photo taken December 2008, because last year’s Christmas shot was frightening on many levels and not one of us looked good enough to post online. Sisters, don’t say I never did anything for you.
The thing about being one of three sisters with no brothers is that everything boils down to a competition. Whether we tried or not, one of us always had to be on top, to be first, to have the floor or the last word on a matter. And with three, inevitably that meant the situations were two against one. Joanie, on the left in the photo above, will always say she was odd man out, being the middle sister and all. A lot of the time that was true, but a lot of the time she chose to make herself odd man in order to cry foul. So Janeen and I would do everything we could to show her the many ways that could backfire. Janeen, shown in the center of the photo, is five years younger than me and that span was just enough to become allies without ever feeling a generation gap. So we milked it, too. When Joanie took the “poor pitiful me” angle of middle child, Janeen and I rallied as a strategic unit of two. And the cycle was perpetuated throughout our lives.
The really great thing about growing up, though, is that you get second (and seven hundredth) chances to make amends. While Janeen and I managed to remain fairly good friends throughout life, it has taken all of our 39 years together for me and Joanie to become confidantes. We still walk on fragile ground with each other, but we have learned to let a lot of things go for the sake of having a good relationship. And I won’t lie… it’s a lot of work to maintain such a balance! But the one thing I know now that I could never have predicted as a child is that all this work is worth it. There’s no greater relationship than the ones between siblings, and sisters really can have a special bond. I remind myself of that all the time. Without that closeness, without that unconditional love, I wouldn’t have a chance at relationships with their own children. And holidays would be lonely and life would be much more difficult to navigate. Parents are wonderful helpers, but sisters (and, I suppose, brothers too) are the great leavening in this earthly journey. Who else is going to be there when no one else will give you a second glance? And who else knows the path you’ve walked better than those who were with you at the beginning? My sisters know who I was and who I am and who I want to become. I’m thankful that they will walk with me as I maneuver the challenges to get there. And I hope you know, girls, that I will walk with you, as well.
P.S. I find it funny that my words become so sappy whenever I write about you girls. I think that’s because I’m truly touched that we have become good friends in adulthood. Honestly, I never did think it would happen! So please forgive the saccharine, just this once. 😉