I remember when I found out my second child was a boy, a brother for my firstborn son, a friend shared this bit of wisdom with me: It is more important to have a brother for your boy than a sister for your girl. I asked why and she said, "Because women are typically better at finding other women to fill the sister relationship but most men's default best friend is their brother."
And after thinking about it awhile, I would agree--with a sister who lives abroad it has been necessary to find other women to fill the everyday sister role. There are a handful of friends who are 'sisters in the village of childrearing' in ways I cherish immensely. I can show up at Beth's door which she opens in PJs to fold my children easily into her family if I have to dash off to a last-minute event or doctor's appointment, a friend I am sure to call in an "I'm at the Supergiant, do you need anything?" way. Beth's always up for a walk to the playground and thrift barn; our children walk the quarter mile between our homes daily.
Locally there are many friends whose kids fit right into my crowd for a game of pick-up soccer and jam-making while their mamas go off to yoga. My three children anticipated Jessica's new baby like a long-awaited fourth sibling and there's a large crowd of women with whom I cherish conversation about kids, husbands, education, health, cooking, crafts, fitness, literature, vocations and avocations. There have also been many long-distance 'sisters' I have met over the years who have cheerleaded me and my dreams, who have been a part of my journey.
Then there are the sisters I get to have because my brothers chose them--women who enrich my life with the differences of our backgrounds, fading as our shared history becomes longer and more significant.
While I cherish these friends, these other sisters and their unfailing support and love, their perfectly timed phone calls, their insights and thoughtfulness, the deep affection I have for each of them and their families, I call them 'sisters' meaning they are dear friends, because in truth there is nothing quite like a sister.
After seven years and three brothers of waiting, Linden Ford finally came into my life. I remember knowing, on some innate level that my life was changing.
I loved this baby with a fierceness unparalleled; loved bossing her around and dressing her up. With such an age difference, we bypassed the competition that sometimes plagues sisters, but we also missed sharing the same interests at the same time, converging only on horses, two years before I left for college.
Seven years--the gap took awhile to fill and we grew up in different times, with different friends. But sometime in college, it all fell away and I saw in her a steadiness and surprising maturity, and even better, realized our shared history and genetics.
I consider myself blessed to have recognized that in my sister, I have a best friend who knows what I mean with the barest shorthand of words, who wants everything for me that I want for her, with whom I can dish about family without feeling like I need to add any disclaimers, who gets it.
JULY 1983--Seven Mile Beach
We are not exactly the same; but similar enough in voice that we can fake out our husbands on the phone, trick each other's newborns so long as we hold them facing out. She is far more savvy and stylish than I am, a rule-follower who plays her hand closer to her chest, who actually thinks before she speaks.
Linden in Roatan 2006,
As the years go by, we grow even more similar, in tone, appearance, priorities and aspirations. I am proud of the woman she is, of the honesty in our friendship, of all the ways she surpasses me, of the ways we complement each other, how roles can reverse and flip back (I used to dress her up--now it's the other way around!) with no worries...
Linden and me, selling tickets at Hurricane Katrina benefit concert...
We can hold each other up, dust each other off, look at each other with honesty while dreaming of the future, revamping and revising, laughing hysterically...
Now we are mothers together, two little girls who despite the physical distance, share all the closeness, the drama, the understanding and compatibility of sisters...
Piper visiting newborn Quinn , 2008
The truth about sisters: we can always, always pick up exactly where we leave off.
FULL CIRCLE: Quinn (2) and Piper (3),
reunite this Thanksgiving weekend
Today, every day, one of my favorite things is my sister...