Sisters, we don’t have to be best friends. I still love you both.
When I was five years old, sisters, you both were my very best friends.
We used to play with dolls together on the back porch of our childhood home. We would catch fireflies in our grandparents’ backyard as we watched for families of deer. We would spend hours in our basement playing school. I was always the teacher because I am the oldest, naturally. You let me be the leader. We fought over who had the best Cabbage Patch doll.
When I was 12 years old, I chose a friend over both of you, sisters.
My friend and I shared a best friend necklace. We were boy crazy and tried everything to be just like the teenage girls who lived up the street. We blared Whitney Houston from our CD players. Mom let me stay up late to watch Beverly Hills 90210. You two had to go to bed early.
You both were left out—often.
In the summer of 1992, the three of us sisters and our neighborhood crew played “backyard Olympic gymnastics.” We were obsessed with the Olympic gymnastic team. You both looked up to me because I was your big sister. I loved that. Sisters, you have to agree, I was almost as cool as Dominique Dawes or Kerri Strug, and I couldn’t even do a cartwheel.
When I was 17 years old, sisters, you two were best friends. I was not in your circle.
Sisters, we started to drift apart. In high school, I was consumed with my boyfriend. I was busy fighting with him at concerts, learning how to drive, and figuring out a way to follow him to college. I am the oldest so I was the first to do everything. I think you both hated me for that. I understand. I would have felt the same way.
You two had each other and your shared circle of friends. You ended up at Penn State together. You shared beers, protests, piercings, and tattoos. I went to a small college. I joined a sorority. You both said you hated Greek life. I was the third wheel when we were all together. I didn’t really notice the distance much back then. I was all consumed in myself. I think we each were. We were selfish teenagers.
When I was 25 years old, I wanted it to be the three of us again, but I was too late.
I got engaged—not to my high school boyfriend. I asked you both to be my maids of honor. I could not pick one. I wanted the same from each of you, but I knew you two were closer than I would ever be with either of you. I stupidly thought everything I gave to you both, I would get it back in return. I was too late. I was wrong. You two had a special bond because you shared a lot together growing up that I was not a part of. You told each other your secrets. I was in the dark.
When I was in my early 30s, I started having kids. You both started having kids too.
My feelings were crushed when you, sister, didn’t ask me to be a Godparent to any of your children. I mistakenly assumed we would pick up where we were when we were kids, not where our relationship had evolved to—distant and superficial. You didn’t see me as a close friend of yours. I guess I didn’t see you as a close friend of mine, either. However, I wanted that picture-perfect sibling relationship I would see from others or on TV. We didn’t have that, and the realization crushed me for many years.
Now, at 41 years old, we are not best friends but I love and respect you both.
My relationship with each of you is unique.
Growing older, I have realized siblings don’t have to be best friends.
Naturally, friendships with strangers evolve due to shared interests. The sibling
dynamic is tricky because we learn and fail and grow together and we are really hard on each other. We are crazy critical, and we hold some nasty grudges. We see politics differently. We have different views on the vaccine and abortion laws. We parent very differently. We have different types of marriages. We have different relationships with our shared parents. We see our childhoods differently because, well, we had different experiences.
We don’t talk every day. Our kids see each other at holidays and maybe birthday parties. They are cousins and they love each other very much, but they are living different lives. However, it is all good, and I am finally at peace with our
As I look to the future, I don’t know where our relationships will go.
I think we each are committed to surrounding ourselves with people who let us be our best versions of ourselves. The older we get, we each just want peace. I pray we can talk to each other with respect even when we disagree. I pray our conversations are not focused on what is in the media or always include who is President of The United States. I pray we can talk to each other about future hardships like our parents getting older. I hope we talk together and cry together and allow each other to be ourselves without any judgment. Life is so short.
Sisters, we don’t have to be best friends, but there is still time to try. If not, that is OK too. I still love you both.