Sunday, 16 January 2011

Being Sister

Watching Sessi and Oona play together has reminded me the significance of the bond between sisters.
They have in each other a friend who will understand them more than any other. They will be the keepers of eachothers identity. They will be the best friend that you can't get rid of and they will share with eachother their secrets, their memories and their grown-up dreams.
When Oona was born a sister awaited her. The birth of their story as sisters began. Sessi mothers her little sister taking care when they play and cheering her up when she's sad and making her laugh when she's a little bothered about having her nappy changed. She has become the big sister and enjoys the feeling of being teacher, defender against the older children in the park who run clumsily and just occasionally the bossy leader who insists her little sister should sit at the tap end of the bath.
Oona looks up to Sessi with such awe. It is beautiful to see in her eyes a look of adoration and respect; a look that is mirrored back. Oona often mirrors her sisters play too she will try to copy her dancing, tries to ride her bike and will insist on wearing her big sisters wellies despite them finishing at her thighs. She knows in Sessi she has a protector, someone else to come to with a bumped knee and someone to gang up with when she wants to listen to 'pencil full of lead' again for the twelfth time at 7.20 in the morning!

They will grow up with the same tribal laws, the same memories of crazy dancing in the kitchen, their life connected by familiar smells, bedtime stories and the walk to school with the taste of marmite still in their mouths. Bound together by sharing the same sense of being, of belonging, of being the same and yet very different, they know eachothers hearts and can see one another smiling, even in the dark.
I see the bond that is budding between them and it fills my heart with peaceful song.

I had three companions through my childhood who I know will always be there for me, who know I'll always be there for them. My fellow conspirators, defenders, my competitors for parental attention, my mirror of memories and sharers of delights.
Together we journeyed through childhood and went through our 'rite of passage' together. Unified by all that we shared; all that was home.
With them I am both a child and an adult and all that was in-between. I am the child that cried after being thrown in the nettles, the teen that borrowed her sisters shoes (quite a few times) and the adult that knows that as much as I'd like to forget how much I annoyed my brother for singing constantly, I will never be allowed.
Being the third of four children with two older sisters and a younger brother I am fortunate to know what it means to be both a younger and older sister. I was the guinea pig for sliding down the stairs in a sleeping bag, the messenger of news to our mum and one of the sisters who insisted our brother (aged 2) dress up as a girl and call himself Rosie for a laugh when mum had friends for lunch. I was the bossed and the bossy!

In our mother I can see the pride in her face and how she enjoys seeing us being as we have always been albeit a little older. Whilst to the outside world we are all grown up, together we will always be the children that ran through the fields, performed theatrical debuts in the living room and the gang that made the best tree-houses I have ever seen. Its fun being all together, of recounting our sides of the same story that was our childhood, I know in my brother and sisters there are pieces of my life that cannot be lost.
There is a love that is unconditional that despite the rivalries, monopolisation of the bathroom, moments of anger for things I mostly don't remember, name calling, snarls and huffs, love has always resurfaced with its smiles, open arms, laughter and that unspoken forgiveness. 
It takes a brother or a sister to see you for all that you truly are, that forgives and loves each imperfection and that reminds you where you come from. It is this love that nourishes and will remain for as long as we are family. 

I know with my two daughters that they too have this special bond that will help to carry them through life. They will always look after eachother and be able to guide eachother in a way that no other family member could. They are joined by memory, through play and shared imaginings. Bound together by a golden thread of childhood dreams.
They will venture together through their lives. They will fight over a hairbrush or a borrowed dress. They will find in eachother passwords that enable the trickiest of buttons to be pushed. They will kiss one anothers grazed knees and mend eachothers broken hearts. They will keep eachother awake at night giggling and conspire against me when they feel its their right, and though their friends will inevitably grow and move away, their love for others come and pass, they will always have eachother.

They will always be sisters.

"A ministering angel shall my sister be" William Shakespeare


  1. Beautiful pics, and gorgeous post. Am adding you guys to my blog roll :o)

  2. I'm welling up here.My youngest two are girls but they hate each other.

  3. aaaaaaaaaaaaaw! such a beautiful post... and these two are so lucky and beautiful.
    i love to watch my two as well... adorable and special! they love each other a lot and I am so glad to see it!

  4. I hope companionship and memories like these are what my children can look back on.

    Beautiful post.

  5. Oh this is such a beautiful post. I have two boys and I hope that the bond they form is unbreakable

  6. You have a lovely blog here. I just came upon it. And wanted to leave an appreciative comment.

    Gentle hugs,