My sister, my kindred spirit
I remember clearly peering into the crib at the doll sized child my mother had brought home from the hospital. Heather was a lovely baby. She was picture perfect. Her skin was porcelain. Her lips were shaped like a little heart colored in sweet rose petal pink. My mother dressed her in frilly dresses and tights. Her little legs would pedal rapidly in response to my brother Shane and I peering into the crib at her. I was five that year, Shane only three. We were not allowed to touch the baby.
The lovely baby grew to be my nemesis. Heather was a pesky annoyance who inhibited my enjoyment of trashy sex novels swiped from my mother. Heather would try to coerce me into playing Barbies at any cost. It was irrelevant that her line of attack with a much older sister was taking her childhood life into her own hands. She was always there in the wings, waiting for me to do something that would result in a payout. Blackmail was her specialty. She could force an hour of Barbie play by not revealing to my mother there was a pack of Marlboro cigarettes in my sock drawer next to the Bop Magazines. Heather at five years old could have run the Mafia, her talent for extortion was so keen. I didn’t have much appreciation for Heather growing up. She was always too young, too pesky. She tailed me into the teen years and straggled along in her own teens as I headed into my twenties already a mother, already years ahead of her in the battering bruises of life.
It wasn’t until her late twenties and my early thirties that Heather and I really came to have a true appreciation and deep-seated love for each other. Our sons, Joseph and Quentin, were born in 2000, five months apart. Heather’s daughter, Angelina, was born seven days after my daughter Brittany’s birthday, on which she was due. The girls were ten years apart, but we became pregnant and birthed them almost to the day. Jordan Shane and Munir were born five months apart. Those guys arrived in 2008. This is how it is with my sister and I – we are interconnected. We didn’t plan two sets of children five months apart spaced by 8 years, it just happened that way. We didn’t plan on producing two daughters with almost the same birthday, it just happened that way. We know when the other is sad, not well. We feel each other’s elation and happiness. We can have a conversation that is almost exclusive to the two of us – though we are speaking in English, the rest of the world is hard pressed to understand what we are speaking of. We exist in our own little world when together. It doesn’t matter we live one hundred and twenty miles apart, we are completely in tune with each other.
Our relationship is not always a pink frosted cupcake. Heather and I have gotten into battles that make a WWE Cage Match look like an episode of Little House on the Prairie. As quickly as we pummel the snot out of each other, we move on as quickly to pedicures, going to the beach, or a trip to The Christmas Tree Shop. If we are in the throes of a battle, it is immediately dropped to defend each other. You are taking your life in your hands coming against my sister and likewise coming against me. Together we are an effective machine against the world.
It saddens me when two women who are sisters do not have the relationship that I have with Heather. I was recently given the compliment of “I love the two of you, I love the camaraderie, I wish I had the relationship with my sister that you and Heather have.”
What is it about women that we have to sink our claws into the women we claim to love? Why is it just not the natural order of things for sisters to love each other? I know for me in my relationship with Heather, the ability to say “I’m sorry” is huge. We are both willing to humble ourselves when we wrong one another. We don’t let the sun set on our anger. Love for your sister is unconditional. Unconditional love forgives, it does not judge, it’s supportive in disagreement. Unconditional love shows up and stands by your side even if it hates your boyfriend or thinks your husband is a jerk. I know this to be soundly true – I can depend on Heather for unconditional love as equally as she can turn my way for the same.