Strongest Bond: A Reflection on Sisterhood / a picture of two sisters laughing together

Strongest Bond

Melissa Gosselin

Happy Wednesday, everyone! It’s time for another ButterTree story. Today, I want to explore the intricacies of sisterhood. Since I grew up with a brother (I wrote about him in a blog post called “I Love You, Sis”) I can’t speak on what it’s like to have a sister. I’ve always wondered about the experience, though. Is there arguing, comparison or jealousy? Or is the bond stronger because you can relate better to each other’s experiences? So I sought out the most beautiful sister relationship I know. 

This is Lily’s story. 

Lily speaks highly of her sister Amelia. She describes her as a kind soul, and says that since they were little Amelia has taught her about seeing the best in people. Lily describes how uncomfortable Amelia would get hearing others being spoken about in a disparaging way. How Amelia would say, “We don’t know about their life, so it isn’t fair to judge.” Lily has always been inspired by Amelia’s innocence, the purity of spirit that allows her to see the best in the world around her. Lily also describes her sister Amelia’s love of art . . . how, as far back as she can remember, Amelia has always dressed a little differently, expressed herself through painting. And Lily says art helped Amelia stay in touch with herself even during the tougher moments in life. Most of all, Lily admires her sister’s joy . . . how she makes small moments special, appreciates a perfect cup of artisanal coffee, and how she decorates beautiful, welcoming spaces. 

Lily and Amelia have always been close, the love was there from the start. They essentially grew up alongside each other since they’re so close in age. They learned to ride bikes together, learned to swim, learned a new language together and cried together. When they were told they’d be moving to a new country, both of them fell apart on the bathroom floor. When they started at their new school, they were inseparable. And if Amelia didn’t play tennis anymore, neither did Lily. If Lily dyed her hair black, Amelia would do the same. The first time Lily got drunk as a teenager, the first time she got her heart broken, Amelia was there.

Of course they would disagree at times, and Lily says their relationship taught her to be careful with her words. She says she would sometimes lash out at Amelia, who was typically calmer, without realizing the impact of those outbursts on Amelia’s self-esteem. Through Amelia, Lily learned the importance of consciously building people up, of unconditional love, of constantly reminding the people in her life how beautiful and special they are. 

The most difficult moment for Lily happened when she was nine years old. It was when Amelia got sick, fell into a coma and was in the hospital. Lily remembers the doctors telling her family how serious it was, how there was a possibility that Amelia either would never wake up or never be the same again. Lily was so distraught she ran out into the street, where a bus sped by, narrowly missing her. Fortunately, Amelia did wake up, and she miraculously made a full recovery. Lily says she can’t imagine her life without her sister. 

“My childhood is Amelia,” Lily says, but they’re just as close today. No matter the distance, no matter how much time passes without seeing each other, they’re able to pick up where they left off. Lily describes it this way: “You know you can always rely on that person . . . you know that they are home.” And over time they’ve watched each other change, adopting different roles in their relationship. When they were teenagers, Lily was the extravert and Amelia the introvert, and, as adults, those roles have been reversed. They’re still learning from each other, speaking often and sharing insights from their individual lives. But, through our conversation, Lily realized that, because she’s been going through a particularly hard time recently, she’s retreated into herself a little. But she says it’s nice to be reminded that she has a forever friend in her sister, a person she can always lean on. 

What a gift — to share so much of your life with another person, to learn and grow alongside them. It’s like having an extended self, one soul in two bodies, bringing out each other’s greatest potential. Do you have a sister? How have they shaped who you are today? Are you close in age or is there a gap? How does that impact the way you relate to each other? 

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