Sisterhood. I used to think it only meant the relationship between a woman and her sister(s). I’m slowly learning that it comes in many forms. I’m fortunate to have a wonderful little sister, E., who not only was my first and best friend as a child, but whom now inspires me as an adult. It isn’t something I think about much, but last weekend, as my sister finally discovered GoodReads and I became inspired to write this post, I realized the depth of the shared experiences E. and I have. Of course, there is the obvious. We have the same wonderful parents, we share and adore a little brother, we spent almost our entire childhoods living in the same house, and we attended the same schools, even having some of the same teachers.
But there is so much more. We both grew up playing and working in the family business, Russell Canoe Livery, having our Dad as boss, as did our little brother. Our Grandma R. taught us all how to drive and supported us in everything we did. She and Grandpa were fixtures at E.’s basketball and softball games, as well as the football, soccer, and baseball games of G., our little brother. They even attended the games of great-nieces and nephews, many of whom E. and I considered our best friends. E. and I will always carry those lessons of love and support with us, thanks to the concerted efforts of our grandparents and our parents.
At the end of our childhoods, E. and I even decided to attend the same university, Michigan State, despite our planned vastly different career paths. Due to our age difference, almost exactly three years, and my tendency to study abroad, there was only one semester during which we both lived on campus. One night my sister had one of those freshman year meltdowns that seem to happen to everyone.
Guess who she called? Yep, her big sister. I ended up at her dorm room and we ended up spending a good share of that evening just talking, about everything and anything. I never realized she wasn’t anything but happy; she didn’t realize I wanted children someday or how deeply my infertility weighed on my mind (and still does). It was the first time we’d shared so much since we were children.
I love the fact that we now share an alma mater too. She eventually even met my wonderful brother-in-law at MSU and began serving as a Big Sister with Big Brothers, Big Sisters. Her little sister, C., who is not so little anymore, is very much a part of our family. C. and I were both in E.’s wedding party, along with E.’s gaggle of crazy friends.
It wasn’t until fairly recently that I began to experience another type of sisterhood; the type that brings women together around a shared set of circumstances. On Facebook I belong to a very active group of women and girls with Turner Syndrome. Some Moms, and even a couple of Dads, of girls with Turners participate as well. As Turner Syndrome affects only women, we are our own sisterhood. Not only do we share a few similar physical characteristics, nearly all of us deal with infertility, short stature, growth hormone injections, hormone replacement therapy, and continued misinformation surrounding our specific genetic condition. Through the group, we have cheered on adoptions, supported those going through invitro fertilization, tried to provide accurate information for parents of girls with Turners, and encouraged each other in countless ways, in spite of sometimes severe medical issues and even untimely deaths. I can’t think of a better definition of sisterhood.
What gets me is this: Why can’t women carry this attitude with them every day, no matter what the circumstances? Instead we put each other down, act superior to other women, and generally make the lives of girls miserable throughout junior high and high school. Then, after college, after we think we’ve put all that behind us, the pettiness starts all over again. One of the worst bosses I ever had was a woman – and I’ve heard that from several other women. As a business woman and a manager, I can only hope I can do better. I will never understand why we must tear each other down in order to build ourselves up.
- Sisterhood of the World Bloggers Award or “Yeah, We Won Something” (bespoketraveler.wordpress.com)
- The sisterhood of motherhood (mindthebaby.wordpress.com)
- The Sisterhood takes over WordPress! (sisterhoodofthetravellingpens.wordpress.com)