I think relationships between sisters are always complicated.
They are like taking the already complicated friendships between women and putting them on steroids. Because you are innately alike, but also innately different. Because you have to share the time and attention of your parents, and sharing doesn’t always come naturally. And because you are dependent on one another, forever linked by DNA.
So, as sisters, when your relationship is bad, it’s horrid. And in turn, when it’s good, it’s great.
At least that has been my personal experience. There are five years and six grades between me and my sister Marcie. To say that while growing we had our differences would be an understatement.
My favorite illustration of our childhood strife is when Marcie “pushed” me off a chairlift 15-feet off the ground on a family ski trip. Well, she didn’t really push me. It was more of a misunderstanding. I was 10ish and my parents, against their better judgment, let Marcie and I board the lift together. But something went wrong, really wrong, and I ended up desperately clinging to the seat with the rest of my body and my skis dangling with 15 feet between me and ski bank below. And for some CRAZY reason Marcie “thought” the lift operators instructed her to “Let me drop.” Instead of the message which they were trying to frantically send up “DON’T let her drop.” And so she took the liberty of peeling my fingers off the seat and allowing me to plunge 15 feet into a pile of snow. Thankfully I was unharmed. NOW I know that this was an honest mistake, but there was a period of time when I seriously thought she was trying to kill me because I was such a brat. (And I don’t know if I would have blamed her.)
I would love to say that things got better from there. But not really. Our age difference was just big enough that we completely annoyed each other during each of our adolescences. And then I graduated from college. And Marcie got married. And our relationship still was pretty spotty.
But over the last ten years things have changed. Things have changed dramatically. Today I can honestly say Marcie is one of my best friends. She is among the handful of people I want to call when I have “news.” I love getting her perspective and advice before I make big decisions. She is truly one of my favorite people.
Earlier this week an inquisitive friend was asking about my relationship and if we’d always been so close. And I shared with her my relationship with Marcie has not always been so rosy. And her obvious question was “what changed?”
What changed is that Marcie and I have developed an intense mutual respect and admiration. I look at her life, overflowing with responsibility and surrounded by a strong husband and three adorable young girls, and I am proud (and maybe a little envious.) And she (I think from things she has told me) looks at my life, surrounded by interesting people and oriented around a job that I love at a company whose driving purpose is to “Inspire the World,” and she is proud (and maybe a little envious.)
It’s that simple. Too bad we didn’t figure this out earlier. (And too bad I went through some phases that didn’t really deserve her respect or admiration.)
Do you have a sister? Do you get along? If so, what makes your relationship work?