The Sisters

Sisters. No other woman knows you better or loves you more…or at least, has the capacity to do so. Even if you think she doesn’t know you at all, you’d be surprised at how well she really does understand you. No one knows your early history as well as a sister. No one else knows how to use it to your advantage or against you the way she does. She knows your weak spots and your strengths. She can make you or break you. You know it and she knows it. No other relationship carries such power. It’s what you do with that power and what you allow the other to do with theirs that makes all the difference in the relationship.

Even when your relationship is conflicted, most sisters still have your back. Growing up there was probably no one meaner or nicer to you than a sister. At times, you’re one and the same. Other times, you feel like you’re from different planets. Yet the energy exchanged between you is unlike the energy of any other relationship. It has the power to diminish you or fly you to the moon. The maternal instincts battle one another. Sisters are fueled by competition, stifled with jealousy, and driven by love. It’s a constant clash of control and surrender.

There’s an emotional connection those without sisters don’t get. We see through one another and feel their pain and elation as deeply as they do themselves. Often we are one another’s strongest cheerleaders. We live among the roots that bind us.

Above all, admit it or not, we care what our sisters think of us. We can’t imagine life without them. They were the ones there from the beginning. The ones we trusted to teach us the ropes, or we were the ones who ever so patiently molded them into miniature versions of ourselves. We’ve cried on one another’s shoulders. We’ve made one another cry, but we’ll be damned if we’ll allow anyone else to hurt them. We remind them of the stupid things they’ve done in life, all in the name of not repeating mistakes or to remind them of how far they’ve come.

Sometimes you just don’t get what you feel you need from your “real” sister. You reach to other women who validate you. They become your sisters in spirit. They are your encouragers of life. They are the ones who pick you up when you are down. They feed you when you’re too weak to eat. They lead you through the darkness. They hold your hand just so you know you are not, nor will ever be, alone.

Relationships are tested as we take liberties where we wouldn’t in other relationships. We have unreasonable expectations as well. We trust them to tell them everything; we might trust them to tell them nothing.  Neither is right or wrong. It’s all a matter of relationship. Sometimes we’re just plain disappointed in the sister relationship. We feel they’re not giving us what we need…or we think they expect too much from us. That’s when it’s time to take expectations off the table and accept one another for who we really are as adults. We sometimes have to drop the sibling order of relationship and try to be friends of an equal partnership. We have to put aside childhood differences and start over. Sisterhood is like marriage, it needs nurturing and takes two to make it work for both of you.

(I have four sisters.  I am the youngest. I am separated by twelve years from the oldest, nine from the next, and five from the other. We each have different relationships between us. Through the years our relationships with one another has changed as we have changed. I can only hope the future will bring us closer.)

My three sisters, mom, and me. I'm in the center.

Living in the Gap

January 30, 2012 –Ordinary moments

I’m sitting on the sofa like most evenings. The dog lay at my feet, snoring to her heart’s content. The noise of her breathing is louder than the grandfather clock and the dogs barking across the street. The humming of the dryer and whooshing of the washing machine are barely heard as Wylie’s snorting rises to meet the vaulted ceiling. I start laughing, and she looks up as if to say I’ve interrupted her beauty sleep. She settles back onto the rug as I sip a glass of merlot. DirtMan quietly edits his photographs on the computer beside me. I look around to see the reflection of the lamp in the picture window and a neighbor’s porch light as the beams seem to reach out into the night to shake hands. I am thankful for the comfort ordinary moments offer me.

42 thoughts on “The Sisters

  1. I’ve recently learned my oldest sister (13 years older than me) has Alzheimer’s. It explains a lot about the weird phone conversations we’ve had. But it seems so impossible that someone so beautiful and strong… well, you know, SuziCate.

    Yes, I wallow in those ordinary moments. Let’s continue seeing those extraordinary things in them.

    • That is difficult…my mother has this going with her twin sisters and it’s been very hard on her and her other sister. It started with one twin and then with the other about a year later.

  2. I don’t have a sister. I have friends that are my sisters. But as you state there really is nothing like the relationship of an actual sister. Thank you for this post giving me a liitle insight to sisters. 🙂

  3. I soooo get this post. My sister is nine years older than me and I couldn’t imagine life without her. It really surpasses understanding. I love your gap entry too. My lab snores and it cracks me up. 🙂

  4. Thanks for sharing your family with us. I had three sisters, and now two are still living. We were all very close in age, only a year apart, which may have amplified both the joys ans challenges of being sisters.

  5. You’ve hit the nail on the head with this one, Suzicate! I only have one sister (two years younger); we fought like cats and dogs all during our younger years, but are tentatively trying to put the past behind us now. Yes, we each know which buttons to push as well as when to back off. Sometimes I think the sisters we choose makes for a closer relationship than the one that’s chosen for us, but then again, perhaps it was chosen for us for a reason?!

  6. I have no sisters, but I have had and have now sisters in spirit, for which I am ever so thankful.
    Yes, the snoring of a dog can drown out everything else. I say this as Shasta lies near me, snoring, snoring snoring.

  7. BEAUTIFULLY expressed post, Suzi!

    And I love this part…..

    ” Sisterhood is like marriage, it needs nurturing and takes two to make it work for both of you.”

    Amen.

    Great opening photo to represent sisterhood!

    Thanks for sharing, my friend. Enjoy your day!

    X

    P.S. loved reading your Ordinary Moments – how sweet.

  8. Each sibling I have is special ~ two brothers and one sister, each with different personalities, strengths and weaknesses.

    Like Carl . . . I love the photo at the top. Exhuberant JOY!

  9. It is interesting to reflect that what is ordinary to one will be extraordinary to great numbers of other people. This is why there is such fascination in following one another through blogs.

    As for sisters, I can see that in the relationship between my wife and her younger sister, but I also value the fact that said sister became the sibling I never had.

  10. I always wanted a sister. The closest thing I’ve got is my best friend, who has been my ‘sister’ since 1995. (She has two sisters of her own!)

    Your family looks so happy. The picture made me smile along with you 🙂

  11. What a great post. I have 5 sisters. As we married some of us didn’t visit much any longer.We developed different interests. We only called on special occasions. The younger ones (me included) stayed connected. We’re now in different seasons, and with my mom passing , we visit far more. We are soon getting together, just the sisters, for a bday celebration. It’ s funny how we grew up together and now were growing older together. I like it. I also have few girlfriends who I consider my sisters also. I look forward to reading more.

  12. I love this post! I am incredibly blessed to have 2 sisters and several sisters-in-spirit as well. They keep me grounded and never fail to remind me who I really am. My sisters and I are quite far apart both in age and location, and we are as different as it is possible to be in most ways, but we share a connection that I think can only come from sisterhood. I can’t imagine life without them. My younger sister, especially, is my heart. Thanks for writing about sisters! It always makes me happy.

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