Because there’s one thing stronger than magic:
Today is the official National Sister’s Day! Today we recognize the unique bond that only sisters share.
By blood, I have three sisters. My dad has 8 sisters. (no, that’s not a typo. you read that correctly, 8!) I had, at least, 12 aunts growing up whom I loved dearly. I have somewhere around 35 first cousins just on my father’s side of the family, and many of my cousins were like sisters growing up. I’ve been surrounded by women my entire life, and I am the type of person who simply cannot live without a TRIBE. When disaster struck in my life, it was my TRIBE who held me afloat.
Sisterhood is a funny thing. It’s easy to recognize, but hard to define.
I was recently asked to speak at a gala to raise money for the families in my community. They wanted me to talk about how I was financially helped during my daughter’s battle with cancer. In writing my speech, I could not think of anything more valuable that helped us than the intangible power of my female friendships. In my speech, I said, “I had a community of family and friends and fellow wives who kept me mentally, spiritually, emotionally, and physically afloat on days when I, quite literally did not think I could even get through the day. Everyone has heard of the incredible Brotherhood, but not everyone knows of the indomitable Sisterhood.” It’s a statement that took extreme hardship for me to fully realize and recognize.
“Sweet is the voice of a sister in the season of sorrow.”
And it was no accident my “sisters” were there for me at the very moment of my daughter’s death. I invited them in to see her body, one last time, because we were, ALL of us, like the many cousins and aunties I had growing up, were also her mothers and aunties.
Sisterhood is not limited to direct gene-pools. My sisters by birth and I are close, no doubt (currently I’m in a c0-dependent relationship with my little sister wherein we call each other 5 times a day), but the closeness I share with the women around me, sisters by heart, soul-sharing type of friends (our incredible founder, included) is also what defines me as a woman and mother. They are my therapists, my gurus, my yoga/fitness/nutritionist counselors, my spiritual mentors, my partners in crime, my “I have a confession” receivers, my cheerleaders, my “you’re so full of shit” BS monitors, my inspiration, my joy, my lifeblood.
My husband has his own brotherhood, a uniquely powerful band of brothers that share something, like a willingness to die on the battlefield for one, that I will never understand….yet even HE doesn’t quite ‘get’ my indomitable Sisterhood:”I don’t get it babe, you literally just saw her. Why do you need to talk on the phone the entire way home after hanging out for 3 hours?” he often asks me, always with baffled befuddlement.
“We’re connected, as women. It’s like a spiderweb. If one part of that web vibrates, if there’s trouble, we all know it, but most of the time we’re just too scared, or selfish, or insecure to help. But if we don’t help each other, who will?”
Female friendship is so unique, when I think of the times I felt betrayed, hurt, let down, abandoned by someone I consider a sister, I feel it in my soul. It’s a type of pain so tender, so agonizing, and more deeply visceral than any man can inflict. There is a certain irony that comes with sisterhood, “the bittersweet truth is that nothing could be more hurtful, yet nothing could be more helpful.” It’s true. That’s why I stopped watching Real Housewives on Bravo. I used to freakin’ LOVE that show. One night I was watching RHONJ, a particularly ridiculous fight and these women were just seething, spitting, attacking each other, like wild, beautiful, lip-stick covered monkeys, just totally going apes$#t, not even resembling humans anymore. I thought to myself, This is NOT what the generations of women before us fought for. They didn’t fight tooth and nail for suffrage, for equality, for women to pointlessly act like buffoons on national television. Madeline Albright’s quote came to my mind, “There’s a special place in hell for women who don’t help other women.”
When a soul sister hurts you, it sucks. But if we can’t give grace to the very friends who love us the most, who on earth can we give grace too?? I have felt betrayal from friends and my birth sisters in the midst of my daughter’s battle with cancer, with her suffering, and in the wake since her death. Some are simply not there or can be just assholes. And it’s been a struggle for me. But I know I have done the same to them, however unwittingly, unknowingly, unconsciously, mistakenly, regrettably, or, again, was just misunderstood…so now I choose grace and forgiveness. For when I courageously battle on, I am then surprised by the effortless smile that rolls across my face simply because a sister is near, and I trust…for she knows my pain and my heart like no other.
“Sisters are different. They heard the sobbing in the darkness. They lived through all your triumphs, all your favorites, all your loves and losses. They have no delusions. They lived with you too long. And so, when you achieve some victory, friends are delighted – but sisters hold your hands in silence and shine with happiness. For they know the cost.”
Yet it took betrayal, loss, being misunderstood, forgiveness and grace, loyalty (not from me, but from them) and my life to fall apart for me to fully understand how lucky I am…It took losing sisters, the ending of friendships that nearly broke me and took a few years of therapy to get over, for me to to deeply appreciate the women around me, to appreciate that God gave me sisters in many forms, colors, shapes, sizes, professions, religions, all uniquely beautiful and special, to rely on. I have sobbed in the darkness. Sobbed in the light of day. Alone. In the arms of a sister…the latter somehow, inexplicably, lighter and more real. In that moment I didn’t give a shit if she was my politically polar opposite, a different race, a different religion–all that mattered was our soul-kinship.
“We can have unity in diversity and diversity in unity.
We don’t have to be like one another to enjoy sisterhood.”
So today we celebrate our fellow SISTERS, whether by birth or by heart, and the kind of LOVE only sisters share.