Thursday, June 3, 2010

"Sisters, Sisters..."

This post is part of Flashback Friday hosted by're invited to link your own post on today's prompt-siblings. Visit Linda for details and to read more Flashback Friday posts.

'To the outside world we all grow old. But not to brothers and sisters. We know each other as we always were. We know each other's hearts. We share private family jokes. We remember family feuds and secrets, family griefs and joys. We live outside the touch of time.'
~Clara Ortega

When I was expecting my second child I was pretty sure I was having a boy. I never had a single ultrasound in that pregnancy so I wasn't basing that thought on anything other than a feeling, but everything about my second pregnancy was different than my first so I just thought 'boy'. And I remember one of my first thoughts when I heard the doctor exclaim, "It's a girl!" was, 'I'm so happy daughter1 will have a sister'.

'Siblings are the people we practice on, the people who teach us about fairness and cooperation and kindness and caring - quite often the hard way.' ~Pamela Dugdale

Sisters are special people. Even when they annoy you. Borrow your stuff without asking. Touch you when you are jam packed in a seat in the back of a station wagon on a multi hour car trip in the days before portable DVD players and hand held games. When they want to play with your friends all the time even though they know that because they are younger they will always be assigned the role of boy or dog or bad guy in every game you play. Even when they blab to your parents at dinner one night about a road trip you took to the beach when your parents thought you were at uni studying for exams in order to take some of the attention off of her own moment of misbehaving that was being called into question. Even then sisters are special.

I have two sisters, one older and one younger. I also have an older brother so I'm #3 in the sibling food chain. I'll talk about my brother another day but suffice it to say he's easy to get along with, everybody likes him and his sisters all love him. I'm sure having three sisters isn't wasn't always a picnic but he's a good sport.

Back to my sisters.... We are three very different people but the ties that bind sisters are tightly woven. My older sister is seven years older than me. I have loved her since the day I was born according to my mother.

I think she probably saw me as 'her baby' and in family photos we're always sweetly sitting together. My mother made me a scrapbook a few years back and one of the things she included was a letter I wrote to my parents when I was 'running away from home'. I can't imagine why or where I thought I was going but I am guessing maybe I just liked the idea of running away. Anyway, in the letter I let everyone know I was running away but I did include a p.s. that states, "Tell #1 sister I love her." Even mid temper tantrum I knew.

She has a heart of gold and I can tell her anything and she responds with the appropriate sympathy, empathy, or advice. She lives near my girls and I can always count on her to be there if I need her to be there. When I graduated from uni she and I shared an apartment for one brief year and we had such fun. Oh it was fun. Really really fun. Did I mention we had fun?

Now, you know how I said in all the family photos sister #1 and I are sitting sweetly together? Well, sister#2 and I not so much.

Okay we do look pretty sweet in this one. But in many family photos I am crying and/or pouting in the background and her face is front and center with a great big proud toothless smile. She was an imp as my dad used to say. We're only fourteen months apart (I'm older) and we shared a bedroom growing up. Do people still have their kids share bedrooms? Sometimes we absolutely hated sharing that room. Other times we were glad for the company of a sister, for our mirror opposite just across the room. People always thought we were twins but we didn't think we looked anything alike. And there was plenty of sweetness but some saltiness too. We could get into some pretty good arguments over the most ridiculous and trivial things when we were kids. I guess that is the essence of most kid disputes-trivial. My mom worked part time when we were in jr. high/high school and we'd sometimes call her at work to settle an argument. You can imagine how much she loved that.

'She is your mirror, shining back at you with a world of possibilities. She is your witness, who sees you at your worst and best, and loves you anyway. She is your partner in crime, your midnight companion, someone who knows when you are smiling, even in the dark. She is your teacher, your defense attorney, your personal press agent, even your shrink. Some days, she's the reason you wish you were an only child.' ~Barbara Alpert

Time does funny things to our memories... I have to work hard to remember the bickering now but I do remember lots of other bits...giant games of paperdolls spread out the entire length of our living room, barbies and kiddles underneath the big tree in the back yard, making up skits, the dress up box, sharing clothes, toys, books, and secrets. Sitting on either side of our mother while she read us the novels of our childhood. Sitting in the tree fort on our grandparents farm. Riding bikes. Coloring pictures. Hanging out at the pool. Having inside jokes. The comfort of having another person always there, to talk to, confide in, and even to argue with. Home.

'Sisters share the scent and smells - the feel of a common childhood.' ~Pam Brown

We're all grown up girls these days with children of our own and I'm more thankful than ever to have sisters in my life. And I love having daughters who are close in heart to one another. My own girls are each other's best friends and that is how I see my sisters.

Linda asked how we felt about our birth order and having or not having siblings. I only know what I know. I imagine I'd be someone different if I were the firstborn or the last, if I were an only child or had only brothers or only sisters.

'A sibling may be the keeper of one's identity, the only person with the keys to one's unfettered, more fundamental self.' ~Marian Sandmaier

Each person's childhood is unique and if we're honest most of us would say we lived a range of emotions and experiences... happiness and sorrow, elation and disappointment, boredom and wonder, in our growing up years.

I think my childhood was rich. Not in material possessions but in the sense that I was allowed the time and space and love I needed to grow into the person I am. Third child, second daughter, a sister. That's me. And I wouldn't trade that for anything.


  1. As I was reading this, I was trying to remember some of the fights Tina & I had since we were closest in age and shared a room. I do remember there was one involving books being thrown (by me, of course!) which absolutely tore.her.up! I think it had something to do with her side of the room being clean and mine being a bit messy!

  2. I am the oldest and I have a brother and a sister. I remember playing with my brother more since he was closer in age. Great post, Joyce! Happy Friday!

  3. Good post! I enjoyed reading your memories. I love the pics, too.
    Many years ago, some of my girlfriends had sisters, and I was appalled at how the two of them would fight! 40 years later I was the nanny for twin sisters--even at age 18 mos. they were fighting already...some things never change!

  4. What a beautiful post. I have an older brother and sister. I was the baby! Your title reminded me of the song Sisters from the movie White Christmas. Have a lovely weekend.

  5. i always wondered what it would be like to have more than one your pictures

  6. Enjoyed your pictures and loved your post. I always wanted a sister, but instead I had brothers. And that's ok. I have a lot of good memories and some not so good. But like you said all those make us who we are today. And I like who I am today!
    until next time... nel

  7. Such a sweet post. I loved the quotes.

  8. What a wonderful post, Joyce! Enjoyed the pictures and quotes so much! Sisters ARE such a blessing and gift from the Lord, even if we don't realize this until we are older! :-)
    Daniel always vacillated back and forth between wishing he had had another sibling growing up and then being happy that he WAS an only child because he didn't have to share, etc. :-)

  9. I can see the twin thing, in the picture of you and sister #2 where you are wearing white you look identical!!!

    Teresa Dawn

  10. Joyce,

    I think we treasure our siblings so much more now that we are grown and can look back and truly remember just how much love was in everything we did with one another.

    Love and Hugs ~ Kat

  11. What great memories! Thanks for sharing them with us.

  12. What a wonderful childhood. You are blessed to have sisters. Like me too. Although my sister and I are VERY different I´m so glad I have her and couldn´t imagine life without her. I have a younger sister as well, but she´s 13 years younger and grew up, when I had already moved to Canada. So my relationship with her is not that close.
    Loved reading your memory's.

  13. What a great post! I love your quotes. May I use them in my ladies weekend scrapbook?

  14. What a wonderful life you have been blessed with! It is so comforting to know that no matter what ... you are LOVED!

    Thanks for visiting my blog!

  15. Loved the pictures you used with this post. Sorry I haven't visited much lately. It's been really crazy. Lot's of remodeling projects that have kept me away from home until late afternoon most days. Not complaining though. It's good to be busy.

  16. Great post. I always wanted a sister. But being the youngest and only girl has definitely shaped me in ways that having a sister in the picture could never have. I love being my brothers' only sister. But I do wonder how things would have been...

  17. I have two older sisters (12 and 14 yrs older!) and they are like best friends to me. I feel so blessed and can't imagine life without a sister... although that said, my poor Kiki will never experience it :( Hopefully she will grow up with some super best girlfriends and feel just as blessed.

  18. What a wonderful post. It is a grand tribute to your sisters and your family.

  19. I have one sister and I love her to death!!!