I am the oldest of three girls and we have always been close. Of course there have been times over the years when my sisters and I have fallen out, times where two of us have ganged up against one – like the time my middle sister and I refused to give our little sister any of the dolls’ clothes – her Tiny Tears stayed naked. She looked cold but we didn’t relent. As teenagers my middle sister would always manage to “borrow” any new top before I’d had a chance to wear it. I would find it screwed up on the floor of her room or hidden at the back of my cupboard. She was a real pain when my parents’ divorced, she stayed out past our weekday curfew, driving our mum mad convinced that as children from a broken home we’d all go off the rails. As a result mum was more strict with all of us. My little sister and I know exactly what buttons to push in an argument. We can say things to each other that we never ought to say. Things that really hurt. Things that leave both of us licking our wounds until one of us calms down enough to start the process of an apology.
But one of my favourite memories about my sisters is of a party we once went to together, we’d all left school and were back from our respective universities in our home town. It must have been one of the first times we’d gone out as adults, without one of us still being a child. We spent all night gossiping together, flirting, laughing, drinking. I was proud of us. I was proud to be out with my sisters. My sisters are beautiful, clever, funny, interesting and when I am with them I feel that way too. I felt like we shone that night. Each reflected and magnified in the glow of the others.
As we have grown up we have each moved further apart geographically but we still manage to find the time to talk on the phone (although this has become more difficult now we each have young children). Smartphones and the internet have allowed us to keep abreast of each other’s news, to share our sorrows and our successes even though getting all of us in one place gets harder and harder. When I meet people that don’t get along with their siblings I find this difficult to understand, even though there are good examples of this amongst our own relatives. But when I think about it I can see how petty jealousies and niggles over the years and the competition that is ever present in almost all families, can take their toll.
One thing that has helped us, I think, is that we do keep talking, we share things with each other. Whether our parents’ divorce pushed us closer together than we would otherwise have been I am not sure. I think it might have done. It is a shared hurt, something we all have in common and that I know we all still think about from time to time. My little sister recently sent me a text saying she was really pleased she was feeling close to me again. This made me want to write this post. The closeness of sisters. Whatever the reason, let it never go away.