I am so lucky to be one of four girls! Yes, my poor dad had 4 daughters, and I am the oldest of the bunch.
Kirsten and I are only twenty-two months apart. Growing up we were the happiest little playmates, but by middle school, and into high school, we also became very good at competing and arguing with one another. Thankfully, we both matured and today she is one of my closet friends! And even though I am the older one, I so often turn to her for support and advice. She truly is my life coach, and is so incredibly special to me, my children, and I love the friendship that her and my husband have – I could listen to these two banter and laugh for hours!
Next in line, and five years behind me, is April. Having that buffer of age provided us little chance to ever fight. I definitely think I took on the older protective sister role with her. When I had my daughter Mady, she was the one that helped me out the most. Our bond, and the bond that she has with my children, is exceptional! And now that she is married with her own children, it is so fun to share these phases of life together! We often swap babysitting services, and are always calling the other with baby/kid related questions.
And then there is the baby of the family, dear Alana. We are almost nine years apart. This distance in age really made me feel more like a mother figure to her over the years, and probably is the reason I felt so prepared to raise my own! It is so fun to watch her now as an adult, and I can’t help but feel a little proud that I contributed in a small way. And the older she gets, the more we have in common and can enjoy together.
My relationship with each one of these lovely ladies is very different, very unique, and very special. But overall we share a bond that only sisters and siblings can have.
We are always there for one another, cheering each other on, and helping each other out.
We have seen first hand that not all siblings have this kind of connection. I know that each family has their own drama and stories, and we have had our fair share from time to time. But, after watching fall-outs between others close to us, we decided a few years ago that we would do whatever it took to remain close. No matter what, we want to get along. And for that to work for us, there are a few spoken/unspoken rules:
- We never make another argument OUR argument
Coming from a big family, there are a lot of opinions. And when a disagreement comes up, it’s easy to pick a side or get involved, but not us girls. We have already paused mid sentence when a certain topic comes up, looked at each other and said “I do not want this to be our fight”. Whether one of us agrees or disagrees with something mom said, or something our aunt did, or a choice a cousin made, we will not let that be our argument.
2. We will respectfully agree to disagree
My sisters and I are all Christians, and have many of the same beliefs and morals. But, we are each unique and different. Not everything we will agree on 100% of the time. So, if a conversation starts to become too heated, we try to look at each other and just simply say “I do not want to fight about this,” and then agree to change the subject. Sometimes even just taking a few days/weeks to cool down allows us to revisit the topic again more calmly. But, if we know we will never see eye to eye, then it is a topic never to be brought up again.
3. Some topics are off-limits
To go along with what I mentioned in #2, some times we know that we will never see eye to eye on a certain topic. If this is the case, then that topic is simply off-limits. You might think we are just sweeping it under the rug, or avoiding a situation that may later blow up in our face, but for us this seems to work. If that means not all aspects of our life are shared openly, then that’s how it has to be. I would rather be a bit more “surfacy” on certain subjects, then getting into arguments and ruining our relationship.
4. Use words instead of text
So often text messages, letters, and emails can be misinterpreted. When there is a problem between any of us, we try to meet in person to discuss face to face. Or, if that is not possible, we speak over the phone. If messages are firing off left and right, the argument can so quickly turn into something totally different, and deeper, than it originally started. Even though it is not always easy to look at the person you are fighting with, for us we have found that it often provides the fastest and best solution.
Who knows if any of these rules will change over the next several years, or if more will be added to our list? But, what I do know is that all four of us are determined to always get along. For us this works. We still have our differences, but we try to catch them as early as we can before they escalate into something we might later regret.
This picture was taken in August 2016, the day before my youngest sister Alana was married, and just two weeks after my sister April gave birth to my little nephew. What a special time in our lives!