I didn’t want a sister, but I’m so glad my daughters have one
I remember getting the note. I sat outside on a lounge chair enjoying some alone time and the fresh air as the nausea lingered in my bones. And then the phone rang. “Do you want to know the sex of the baby? asked the nurse. “Of course,” I replied. With three children already – two boys and then a girl – my intuition told me it was a boy. ” It’s a little girl ! she said happily. Oh shit, I thought. Sisters.
As an eldest with two younger brothers, I have no personal sibling experience. While most of my sisterless friends often expressed a desire for this kind of relationship, I didn’t. I really loved being the queen bee of my childhood, and every sister relationship around me felt more like a headache than a blessing. Even for most of my adulthood, the sisterly relationships around me seemed complicated and charged. And to be honest, I had no interest in dealing with this in my nuclear family.
But two years raising sisters and nine years mothering women with sisters and me may have changed their minds. Because even though the relationship still seems complicated, I think the built-in life support it offers might outweigh all of that.
I hope my daughters find amazing allies in each other. Growing up in this current social and political climate that is not always rewarding for women (to say the least), they can lean on each other for support and guidance. They can create a safe space for understanding and validation where they share their unknowns, fears and insecurities. I would have benefited immensely from a sister during some of my most embarrassing and awkward teenage experiences.
A sister can also be a unique empathic support when you are going through life’s major events. With deaths in the family, pregnancy complications and the trauma of motherhood, a sister could walk by your side with constant support. Requiring no similarity of any kind, but rather a deep understanding of your roots and life experience that would allow for maximum comfort.
And there’s something about mothering alongside a sister that feels particularly special. Loving each other’s children in a specific and unique way and sharing the burden of everyday life, and giving each other the freedom to ask for help when needed without the same guilt associated with other family members or friends. The sisters often seem able to seamlessly replace each other in different circumstances, knowing each other in a way that most others cannot.
So while I spent most of my life feeling grateful for my sisterless existence, the last years of my life and motherhood gave me a deeper appreciation and yearning for that bond as I move forward in the last stages of life. I am grateful that even though my daughters will inevitably encounter hard times and fight over a coveted jacket or spin with the car, they will have a deep appreciation for each other later in life. Because while friends and other family members can be essential in someone’s support system, healthy fellowship is especially enjoyable.
Samm is a former lawyer and mother of four who swears a lot. Find her on Instagram @sammbdavidson.