I am the youngest child of three, a sister to two brothers. Growing up, I observed my friends who had sisters and I thought I was really missing out on something. I remember going to my mother and asking her if I could have a sister. She explained to me that they weren’t going to have any more babies.
“I don’t want a baby. I want a sister the same age as me.”
I know what you’re thinking – “Boy, she wasn’t very bright, was she?” – but, keep in mind that I was very young at the time. I have since figured out that the stork only delivers babies, not full-grown children.
Don’t get me wrong. I wasn’t a lonely child. I was never bored. I grew up on a farm, I had cousins who lived next door, and there was always something to do. I loved my brothers, but it was a classic case of ‘the grass is always greener’. I wanted another girl to live with me, someone to play with whenever I wanted, someone to share secrets with, and to grow up with. We would celebrate each other’s triumphs, and comfort each other when times were difficult. This person would understand me like no one else could.
My friends who had sisters would always point out how lucky I was to have my own room and not have to worry about a sister taking my clothes or toys. I always thought that was a small price to pay in order to have a female sibling and I would have paid it willingly.
Now, of course, many years have passed and I’ve gotten over my ‘sister envy’. I have good friends who I can easily turn to when times are either good or bad. We may not all live close to each other anymore, but distance is no longer a problem in our world of technology.
I am also very fortunate to have several exceptional sisters-in-law who can be counted on through thick or thin. We may not have been raised together, but we have much in common and, at least from my point of view, the sisterly bond is present.
Besides, the dictionary definition of ‘Sisterhood’ includes ‘congenial relationship or companionship among women; mutual female esteem, concern, support, etc.’ and this is definitely something which is available to me on a daily basis.
But I think more than anything, I am experiencing sisterhood vicariously. Almost twenty-two years ago, I gave birth to my oldest child, Rachel. Four years later, along came Brianna. When the doctor announced that I had a second daughter, I thought, “Yes! I have been able to give my children something I always wanted to have – a sister.”
I haven’t been disappointed. Despite the four year age gap, and the differences in their personalities, my children are as close as…well…sisters, I guess. There have been a lot less squabbles than I expected through the years, and when they’re together you can see they genuinely enjoy each other’s company.
They played with each other whenever they wanted, they shared secrets, and they grew up together. They celebrate each other’s triumphs and comfort each other when times are difficult. They understand each other as no one else can. In short, they have everything I would have wanted to have with my sister and more.
Now, Rachel, at twenty-one, is on the other side of the country, living her dream, and learning at the school of life. Brianna, is about to graduate from high school and embark on her own grown-up experiences. They are separated by a few thousand miles, but I know they are constantly in each other’s thoughts and the connection is still strong. I don’t see that ever changing. To watch them together and see the genuine love they have for each other is the greatest gift I could have been given – a thousand times better than a sister of my own.
I guess the whole point of my blog is to say that sisterhood can come in many forms, as can many things. If you can’t find it one way, there will always be another. You have to take advantage of what you have and not regret what never was. I have been blessed, and maybe the fact that I didn’t have a sister as I was growing up makes me appreciate my girlfriends, my sisters-in-law, and my daughters all the more.
Besides, I guess it was kind of cool having my own room.
*** A.J. McCarthy is the author of Betrayal, a romantic suspense novel, soon to be published by Second Wind Publishing.