Though I normally prefer sharing about universal thoughts and emotions tied to most women’s life experience, I just had to make an exception with this post. I couldn’t resist. Kinda like running your diamond-clad finger around the entire office after getting engaged, knowing most won’t give a hoot-especially Phil in accounting. But I’m thinkin’ at least half of us have a sister, right? Or daughters that’ll someday experience indescribable bond found only in sisterhood.
So those still reading on will hopefully empathize with and appreciate the magnitude of emotions felt when my youngest of two sisters recently declared she and her family are moving back home after living halfway across the country for two decades.
It still feels surreal. Like when a lifelong prayer is finally answered, you’re not even sure how to proceed. It’s been a long road for my middle sister and I, trying our best to stay close to our “baby” sister via annual visits, Facetimes, texts and the occasional surprise trip from Connecticut. But we all know it’s not the same.
We’ve lived endless seasons without seeing each others’ bellies grow through every pregnancy, or the thrill of holding each other’s newborns, proclaiming we’ve birthed perfection. Two decades watching our kids grow up without that “cousin magic” of weekend sleepovers, birthday parties, sports games, and endless Christmas Eves wishing we were all at the same table. And two decades of being apart through the hard things…the loss of loved ones, the pain of miscarriage, parenting struggles, and one particularly wayward sister’s divorce (they learned young not to follow my lead).
It might sound a bit much to the sister-less, or those without close families. Understandably so. Like a pack of true sociopaths, my entire extended family has purposely chosen to live within three square miles of each other. I can easily jog to the doorsteps of at least 10 first cousins and my sister lives so close, I can clearly hear her children shrieking through the woods when going outside (she homeschools. We ask no questions). When our mom went through an “exploratory phase” thinking about moving to a lake house three towns over, we held an intervention. What was she thinking. Probably a bit co-dependent, and for sure an introvert’s worst nightmare. But for me, there’s no greater blessing than a close family. And there’s simply nothing like sister love.
Because no one knows you, and no one has your back like a sister. Friends can leave when you need ‘em most. Some we never imagined growing apart from, still remain distant. And sadly, husbands can come and go, too. Sisters won’t. It goes way beyond shared chromosomes.
Quite frankly, they’ve seen too much. They’ve witnessed your chunky bang phase firsthand, during your blind obsession with Brenda Walsh from 90210. They’ve survived your continual childhood meltdowns before ADHD was a diagnosable thing. They’ve endured an entire year of you insisting on being called “Alexis” in fifth grade, just because.
Us older sisters have literally paved the way for the youngers, teaching how to hide Flinstone vitamins under the carpet, how to fake cry our way to later bedtimes, how to properly stuff a bra, and perfect your Janet Jackson moves. “We are a part of a rhythm nation now, girls!” The youngers have seen us through first periods, the worst of boyfriends, late 90’s diet fads, fashion crimes, driving fails, an egregious attempt to go blond, and that unfortunate season of forgoing makeup for the sake of Jesus.
Nope. There’s nothing like sister love. We’ve fist-fought over borrowing each other’s Guess overalls, we’ve cold-bloodedly ditched each other for boys and friends, and incurred mutual concussions when diving for first dibs on the cordless at night. But now that we’re grown, we’d do anything for each other, always.
Sisters are the ones who love us enough to call us out when caught up in bad patterns or habits. They’ll tell you to knock it off with the “growing gray gracefully” nonsense and get yourself a Loving Care kit, and they’ll be the first warrior to stand on the battlefield of truth, declaring that although you are indeed a 42-year-old suburban queen, you’re simply too old for crop tops. Had a good run!
They’ll watch our kids, even during the toddler years, so we can have date nights or just escape for a mani, and they’ll remember to pray…I mean really pray, for whatever you’re going through, faithfully. They’ll not only lie to us, but truly believe our ex’s new supermodel girlfriend doesn’t don’t hold a candle to our “inner beauty” and “charm,” because they see the very best in us. And they’ll extend unwavering grace for our incessant whining and worrying about life stress, even when it’s just about crow’s feet.
So to my sister and her husband as they prepare to refill the baby-sister shaped hole in our hearts. Know that although we’re counting the actual seconds ’til you return, we promise to be the epitome of chill. We’ve agreed to give space and time to matriculate back home in your own way, at your own speed. We will not demand you join our Fall Sunday soup nights (but can you make chili?), nor be offended if you decline our annual summer camping trip (we reserved a spot just in case). We’ll sincerely try not to send early morning invites to sister gym workouts (we did buy matching tanks- no pressure) and you can even pick your own church.
And if the adjustment to New England feels a little tough at times, when your noses are frozen in month number four of winter and milk now costs $7 a gallon, just remember… your return is the greatest answered prayer of our lives. Because family is everything. And there’s nothing like a sister.
And yes, you’re camping. Get a tent. #SistersAreForLife #SisterPrayerPower