit to my hometown, when I unknowingly snubbed a woman while walking through a restaurant. The woman’s husband worked with my sister’s husband.
I am now under strict orders to strike up a cheery conversation with anyone who merely glances my way. I’m not sure my constant babbling to strangers is helping her reputation.
Our slightly similar appearance confuses the very old and the very young. During my recent visits with our Mother, she insists I am my sister: the “well-behaved daughter.” My sister’s 19-month old granddaughter calls me Nana, despite all attempts to teach her to say my name. Hopefully this changes soon, or the real Nana will be mad at me for the first time, ever.
We think alike, and often say the same thing simultaneously. Several years ago, we were banned from playing on the same Pictionary team, after I began my turn by drawing a straight line, and my sister immediately correctly guessed a phrase that had nothing to do with a straight line. Sometimes I open my mouth to speak, and she interrupts me with, “I know what you’re gonna say.”
She is a dedicated and resourceful volunteer with a built-in business savvy. She is hilarious. She is a Nana like no other. A caretaker by nature.
My Mom rarely leaves the care facility where she lives, but my sister makes sure she has cute clothes and her hair is colored. She thoughtfully adds a decorator touch to Mom’s room for each holiday. She shows the same patient and sweet affection for our Mother that she shows to her Grandchildren.
We now live 2,000 miles apart. Technology keeps us connected. She is always quick to lend an ear, and frankly, she can only lend one – the left ear can’t hear a thing. We are the Seinfeld of sisters: we can talk for hours about..nothing.
We’ve watched developing TV news stories together…over the phone. We can pick an outfit and cook via Facetime and shop via text messages and photos.
We share new recipes, hot tips, and great shopping finds.
We also share a funny bone, a sweet tooth, boobs that are too big for our liking, and unfortunate-looking knees.
We also share an appreciation of how blessed we are to have each other.
My cousin Jennie passed away 2 weeks ago. While, she is missed terribly by her parents, her husband, 4 children and a large extended family and many friends; her passing also left my cousin Julie without a sister.
On the morning of Jennie’s funeral, my sister said, “We’re adopting Julie, right?” I knew what she was thinking: Every girl needs a sister. Of course we would happily adopt her as our 3rd sister.
Our sweet cousin Judy beat us to it. She knows firsthand, the strength, comfort, and power of sisterhood. Sisters make the happiest times more joyous and the tough times, bearable.
So yes, today is a landmark birthday for my hilarious sister. I won’t say exactly how old she is, but I will say that I celebrated my 50th birthday this year. She tells me I am lucky to have her as my window to the future, because I can see how I will look in 10 years.
I think I am luckiest to have found a friend in my sister. I don’t know what I would do without her.
Everything is still more fun with her,
And, hey, if I look like her in 10 years, that’s cool, too.
P.S. In observance of Breast Cancer awareness month and in memory of my cousin Jennie, grab your sisters and sister-friends and schedule your mammograms. We need our sisters and sister-friends.