There are some holidays on the calendar nobody would even think to know about. For example, did you know that February 8th is National Kite Flying Day? Or that November 17th is National Take a Hike Day? Some of these are pretty silly. But, then there is August 6th, National Sister’s Day. It is the one day of the year when anyone that has a sister in their life can celebrate them in whatever way they choose.
The relationship between sisters is one of the most precious and also the most difficult one that exists within the dynamic of the modern family. Sisterhood is something I’ve always been intrigued by. I’ve watched others with their sisters and compared their relationships with that of my own sister– the ins and outs of the relationships, the closeness or lack thereof, and how the bond can change over the years.
For many of us, the relationship between us and our sisters has helped to shape the people we are today. The prime role they play in our development is hard to fully put into words. But, here are some reasons why the relationship between sisters is so special and significant:
1. They are your closest match on the face of the earth. You come from the same stock. It doesn’t matter if you have the same mom and dad, if one is adopted, one entered the family through marriage, or if you are twins. You are two (or more) sisters from the same family. You are both part of the same crazy, loving, chaotic, silly family. In most cases, you grew up together. You have watched the other, fought with the other, and encouraged the other. The younger has striven to be like the older, and perhaps the older like the younger in some cases. Even in your differences you can celebrate the fact that you have so much in common simply because you were given the title of “sister” to one another.
2. Sisters teach each other the rules of a healthy competition. For many, one of the downfalls of sisterhood is the built in stigma of the lifelong comparisons that come with being one of two (or more) girls in the same family. From the time the second is born, you are automatically in competition with one another, whether you know it or not. Which one is better at school? Which one is better at sports? Which one is prettier? If the older achieves something great, the younger is expected to do the same. On the flip side, if the younger outshines the older at anything, a reverse jealousy is created. The competition is inherent. It exists in almost every sisterly relationship. But, it teaches us what it means to be a friendly competitor and who better to compete with than someone you are so close to?
3. Sisters teach each other what a friendship really should look like. Like the built in competition, having a sister usually means you have a built in friend for life. Yes, you may fight with her more than your other friends. You may not always like each other, and there may be more stealing of clothes, poking fun of, and pulling of hair than in your other friendships. But, at the heart of it all, who will stand up for you like your sister? When you need someone to talk with about issues within your family, no one understands the ins and outs of it like her. She will defend you, stand by you, love you, and comfort you like no other.
4. She is the yin to your yang. Occasionally, you will meet a pair of sisters that are so much alike that one wonders where the personality of one ends and the other begins. Other sisters are so different from one another that one is left wondering if they are even from the same family. No matter the differences or similarities, the two often balance each other out. They make an even, well-rounded pair. One might be the loudmouth of the family, where the other is so shy and timid that half of the extended family is curious if she even speaks. When you grow up in such close quarters as someone, you learn from and about each other over the course of your childhood. Therefore, you are very much in tune with one another. When one is feeling weak, the other rises up to be strong. Or when one is sad, the other is the pep talker of the family. It’s almost second nature.
5. She will be in your life longer than most others. This one is tough because in some cases it’s not always true. Some lose their sisters way before they are ready to, some are not very close, and some never get to see their sister. But, in most cases one of the longest relationships we will ever have in our lifetime, is the one we have with our siblings. They are the ones that are with you from the start and often times to the end. If you are lucky enough to see 85 with your sister by your side, the two (or more) of you will have lived through some tumultuous, happy, sad, thriving, horrible and quiet times together. You will see each phase of life together and from that your bond with either strengthen or weaken. Perhaps you will go through phases where you don’t speak, or phases where your life will depend on the other.
The ebb and flow of every sisterly relationship is so unique to each family. My own sister and I were childhood best friends, and then as we aged we became mortal enemies as many siblings do, and now we are best friends again. My sister knows me very well and I know her just the same. We are very much alike in many ways, and so very different in others. We’ve been each other’s supporters, each other’s critics, each other’s partners in crime, and each other’s rivals. We’ve had fights that have lasted months and months where all we had was each other. She’s my best friend, my maid-of-honor, my son’s godmother, my health adviser (she’s a nurse), and at other times a royal pain in my butt.
The relationship we share is one that is complicated, sweet, honest, emotional, funny, and hard all rolled into one. She’s the one person that I have this bond with, and the one person I’d fight to keep it with. When I’ve walked away from friendships for less, I would never turn my back on her. I know she wouldn’t do it to me either.
Sisterhood binds us together and it is one of the strongest ties there is.