I have a sister. She is three years older than me. She doesn't look it now, damn her, but she is. Older. So there, older sister.
Growing up I envied her so much. She was taller than me, with long skinny legs. My legs are short. Kind of stumpy. She was thin. I was not. Well. I was for awhile, but I had some serious body images troubles and struggled to feel comfortable in my own skin. We have two brothers as well, and I ended up closer to my older brother because rumor has it I was kind of a pest to her. In reality, I thought she was cool. Much more confident and sophisticated than me, three years her junior. I just didn't know how to tell her that. So I didn't.
When she was in high school and I was in middle school, she had cool boyfriends.I was shy around boys who weren't just friends. Super shy. Tongue freezing up in my mouth, soft voice, red cheeks, shy. I have a really embarrassing story about one of her boyfriends who I thought was the coolest dude ever, but I'll shorten it. He was in a rock band. And he was cute. And I walked by him with a big puffy skirt tucked into the back of my pantyhose. Yes. I did.
After that she met a boy whom she would eventually marry. She was in Grade 12 when they first started dating. I was in Grade 9. Years apart at the time. She moved away from home early and I never really felt like I knew her that well. But she was my sister. And I cared.
Our family moved when I was in Grade 12 and my sister stayed behind with her boyfriend. They got married and I was in her wedding party, but I was a messed up teen and we never really connected.
After a couple of years of college, I moved to a small town that was close to where she lived, and she would come and visit me. She started to treat me like an adult. An equal. I started to feel more comfortable with her, but we are and were very different, her and I. My sister is uber responsible. Serious. I can be kind of a goof, and not so responsible.
When she and her husband split up, she called me. We talked and for the first time, I felt a like I was the one with clarity. I felt fierce loyalty to her and her situation and tried to make the transition smoother with our family. We had a long distance relationship, but we both knew we were more than friends. We were sisters.
She got through it of course, and we had grown closer. She started a new life in a new city with a new man and I visited her, more as an equal than little sister. But it's hard to change roles. Eventually she had her first child. She called me when she was in labour. When she had her first child, it was love at first sight. For me. I was Auntie and I think that made my sister relationship stronger again.
My sister had another baby (more Auntie love for me) and then she ended up moving to the city where I lived, the same city as our parents. For the first time in years we lived in the same place and I was so happy to have her there. I loved her kids more than I'd ever loved anything. She had one more little girl and I loved them all to pieces.
I, on the other hand, started to go through a rough patch in my life. I broke up with a boyfriend, and was lost and spiralling out of control. My sister saw what was happening, but I had to go the road myself. Finally I took an opportunity to transfer to a new city, in sort of an effort to save myself from myself. My biggest regret about moving was leaving behind my sister's little girls.
Eventually I came to terms with my demons and my sister was there when I reached out. I got myself together and started a new life for myself. When I got married, my sister stood beside me. She was perfect in her role, and I was proud to have her and her girls in my corner.
When I had my child, my sister came to visit, to finally get to play her own role as Auntie. She was worried about me though and it soon became apparent I had a bad case of PPD. I made it through that, with several calls to her, and our long distance relationship stayed strong.
My sister and I have our own path. Our road to the relationship we have today was built on becoming adults. She is a person who really understands me. She knows intimately where I've been what I've been through, and I know the same of her.
I still look up to her, and I still envy her long legs, but I also feel that I am her equal now. Her shorter, chubbier equal. Our age differences became meaningless years ago. As a bonus, I know she loves my child as much as I love her three amazing girls. If anything happened to me, I know my sister would be there for my son and I would do anything for her girls if they needed me. Sisters themselves. Sisters who have their own story and their own role, but a very important relationship, that I know will grow stronger over time.
We are very different people now, my sister and I. We have different lives, in different cities, but I know in my heart that she is in my corner, rooting for me, as much as I am in hers.
Being sisters can be complicated. But, it can also be wonderful and enlightening. I feel very lucky to have my sister in my life. Even if she is thinner and taller.