Today is my little sister’s birthday. By little I mean she’s turning 21 but she’s still and always will be younger than me.
I woke up to send her a happy birthday text and make her feel a little bit special when it dawned on me. Our relationship is not the same today as it was 10 years ago (nor should it be).
In honour of my little sister and her officially-legal-all-over-the-world birthday, I’m going to talk about life’s stages of sisterhood.
Stage 1 – The Love of Something Unknown
It all starts when the older sister is told she will have a sibling. Your world pauses for a moment because you’re not sure what that means. Your parents continue to explain that it means you will be a big sister and you will have a little brother or sister to look after.
Big sisters have to share not only Mommy and Daddy, but also the kitty, toys, old clothes, and maybe even a room.
So you prepare yourself to be the best big sister ever.
Your Mom and Dad gave you a cabbage patch doll to help you transition into your roll as a big sister. You’re so excited to be a big sister that you tell everyone and anyone the news.
After lots of practice you feel you’re ready to share your toys, help Mom feed and dress your sibling and show him or her all the things you know how to do.
Stage 2 – Starring Love in the Eye
You’re told that you finally get to meet your sibling soon and you can’t wait to be a big sister. You have prepared to share everything with him or her for the rest of your life.
Finally, your Dad shows up to take you to meet your sibling and finally you’re introduced to your little sister. You didn’t realize how small she would be but she is the cutest little person you’ve ever seen. All you want to do is hold her.
You can’t wait to bring her home, show her the room you share and play with your toys together.
This is where sisterhood truly begins.
Stage 3 – Learning to Love Like a Sister
You start to become familiar with what it means to be a big sister. It’s a lot of responsibility but you love having someone to play with. You can’t imagine what it would be like not to have a sister. In fact, you can’t remember what it was like before your little sister was born.
Your parents buy you and your sister everything the exact same (but in different colours) so you both get equal treatment (and can identify who’s is who’s). You love your sister and want her to be happy, so, you start to let her win when you play games together, be the better Barbie during playtime, and get first dibs on the popcicle flavour.
Stage 4 – The Ying and Yang of Sisterhood
Years go by and you and your little sister are growing up. You are no longer little girls.
You start high school, leaving the public school in which you both have attended together for several years, along with the mutual friends you both have made, behind.
You are maturing into a young adult and are starting to find new interests and join new activities. Soon she will do the same.
Rather than sharing toys, you share clothes (and sometimes fight over them). Rather than sharing friends you share boyfriends (and sometimes fight over them).
You party together (and puke together), make new friends together, support each other’s extra-curricular activities, laugh at each other, and cry for each other. There will be weeks you barely speak because of silly disagreements.
In the end, you will always make up because you truly are best friends.
While sometimes you hate her, you’ll always do anything to protect her. Your heart aches when you see others picking on her and you often stand up for her even when it might make her look foolish. You can’t help it because no matter what, she’s your sister.
Stage 5 – The Elasticity of Love
As you grow up, you start to build your own life: Decide what you wanna do, who you wanna be, and where you wanna go. You talk less and less because of your dedication to achieve your goals.
But that doesn’t mean your love for your little sister has lost it’s touch. In fact, I think the distance is what makes it stronger.
You can go a week without talking and still feel as if it was only yesterday you taught her how to tie her shoe. That bond you’s have spent years creating will never fade. It will only grow.
That’s where we are today. We are both living our own lives, moving in different directions, but supporting each other nonetheless: being there when it counts, catching up when it’s been too long, sending motivation when each other needs support, coming together to do things for those we love, and always making time for each other.
Being a big sister has been the most humbling, challenging, frustrating, nurturing thing I have ever done. I wouldn’t trade the experience for anything. Although 30% of the time we were like oil and vinegar, kicking and scratching to see who would come out on top, 70% of the time we were like two peas in a pod, loving every minute of our moments spent together. I wouldn’t ask for any other sibling. You are the one person who has had the biggest hand in the person I am today.
I love you so freaking much lil’ sis and I can’t wait to see what Stage 6 of sisterhood has in store for us.