Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Unbiological sisters

My daughter will never have sisters. For that, I am a little sorry, but we had her.  And given the fact my grandmother was one half of three sets of twins in her family, I wasn't going to tempt fate and end up with twin girls.  Don't get me wrong. I love my daughter to the moon and back, but one Leah is all we need.  She has the "skills" that in her adulthood will make her unstoppable. She will be in charge of hostile corporate takeovers, or will be responsible for spinning politicians sex scandals into sympathy inducing after-school specials.  In her childhood, the traits make me want to drink by 8am.  Besides, we bookended her with two brothers who will eventually be no less than 6'3" tall, and potential dates will have to get by them first, so we just didn't want to mess with our master plan. So there are no sisters in her future.

I have a sister. She is 13 years older than I. She had grown up and moved on by the time I was about 3 or 4, so in my childhood, I don't remember seeing her a lot.  When I was 9 or 10, she made me an aunt, which was really cool and really frustrating all rolled into one.   In my child mind, it was hard being upstaged by a chubby, cute and perfect GRANDchild.  363 days later, it happened again.  We have not had the chance to share a lot of those sister experiences I hear about from women with sisters, partly because of the age difference, and partly because of the paths our lives have taken.  But we share the same eyes and eyebrows, that remind me of our mother. We share similar walks and somehow we managed to harbor all the intelligence, most of the wit and all of the beauty that somehow escaped our brothers. 

I want my daughter to know, as sorry as I am she won't have a biological sister, she will find herself blessed with some unbiological sisters, like I have been.  I don't know where hers will come from, from which part or parts of her life, but she will find them.  I didn't find my first until probably late high school or early college. These women are a part of my life.  It is important for her to know that in terms of  friendships, it is more about quality, than quantity. Women will enter her life, and we, her parents, will sniff out the fake ones before she does, and that she should trust us.  I want her to know that if someone just seems too amazing/rad/cool/grandiose to be true, and her gut is screaming "FAKER!" she needs to trust her gut. 

What will her unbiological sister feel like? Upon meeting her, she will feel like that college sweatshirt you should have thrown out 10 years ago, but can't.  She will feel like she has known her, her whole life.  In her first meeting she will find herself talking forever, and then feeling sheepish and embarrased afterwards because she admitted in her first meeting that her best hair days are on the 3rd day of not washing her hair, and she may be wearing the same shirt as yesterday because it was just too cold to change.  She will feel an initial click with this person, like two cogs aligning.   Like a tiny piece of herself got completed.  

I have but a handful of unbiological sisters.  These are the women who get me, love me and who I would let fold my underwear, and even my husbands underwear. They are those friends.  Some I have known for 10s of years, some for a mere few months.  I am separated in physical distance from a couple miles, to hundreds of miles from them.  I have seen some yesterday, and some not for years. It doesn't matter, the bond is real, it is dynamic and it is forever.  These are the ones who, if I get knocked down, will say, "Stay down, I've got this."

That doesn't mean it is always butterflies and unicorns.  I need her to know there will be times she will fight with her unbiological sister. It will hurt, but it will be honest. Honesty is always the most important thing.  For her to be honest, and for her to hear honestly.  They will ask her those tough questions she doesn't want to answer, because she knows those same questions have been rolling around in the corner of her own head, and she doesn't have the answer to them yet. But her unbiological sisters will ask, and they will talk, and cry, and there will usually be wine, chocolate and Kleenex involved in these heart to hearts.  There will be waxes and wanes in her sisterhoods, that will coincide with relationships and babies and just the beautiful beast of life, but the bond will always remain.  And she knows she can always call them at 3am.  

She will never have to guess with her unbiological sister. She means what she says and says what she means.  When sushi night's Dynamite roll ends up causing gastronomic explosions the next day, her sisters will trust her when she tells them to go shop and eat, she will be ok, just bring gatorade later.  Sisters do not play martyr. They will help because they want to, or can, or are able. They will expect nothing in return. They will sit outside her bathroom while she bathes, in case her wobbly self decides to fall getting in or out of the tub.  

Her sisters and her will go through the trenches together.   I'm talking about surviving the dirty, hard, ugly stuff together.  I'm talking divorce, miscarriage, surgeries on babies, lice, bad relationships, job loss, depression, and grieving.  Ugly, messy situations that will require unconditional love, understanding, and a lot of chocolate, wine, laughter and Kleenex.

She will need to know that no man will or should take the place of these sisters.  Men were not created for these roles.  That is why God made them differently. They have male refrigerator blindness, and we don't.  They can write their name in the snow, and we can't.  Men are to fill a different role in our lives.  And they usually don't like dark chocolate and talking as much as your sisters do.  

She will understand why Frozen is such a great movie, and will find herself wanting to watch it by herself, with no children around.  She will, at some point, sit and wonder how she was so blessed to have such amazing women, these unbiological sisters be part of her crazy beautiful life.  And then she will also realize just how blessed she is to have so many amazing unbiological Aunts. And then she will remember she should phone her mother. 


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