Friends, Family, and Functional Chaos
(Previously posted on December 15, 2015)
“Sisters function as safety nets in a chaotic world simply by being there for each other.”
– Carol Saline
I grew up the oldest of four – a traditional and relatively “normal” family of two girls and two boys. My sister and I shared a small pink room in a green pointy house on a tree-lined street. Since there was a four year difference in our ages and an even wider distance in our interests, we didn’t have much to say to each other. We coexisted in parallel universes. I read books while she giggled with her friends. I ran lights for theater productions while she donned her cheerleading uniform. I listened to James Taylor in the dark while she attended raucous parties.
There was a subtle shift in our relationship as we got older. The divide didn’t seem so wide. We drifted toward one another for companionship. First there were trips to bars where we bonded over sweet drinks and cocky boys with AmEx cards. We discovered our passions weren’t that different. We laughed and cried and forged an alliance. Then came jobs and weddings and babies, and for me, a divorce and new marriage. When our father became ill and we wallowed through the chaos and heartache that permeated those years, our sisterhood was a pillow to land on. Life was just a little softer because we had each other.
Thank god, because without her I would be a raving lunatic wandering the streets in a musty old robe muttering fractured lines from Shakespeare. She saves me every day from falling into the abyss. We are our own gang full of inside jokes and venting phone calls and impromptu lunches and silly gossip. And there’s always laughter. Even in the darkest of times, we have giggled our way out of complete and utter mental breakdowns.
Our families are tenuous threads that can either forge or break at the slightest resistance. They can be a safe place to land or a crack in the sidewalk. Often they are a little of both, tugging at our fragile psyches. I am lucky to have a sister who turns that thread into an unbreakable rope.
That is our bond. That is our sisterhood. So, hang on, Ann, we aren’t finished with this climb. It’s all uphill from now on, but I have your hand and you have mine.
For there is no friend like a sister
In calm or stormy weather;
To cheer one on the tedious way,
To fetch one if one goes astray
To lift one if one totters down,
To strengthen whilst one stands.