Thursday, September 12, 2013
It's an amazing thing, raising sisters. Sisters are especially special to me, I should know, I am like the expert in sister-ness, like I have a PhD in it or something, well, me and my seven sisters do that is.
There are a lot of us. And one brother too. We call him Brother. We adore him, all of us.
But the sister thing, well, Brother came along when I was older, a teen, so for my childhood it was a world of sisters. Sisters who soothe your grumpy moods. Sisters who loan you a favored T-shirt. Sisters who run around outside playing little house on the prairie. Sisters who listen to horror stories of the mean kid at recess. Sisters who comb out your hair and put in perfect French braids. And yes, sisters who scratch you with claw-like fingernails, as only girls can, when you exchange mean words.
They are beautiful, this bond between girls, a giggling, sacred bond that only they can share. And as I grow older this bond becomes more sacred, as we enter into adulthood and discover the role of woman, and all that it entails - professional lives, academic lives, marriage, and then that journey into motherhood. And with each new journey our bonds tighten, woven together in time, sometimes ebbing, sometimes shifting, but always there, tangible, sacred, sisterhood.
And now I watch it as it grows between my girls, this bond.
"Sist-uh! Sist-uh! Where are you my sist-uh?" My little toddler girl calls out into the backyard.
"I need you my sist-uh!!" She looks up at me with sleepy eyes, after just waking from her nap, and her eyes start to fill with tears. "Mama, where my sist-uh go?"
A blonde curly head emerges from the woods, "I am here sister!"
And they run, arms outstretched, into an embrace, both calling out "SIST-UH!" "SISTER!"
And they hug, and my heart skips a beat.
And I want them to know, how special they are to each other. So here is my list, in no particular order, of some things I want my girls to know about being sisters, and this is especially dedicated to my teachers in this art of sisterhood, my sisters.
1) Sisters come first. Period. Before friends. Before boys. Especially boys.
2) NEVER borrow each others clothes without asking.
3) Listen to each other, even if you are in different places in life, stay connected to each others dreams, goals, and yes, daily crap.
4) When your sister breaks up with a boy [holy cow I cant even handle thinking about my girls dating] just listen, you aren't allowed to talk bad about the boy, only they can - at first - and bring ice cream.
5) Share each other's triumphs. A promotion. A positive pregnancy test. And if you ever get invited to the White House to meet the president, or speak on national television, a text to your sister beforehand is required.
6) Tell the truth when your sister needs to hear it, like, if her skirt is too short or if her butt looks funny in those jeans, or if you think she shouldn't ride on the back of Georgio's motorcycle at the age of 15. She might be mad at you for telling the truth, but secretly she will be grateful.
7) Your sister is in your corner. Remember that. And remember to be in your sisters corner for her.
8) Best friends come and go. Sisters stay. Invest in each others friendships. Ditch the kids, the office, and go to a museum together. Out to coffee once a week. Something.
9) Fingernail scratches and pulled hair hurts. Mean words hurt more. Be careful and kind with your words.
10) Learn to love - or at least take interest in - the people and things your sister loves, for her sake.
11) If your sister is down, give her space to feel what she is feeling, love her from wherever she is coming from, lift her up gently, smooth her curls, put a bandaid on her knee, be there for her.
12) Be a good secret keeper. Listen to each others worries and concerns and excitements. Unless one of you is planning to elope at the age of 17. Then for God's sake TELL ON YOUR SISTER.
13) Have fun together. Love things together. Giggle. Laugh. Listen to good music together. Maybe even sneak a wine cooler to your sister when she is 17, ONLY AT HOME THOUGH. Ha.
14) If you have mutual friends, and I bet you will, take each other's side when group dynamics have gone bad. You might secretly think so and so is right in whatever teenage girl squabble you are in the midst of, BUT your sister is the one sharing your bathroom.
15) Check in with each other. Email. Text. Something. Stay connected. Heck, by the time you are in college you will probably be able to blink and send messages via google to each others brains. Do that then.
16) Don't hold grudges. Its not worth it. You will fight. You will get mad, but its not worth it to stay mad.
17) Don't pick on your brother. Too much.
18) No, but seriously, let your brother in on your world of giggles and secrets. Let him drink tea at your tea parties and pretend forest fairies. Let him be your knight.
19) Encourage each other. Keep tabs on each others frustrations. Ask about how that crappy econ prof is treating you or how that marathon training is going. Care.
20) Don't talk behind your sister's back. Ever. Period. (Unless you are telling your mom about how she plans on eloping at the age of 17. Heck. Even if she plans on eloping at the age of 37. I WANT TO KNOW.)
21) Respect each others dreams and wishes. Your sister might be totally happy as a pastry chef or training to be an Olympic equestrian. You might think that is the biggest mistake of her life BUT if she loves it, support her in it.
22) Encourage each other to be the best selves you can be. To be women of integrity. To be women who are strong, who believe in themselves, who believe in good in the world and know how to fight for it.
23) Love each other.
24) Love each other.
25) Love each other.