real life

The thing about sisters

Let’s talk about sisters. I’ll start with mine. Kate and Janey. I’m the oldest, and bossiest.

This is our sisterhood.

We’re crazy close. Not close in a Kardashian, ‘I’ll do your Brazilian wax for you,’ kind of way (although sort of close in a Kardashian ‘junk-in-the-trunk’ kind of way – all three of us having inherited our father’s eastern European, Teletubbie shape, rather than our mother’s willowy anglo-saxon limbs).

The Kardashian sisters

We’re close in the way that if we don’t phone/text/tweet or see each other at least once a day, we’ll phone/text or tweet each other to make sure we’re a) still alive and b) still talking.

Generally that conversation will go like this:

Me to Kate: ‘Hey it’s me. Where’s Janey?’

Kate: ‘Dunno. But she’s babysitting here tonight.’

Me: ‘Has she got the shits with me?’

Kate: ‘Nup, don’t think so.’

Me: ‘Cool. OK, I’ve got nothing else. Bye.’

We weren’t always as close as we are now. Janey was at boarding school when I was at university. Then Kate and I spent a year in London. Then we came back to Brisbane, then I moved to Sydney. Kate came to Sydney too, then took off to New Zealand. Janey lived in Dallas for a bit, before coming back to Brisbane. Then Kate moved to back to Sydney. Then I moved back to Brisbane. Then Kate married a Brisbane bloke. Then Janey moved to Las Vegas. Then three years later Janey moved back to Brisbane.

I feel like a little nap after that.

So now we’re all in the same city, which makes our parents very happy, and makes borrowing stuff a whole lot easier.

But man, can we fight. When we get into it, my sisters and I can fight for Australia.

Our trademark move is the telephone hang-up. My best friend once told me that she can’t believe we hang up on each other – she says she’d never get over it if someone hung up on her.

But for us, the hang-up is like a comma – a necessary break in proceedings, but never the end. And there are tears. It’s exhausting, but it’s usually over within hours. We’re economical like that.

I have a hundred stories about stuff we’ve done together, stuff we’ve done to each other and stuff we’ve done for each other. But that’d be a bit like making you sit through a Powerpoint presentation with dot points flying in from all over the place.

Instead, I’ll share what I think is the best part about having sisters. For me, there are two things.

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First, having allies inside the family bunker is priceless. Although we have great relationships with our parents, at any given time one or both of them is giving one or all of us the screaming shits. This is how a conversation might go:

Me to Janey: ‘It’s me. Just a heads-up. Dad is on his way over with the Gerni.’

Janey: ‘Crap. I’m still in bed. Nothing needs Gerni-ing. God, he’s mental.’

Me: ‘Count your blessings. He turned up here on his way back from the boat. Told us all it was time we were up. For fuck’s sake, it’s a public holiday.’

Janey: ‘Did he at least wash the car?’

Me: ‘No, but he saw Joe’s school shoes and sat him down to teach him the best polishing technique.’

The other thing for which I am eternally grateful about having sisters is the honesty inherent in the relationship. It is generally agreed amongst us that Janey is the most fashion-forward, Kate has the cleverest wit, and I am always on time. None of us tiptoe around when our opinions are sought (or not sought)  – particularly in our areas of expertise.

A viewing of a new frock might go like this:

Me to Janey: ‘I looooove this dress. It’s so weird that I can wear maxi-frocks when I’m so short.’

Janey: ‘You can’t. Maxi-dresses have never looked good on you.’

Me: ‘Yes they do.’

Janey: ‘No, really they don’t. They make you look enormous.’

Me: ‘Shut up. I like them.’

Janey: ‘I’m just saying.’

I just don’t think a friend, no matter how close, would say that to me –  not with such scant regard for my feelings – which might be the kind thing to do, but does nothing to improve my stylishness. Or lack thereof.

It’s impossible to avoid using the cliché that my sisters are my best friends, but it’s a term that doesn’t come close to being accurate. They are so much more. As well as being my allies they’re strongest defenders, my most strident critics, my mentors, my co-conspirators and my shoulders to cry on.

If you have sisters, I hope you are as lucky as I am. If you don’t, I hope that there is someone in your life who is to you what Kate and Janey are to me.

Do you have sisters? Is your relationship good, bad, ugly or indifferent?

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