|Me (in blue) and my sister (in pink) on Australia Day 1988|
I have some extremely close friends, I almost consider them sisters – almost. There is something else, an indefinable element that makes my relationship with my sister different. She is among my best friends, but more than that we are sisters.
When she was about 2 and I was about 4 I learnt how to get her out of her cot. On Saturdays would I make her breakfast and we would watch cartoons while our parents had a sleep in. A few years later when I was at school and she was at pre-school I would sneak technically out of bounds to visit her through the fence. When I finally got my drivers licence, the first thing I did was drive to the bus stop to pick her up so that she didn’t have to walk home.
I don’t want to sound like it was all sweetness and light. We had a definite love/hate relationship, particularly when we were teenagers. I can clearly remember our mother in desperation saying "I wish you two would just love each other" after one of our fights. At the time I was confused, of course I loved my sister - we just could not co-exist in the same bathroom!
Our bathroom wars were epic. They would generally start when someone didn't clean the bathroom on their week. This would lead to a mexican standoff where we would both refuse to clean till it got so grotty that generally I caved or Mum yelled at us. We had plenty of other fights, there were tears, tantrums and stony silences, but if anyone had injured either of us, we would have been standing by each other in a second.
As we grew older, and in particularly once we stopped sharing a bathroom, the fights died out and we have become closer and closer friends. We talk or email most days. Go shopping or have lunch regularly. At one stage when we were working at the same place she used to come and hang out in my office all the time. She is my sounding board on the gamut of life's quandaries and my stylist on many occasions.
Yesterday my sister flew out of the country on her honeymoon. She will be gone for 2 months. We have only been apart this long once before and that time I was the one doing the travelling. Being at home her absence feels all the more significant. Today when something happened she wasn’t there at the other end of the email to consult with. She won’t be there to advise me if I should get the dress I’ve been eyeing off. My lunchtimes feel all the emptier.
I know she is going to have a wonderful time discovering Europe but you know, I’ve discovered something too. In just one day I’ve realised what an integral part of my life my little sister is. How much I love her and how I do really miss her when she is away. I’ve been reminded just how important it is to treasure the ones we love because not everyone is as lucky as me. My sister will be home in 2 months with stories and photos and presents (hopefully!). Other people have lost their sister forever.
So if I can say anything, I say this. Treasure those special people in your life. Let them know that they are loved and never take them for granted. Hug your sister close, there is no relationship like it.