By Jordan Elizabeth. If you asked me 15 years ago to write about my “sisterly bond,” I probably would have written “she’s a total bitch but my dad makes us love each other.”
My sister and I are to-the-day, 18 months apart and were only a year apart in school. Which has meant one of two things our whole lives: either we loved each other and wanted to knock down the wall between our rooms to make one huge room, or we hated each other and wanted to be sent to different boarding schools. As younger kids, I remember loving having a constant playmate. But once we hit high school, we were too close in age to have a traditional big/little sister relationship. I know she had good intentions, but at the time, I didn’t care to hear them.
Once started college, our relationship changed to what it still is now: my sister is my other half (don’t tell our significant others I said that). Being a sister is a hard thing to explain. It’s like there’s someone out there who is so completely different from me, and exactly the same all at once. I moved to NYC out of college; she married her college sweetheart. I chose a vagabond career in comedy and have the mouth of a sailor; she is a stable kindergarten teacher with a child-friendly vocabulary. She had a baby; I adopted another dog from the ASPCA. But we have the same mannerisms, make the same smart-ass comments, have the same pet peeves and have the same complaints about our parents (loud chewing - Dad, heavy on the gas/brake - Mom).
I think that’s what makes the bond of a sister so strong. No one understands your baggage like a sister. You never have to explain why you are the way you are and they rarely think you’re crazy. You were in the trenches together. We share the same “crazy.”
Everything that happens to her, feels like it’s happening to me. There is nothing more crushing than seeing your sister cry and nothing more uplifting than seeing her eyes light up when she walks into a Hobby Lobby. When she got married, we locked eyes as the ceremony started and both started balling like we were a lesbian couple proclaiming our love at a commitment ceremony. Although, during the reception I got totally trashed but I’m pretty sure she’s forgiven me for passing out an hour after my Maid-of-Honor speech (which killed, by the way).
When she had her first baby, I got on a plane the minute she started having contractions. My boss at the time, appeared shocked when I asked for two days off to fly to Milwaukee and be there the second my sister gives birth. How do you explain to someone that not being there never crossed my mind? Because there was no other alternative. She’s my sister and she’s the person I go through life with. She’s my first call when I’m sad, when something good happens (like when hummus is 2-for-1), or the time I passed out in a bar and pooped myself (I had a parasite! Don’t judge.), when Will & Grace reruns are on Lifetime or when I’m not sure if I can pull off overall shorts and need a second opinion. We call her daughter “my baby,” partially because I love her like she’s my own and partially because we both know my biological clock is ticking and collecting puppies is no longer filling that void.
And I know that when I get married next year, she - not my husband - will be the one I lock eyes with at the altar. And she better fly to be there when I have my first baby, because I’m not sure I can do it without her (but not be IN the room because I don’t think we’re close enough for her to see that far into my vagina). Sometimes I wonder how I go through day-to-day life without her. I call her at least once a day with questions like “How do you make rhubarb pie?” “Can I wear purple and red together?” “Where do I find rubber stamps?” And when I visit her, it’s like we’re 9 and 10-years old again - she makes me lunch and snacks and plays with my hair while we watch TV (I never make her lunch, though, because I’m the little sister and prefer to be taken care of).
Maybe we’re both trying to make up for the years we were slightly-completely heinous to each other. Or maybe that’s just what being a sister is. You forgive anything and love each other so fiercely because you’ve been in it together. Husbands will always be the first priority, but your sister is different. The relationship with my sister isn’t something you have to work on, like you do with a marriage. It’s just there. It’s understood. When I look at her, it’s almost like looking at a different (slightly prettier - thanks, Dad!) version of myself, if I made different choices (kind of like the two Gwyneth Paltrows in “Sliding Doors,” except neither of us are blonde. Or British).
She’s my sister. There’s nothing that can break it. Well, maybe if she slept with my fiancé...but she married a doctor and my fiancé is a struggling actor, so I think we’re okay in that department.
Love you, Teeny.