I might live on the other side of the world, but not a day goes by where I don't think about (or SMS, WhatsApp, or DM on IG) my little sister. I moved from my beachy hometown on the Gold Coast, Australia, to Los Angeles, California, about three years ago now, and I've had to put a mental Band-Aid on my separation anxiety. We both have. Being only 18 months apart, my sister and I were inseparable from the beginning. Well, almost. I was insanely jealous at first, even painting her face in Vegemite when Mom wasn’t looking and then green paint on another occasion, but it wasn’t long before I realized how cool it was to have a live-in best friend.
Without a doubt, getting a baby sister was the best thing that ever happened to me. Together we’ve cried rivers—some happy, some sad—traveled the world, laughed until our faces cracked, bickered like an old married couple, and shared our innermost secrets, and now we’re inseparable. Even though we live thousands of miles away from each other, my sister is a best friend for life. But don’t take my word for it. A University of Wisconsin study found that sisters share an “unconditional friendship” that they feel “lucky enough and proud to be a part of.” I’ll second that. There are no words for the undeniable bond. Scroll down for a few things that sisters do—and that sisters understand best.
From food to friendships, there isn’t one thing my sister and I don’t share. I’ve even been coined the “half-y queen” at home because I always want to split food with her. It just tastes better. When I lived in Australia, she would message me about a spinach pie or lasagna she had made and ask if I wanted half of it so my family could have it for dinner too. True story. This extends beyond food, though. I am hopeless at remembering anyone’s birthday, and by the time I remember, my sister has usually already bought a thoughtful present (it’s like she writes them down throughout the year) and a cute card. Thankfully she doesn’t mind sharing the joy and usually adds my name to the card without letting the relative or friend know that I forgot. Thank god for sisters.
Having a sister means double the clothing options. Even if you don’t like it, your sister will raid your wardrobe, and nothing is sacred. While sharing clothing has been more of a bonus than a problem in my life, I do know of some instances where a friend purchased a beautiful dress and had saved it in the closet for a special occasion, only to have her sister wear it first. Not cool. But if you can set some boundaries, having access to two wardrobes, and shoe closets are life changing—if you share the same shoe size of course.
Even if you look nothing alike and have completely different personalities and talents, people will always compare you to one another. Someone once told my sister and I that we look like twins; while there’s definitely a familial resemblance, we are certainly not identical or look like it. Occasionally they’ll compare talents: “So your sister can sing? How about a song then? You can sing too, right?” Or “Your sister was a fantastic student, so we can expect great things from you too, right?” The worst is when they even call you by your sister’s name. We might be sisters, but we’re definitely not the same person. Alas, I doubt these comparisons will ever stop.
It doesn’t matter what time of day you post on social; it’s as if your sister has her finger on the #firstlike trigger. When I log into Facebook to check my notifications, her comment will always be first. It might only be a simple heart emoji, but when it’s the only comment attached to your post, it makes you feel so loved knowing there’s always someone who cares. Thanks, sis.
Fighting can be brutal between sisters because you don’t hold back and you’re not afraid to let the other know how you really feel. Maybe it’s because you know she’s family and it’s in her job description to always be there for you. But even after some of our biggest shouting matches, my sister and I have always forgiven each other. Even when you shout insults, you never take it to heart, because she’s your sister and the love runs deep.
Just a few simple facial expressions, hand motions, or gestures can be enough for my sister and me to communicate. It’s especially handy when you’re in an awkward situation and can’t talk. Just a few little eye shifts, rolls, and maneuvers can speak volumes. There aren’t really any specific signals that I could tell you, either. It’s always improvised in the moment, but we always know. As I mentioned earlier, while we’re not twins, sometimes we’ll text each other at the same time with “what’s up?” or a similar note because we can sense something’s not right. When you spend years living that closely with someone else, talking becomes obsolete, and you just intuitively know.
Sisters are better than the fallback friend. They are always there, anytime. Even when you’re a crying mess in the middle of the night, having a panic attack about work midafternoon, or in need of life advice at the crack of dawn, you can call your sister and she will listen to every single detail. It doesn’t matter how long-winded or ridiculous it is. She will always be interested because she actually cares; she will always have your back, even when you’re wrong; and she will be the most excited person when something good happens. It truly is the best.
As a kid, whenever I wanted to do something that came with more responsibility, it was never a problem, because my parents always trusted me. I was the older one. But, of course, I secretly (or not so secretly) loved being considered the “mature” one. But as much as it was a positive thing, it was also a burden. My parents were tougher on me because I was the firstborn, and I was always covering for my sister when she snuck out to parties or skipped school to hang with her friends. The beauty of not having responsibilities (or wanting them) as the younger sibling is that you can usually do what you want and get away with it—not that she always did. But hey, that’s what sisters are for, right?
Getting together with family can be a snore-fest, especially as kids when you’re seated among adults who want to talk to you about school. Well, luckily my sister was always there, ready to sneak away and do something fun or make funny faces at me from across the table. Even though I am the oldest, I always looked up to my sister. She was so cool, pretty, smart, and really funny. She always had the room in fits of laughter—still does. Maybe that’s because she was the youngest and never took life too seriously. I still admire that about her today.
You know the jokes I’m referring to here—the ones so anecdotal that even if I were to share one now, you wouldn’t even find it funny. Like the time my sister and I were riding bikes home from school and started making a funny face at each other followed by a weird laugh. For some reason, whenever my sister pulls that one out now, just the memory triggers a ridiculous laughing attack. Usually, we both end up in tears, and my cheeks ache for ages after. Nobody can make me laugh that hard.
There is no greater love. Love you, sis. xx
This post was originally updated on September 10, 2015, and has since been updated.