How To Recognize A Sister, Even If You Don’t Have One Of Your Own

by Becky on April 12, 2013 · 6 comments

in Parenting, Travel

Tessa and Millay in ruins

I never had a sister, a fact that used to bum me out when I was growing up. But here’s the thing: you don’t have to have a sister to be a sister, or to spot a real Sister when she enters your life. As I see it, there are three ways to recognize a Capital-S Sister when she ends up on your doorstep wrapped in Midori ribbon.  (My first one arrived when I was Goose’s age, and she’s still a Sister.)

Tessa and Millie looking out over wall_1364

One. A Sister will be interested in you–in your mind, your emotions, your tastes. She will want to know your thoughts, she will show concern for your feelings, she will respect your likes even if she doesn’t categorically share them. Such a Sister is a gift. When the universe tosses someone like this into your path, embrace her!  And hold on.

Tessa and Millay by bronze door_1768

Two. A Sister will be gentle with you. She will not belittle or denigrate you. In her presence, you will feel like an equal not only because she shows you respect but because she views you as a peer in the best sense.

Tessa and Millay on street_1735

Three. A Sister can be trusted with confidences of every kind. Sometimes it’s a terrifying risk to reach out to a would-be Sister in the hopes that she is what she seems to be. Ninety-nine percent of the time, your gut will steer you right. If you are blessed to have in your life a Confidence-keeping Sister, it’s probably because you are a Confidence-keeping Sister.

There’s always room for younger women to grow into the role. Raising a generation of Sisters–especially if they’re related to you and to each other by blood–might be one of the most important things we’re about in this short life, don’t you think?–showing daughters how it looks? Indeed, that might be the trickiest act of all: creating opportunities for girls in the same family to value each other not just as sisters but as Sisters.

Girls looking through wall at Sagunt

Living abroad has strengthened my daughters’ attachment (which is both rich and, at times, complicated), but I’m convinced that travel can involve something as basic as a trip to the local yogurt shop.  There’s something about just logging time together:  it acts as mortar.  What’s more, if you’re paying for the goodies, the girls’re on board.

What are your thoughts??

(Photos:  Sisters in the ruins at Sagunt.)

Karen L April 12, 2013 at 4:56 pm

Love this. Just love it. My just-younger-than-me sister and I had a really rocky relationship while I lived at home. I was more than a little bratty and moody, and she was more than a little goody-goody :). It wasn’t so great – especially since we had to share a room, and there was no escaping each other.

But I found the minute I moved out, I gained that perspective – and became super protective of all of my siblings. And since then, she has become one of my very closest friends.

I love the idea of finding the sisters not born into my family, but meant to be in my life. I have found a few such treasures, and they are such a gift. It’s wonderful to have the shared experience with blood sisters, but having the perspective of those sisters who did not grow up with me is sometimes just what is needed because they bring their own experience and opinions which can help me keep an open mind.

Becky April 13, 2013 at 1:44 am

Karen, your comment is its own beautiful post. Truly. xx

DeLane April 13, 2013 at 6:10 am

Excellent! Excellent!! Excellent!

This can be read from a “males” point of view and is still “Spot On”. Thanks for sharing!!

Becky April 13, 2013 at 10:28 am

DeLane, thanks for a crucial observation. And you’re right: guys, too, are blessed when they have Brothers, with a Capital-B.

Un fuerte saludo!

Kathy Crockett April 13, 2013 at 7:55 am

Becky – I think WE are sisters. We don’t see each other that often, but when we do, I feel like I want to share time with you. Love ya, Sistah!

Becky April 13, 2013 at 10:29 am

Kathy!! So delighted to hear from you! Yes, you are definitely a Sister. After one of our chats, I always find myself wishing we had more time together. Maybe someday soon? . . . xx

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