I never meant for my daughters to be six years apart. It certainly wasn’t the hand I was expecting to be dealt, but I believe, in the depths of my soul, it was the hand I was meant to hold.
I was sure my second child was going to be a boy. So when the doctor announced it was another girl, the perfect scenario immediately entered my thoughts. Two sisters. Together. Forever. They would form a bond like no other.
After all, I had firsthand experience with this sister thing. Just one year older than I, my sister consumed all of my childhood memories. Whether we were playing house or school or running around the backyard, we were always together as children. My parents dressed us the same; we shared the same middle name; we received the same haircuts.
After we moved to a different town and went through high school together, many people assumed we were twins. Even now that we’ve entered our 40s, we are told we talk and laugh similarly. In fact, perfect strangers have approached me thinking I was my sister. And I have loved every minute of it. Somewhere along the line, we dubbed each other “sissy” – and the rest is history.
So, why wouldn’t I want my daughters to have that same relationship with each other?
When my youngest, Ava, began walking and talking, she made it known to everyone around her that she adored her older sister. She wanted to do what Amanda did. She wanted to be where Amanda was. Amanda played mother hen, constantly worrying about Ava, just like my sister used to worry about me. It was the cutest thing ever.
At first, 7-year-old Amanda loved the attention. But that soon faded. Six years apart meant many things. It meant the older got to do things the younger couldn’t. It meant different hobbies, interests and friends. It meant separation. And I hated to see my daughters separated.
Amanda was feeling the ramifications of having another sibling around. The “only child” attention she once had with us was no longer. We did our best to make the transition easier: a big birthday party with her friends, one-on-one time with Mommy and Daddy.
It seemed to make things a little bit easier, but it was never quite the same. We tried to remind her that Ava would never know alone time with us like Amanda did. There would always be a sister to share us with.
Still, somewhere along the line, they dubbed each other “sissy,” and it literally brought me to tears. It was then that I knew, no matter what, they would be close. It may not have been then, or even now, but it will happen when it is most important – when they are older and they need each other. When, in addition to being sisters, they dub each other best friends.
Now that some time has passed, there remain struggles. Ava still wants her big sister there to help guide her. But Amanda is a teenager doing her “teenage” things and is not always approachable. It saddens me to watch.
But then something magical happened. Amanda was asked to recognize someone special with a flower at her last middle school concert. And instead of picking her parents like the rest of her classmates did, she chose her sister.
That’s when I know it’s there: that bond that sisters share. They are “sissy” to each other. And in this family, I know that label is far more important than the six years between them.