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7 Reasons to Love Your Sister (Even When It’s Hard)
Posted By Barbara Hannah Grufferman On December 5, 2012 @ 6:00 am In Be Your Best | No Comments
- Marion C. Garretty
It’s weird and comforting to know that there is no other woman on this planet, not even my mother, has had a closer view of my life than my sister (that’s us on the left in 1965 visiting Prospect Park in Brooklyn, N.Y.). I know pretty much everything there is to know about her, too, including a few things I’m sure she would like me to forget (but I won’t, because sisters are like elephants – see below). We connect on the phone at least once a day, and because our mother is in the early stages of Alzheimer’s disease, the conversation usually revolves around medications, doctor appointments, who’s doing what and when.
Like so many other women in our generation, we have what amounts to joint custody, while trying to simultaneously let my mother live in her own home, with help. We’ve split up chores like bill paying and grocery shopping, trying hard not to argue about money, trying hard to manage it all so our mother is comfortable and we stay sane. It would be hard to cope with one daughter in college, the other in high school, and a mother who is tiptoeing into the frightening world of dementia … without my sister.
But, even in the midst of the heavy stuff we’re dealing with, there’s always a reason to laugh, usually because of a shared memory, recalling something that one or both of us said or did, some blind date story or hair disaster. After decades of working together through ups, downs, love, disappointments, successes, failures, illness, marriage, divorce, children, crazy relatives and everything else that life can throw at you, we communicate in a way that only sisters can.
There have been periods when we would walk on eggshells when speaking with each other, worried about misunderstandings or hurt feelings. And a few times we didn’t speak at all (once for a full year). Those days are long gone. Now in our 50s, we understand that time is precious, and it’s never a good idea to waste it on words and emotions that in the scheme of things are not important. Sure, we sometimes slip back into old patterns of behavior, dredging up unresolved hurts, falling into the “you said, I said” mode. But then one of us stops us in our tracks, says something hilariously funny, and we get back to where we need to be.
Charles Schulz once wrote, “Big sisters are the crab grass in the lawn of life.” It’s true. Even your best girlfriend will be gentle when criticizing or offering an opinion. Not sisters, especially older ones. They are happy to splash cold water on your face, pointing out faults in your new boyfriend or current husband (or, more commonly, in you), feel comfortable offering parenting, fashion, hair, makeup, or money advice (usually unsolicited), turning you into that insecure 12-year-old all over again, putting you in your place at warp speed. But, just as quickly, with the right words, she’ll make you know – beyond any doubt – that she would go to the ends of the earth for you … no matter what. And you’ll smile.
After five decades of sharing my life with one (and observing my own two daughters), here are seven reasons to cherish your sister . . . even when it’s hard:
Author Linda Sunshine summed it up best when she wrote:
If you don’t understand how a woman could both love her sister dearly and want to wring her neck at the same time, then you were probably an only child.
For more tips on living your best life after 50 (or 60, or 70…) check out “The Best of Everything After 50: The Experts’ Guide to Style, Sex, Health, Money and More” and www.bestofeverythingafter50.com. Keep me posted on how you’re doing by subscribing to me on Facebook and “tweeting” me on Twitter at @BGrufferman.
Photo credits: Barbara Hannah Grufferman’s personal photo, midlifedivorcerecovery.com,
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