I spent the weekend in Las Vegas for my sister’s Bachelorette Party. And by the weekend, I mean 24 hours. And for a person like me who defines the perfect Saturday night as watching Quantum Leap reruns in my pajamas with a pot of tea and a bowl of chocolate, a wild night out in Vegas with girls 5-10 years younger and so much cooler is a daunting task. But I wore lipstick. And (sensible) heels. And it was fun. Yay me.
The weekend was, however, an amazing eye opener for me. I was with my sister and 10 of her friends, most of whom I had met before, some of whom I have known since they were in elementary school, all of whom have played an important role in her life. And I saw them in a different light. I saw them not as just ‘my sister’s friends’ but as the women who surround my sister when she needs them. They were there to have fun, sure, but in reality they were all there for her. To celebrate her. To celebrate their friendship and the happiness they had for her. This didn’t surprise me, my sister is a wonderful woman who has always been wise enough to nourish her female bonds, but it was a new perspective. I saw them as a group, I saw them as a network, I saw them symbolically.
I would never hesitate to say that my sister is my best friend, but the truth is that a sisterly relationship, or at least our sisterly relationship, has a certain limit to it’s infinite nature. There is almost nothing I wouldn’t do for her (I went to Magic Mike IN THE THEATER you guys, for real) and I know she feels the same way about me. But there is also an element of fire to our relationship that I don’t have in my friendships with other women. We have high hopes, expectations and standards for each other and we are very hard on each other. And sometimes quite harsh towards each other. And once in a while downright mean. And though I’m not proud of that, I know it’s exceptional because any other friendship would not survive such heat. But ours does. And it grows. Stronger and stronger.
The intense, historical, familial relationship I have with my sister is just one part of my sisterhood. I have more than my share of truly exceptional women around me, who understand me in different ways than my sister does, who forgive me more quickly or hold me accountable more consistently. No woman on earth could ever replace my sister, but these other sisters complete my life in a way that just one woman, not even a sister, could ever do.
My time in Vegas with my sister’s friends led me to the should-have-been-obvious conclusion that my sister has her own sisterhood. She completes her need for female connection with other women, just like I do. When it comes the women in her life, I am not her everything, and letting myself realize that gave me the freedom to stop feeling guilty for the fact that she is not my everything. My sister’s sisterhood gives me relief when I might be worried that she is lonely. My sister’s sisterhood makes sure she has someone to talk to about the things she doesn’t want to tell me. Strong, wild and wonderful, my sister’s sisterhood.