Column: Growing up separated

'Sometimes I wonder if I’m missing out on some great experience only people close to their siblings will get to have.'

Courtesy+of+Kelly+C.+Photography.

Courtesy of Kelly C. Photography.

It’s a scorching day in mid-July. I am only 5 years old. My sisters and I are home alone, spending this hot day in our air-conditioned house. As I run around, playing with horse figurines and princess costumes, I stumble and plummet to the ground.

Immediately, tears come to my eyes. Even faster, my sister comes to my rescue. She scoops me up into a hug and kisses the scrape on my knee. I don’t buy into the ‘kiss it all better’ story, so it’ll take a bit more convincing to get me to stop crying.

Next thing I know, I’m soaring through the living room in her arms like an airplane. She safely lands me on the ‘doctor’s table’ of our piano bench and goes into ‘fake-surgery’ with my other sister. They treat my scrape and bruise with tickles and a Band-Aid. Suddenly, the pain isn’t so bad anymore.


 

I am 8 years old and my oldest sister has left for college. The room that used to be full of textbooks and boy band posters is now a barren wasteland. This feeling of emptiness in my home is foreign to me. Until this point, there’s never been an empty space in my household; every inch was occupied and full of life.

I can’t quite grasp the strange, hollow feeling that my sister left behind as she pursued her future. My family and I saw her almost every month, but still the feeling of being incomplete remained because we couldn’t see her every day.


 

I am 12 years old, and my second sister is in college now, too. The house is almost completely empty now, left only for my parents and me. My family is together less and less now. We only spend time together during major holidays like Thanksgiving and Christmas.

I almost feel cheated, in a way. It feels like I don’t even have sisters anymore, simply because they’re not around me as much. Sometimes I wonder if I’m missing out on great experiences only people close to their siblings will get to have.


 

A year ago, my sister got engaged. She asked me if I would be a bridesmaid in her upcoming wedding. Of course, I said yes, and excitement filled me like a flash flood. We spent more time together, shopping for wedding attire and brainstorming decoration ideas. I finally felt close and included, as if I was finally experiencing the sisterhood I missed out on growing up.



Now I am 15 years old. Even though I’m not going through high school with my sisters physically by my side, they’re always there for me emotionally. We text each other and use social media to keep up with our day-to-day lives. Whenever possible, the three of us spend time together on weekends or over holiday breaks.

My sisters and I have formed an unbreakable bond despite the distance that separates us. I finally feel like I have a close relationship with them. I wouldn’t trade our relationship for anything else in the world.