The blessing of sisterhood

I’ve had a lot of blessings in my life, but one of the greatest has been that of sisterhood.

I was fortunate to be the oldest child in a pretty sizable family. The fortunate part of that scenario is that I was there to greet each of my siblings as they entered this world – and I’d like to jokingly remind them they were fortunate in always knowing me.

I was blessed with four sisters – their order of appearance was Nancy, Maria, Kelly and Crystal.

Although we didn’t always acknowledge it or even realize it, the blessings of being part of a five-girl posse are vast and valuable.

The blessing of sisterhood is that you learn how to be people, together. As sisters, we had to learn how to share our toys with one another. We had to learn how to co-exist in a tiny bedroom with way too many beds. We had to learn to appreciate the hand-me-down clothes that passed from one of us to the other and the other and the other.

The blessing of sisterhood is that you learn about the world, together. As sisters, we experienced the same sunsets pointed out to us by our mother every single evening. We collectively got to stand together in the barn and watch calves be born. We kneeled next to each other in the garden to plant seeds which we watched together grow into plants. We stood next to each other in the kitchen as we learned how to turn that produce into food. We got to put bread sacks on each other’s feet – before the snow boots – during the winter. And we got to run to the storm shelter together during those summer “thunderboomers” that the folks surely thought were going to tear the house apart.

The blessing of sisterhood is that you learn about society, together. As sisters, we were part of our own little community in which we each had a role, we each had a specific personality that led to certain responsibilities. We learned how people click, how what one of us would find funny another might not appreciate. We learned that even though we could be vastly different, we were somehow all the same.

The blessing of sisterhood is that you learn to find joy in life, together. Our five sets of eyes sparkled together as we decorated our miserable little Christmas trees each year. Our five sets of hands excitedly decorated our father’s horrific and hideous birthday cake each March. Our five sets of feet ecstatically ran for freedom each May when our little country school let out for the summer. And our five heads simultaneously itched as our mother gave us home perms.

The blessing of sisterhood is that you learn to handle the excruciating times in life, together. My sisters and I shared grief that really cannot be categorized – and we shared the recovery process which eventually resulted in beautiful collective memories and spiritual lessons.

The blessing of sisterhood is that you learn to express yourself, together. We shared our intimate thoughts with each other from early on and that practice exists today. We tell each other things we would never tell another living soul, because a decades-long trust exists which I don’t think could be found in another relationship.

The blessing of sisterhood is that you learn you are not alone in this world — and we learned it together. No matter where we are, how far apart we live or work from each other, or how busy we each become – we know the others are just a second away if we want to reach out. We have the most active ongoing group text ever witnessed by mankind – which I’m happy to say includes the two sisters we acquired along the way as they married our brothers. Happy news, sad news, worries, elation, stupid jokes and sometimes arguments soothe us along life’s journey as we share ourselves with the others.

A wild jingle of texts coming from my phone the other day, as we shared news and commentary about the state of the world, got me to thinking about the blessing of having those little girls in my life who grew to be women so crucial to the health of my soul. The value of that bond is beyond what any lottery could bestow. We worry about each other, scold one another, give each other sometimes unsolicited advice, encourage one another, praise one another, love one another.

That is the blessing of sisterhood.


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