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.)

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