Having a sister can be quite a strange concept. There are certain rules in a sister-ship that could never be applied to a normal friendship or relationship. Imagine a friend borrowing an item of clothing without your permission, screaming bloody murder at each other regarding said stolen item, crying tears of frustration, and then five minutes later being curled up on the sofa together eating ice cream as if nothing had happened.
That, in a nutshell, is the essence of growing up with a sister: the sense of complete and utter forgiveness, no matter how unreasonable you’re both being. The knowledge that you are able to be 100% yourself at all times. The never having to keep up your guard or pretend everything is fine. And, more times than I can count, it is exactly this unwavering acceptance and support that has brought me straight back down to earth.
A sister is friendship and family rolled into one. When you are aware that someone will love and support you no matter what (mainly because they have no choice), everything becomes easy. A sister understands all the quirks and foibles of your family and your childhood. She knows every detail of your mundane existence, down from the correct cereal-to-milk ratio of your breakfast, to the way that you have to push all the bubbles down to one end of your bath. A sister will be at the other end of the phone for the most superficial of your worries, without expecting anything in return. You can go from laughing to crying in the same sentence without appearing mentally unhinged. She will have no fear in telling you exactly how she feels about decisions you make, boyfriends you bring home, or if she just generally thinks you’re being an idiot. She will never let you forget about your more interesting pre-teen fashion statements (i.e. my all-over neon phase, or my love for Claire’s Accessories’ plastic food-shaped earrings), armed with photographic evidence for backup. A sister won’t care if you take a few days to reply to her messages, or forget to reply at all – more often than not, she’s forgotten you were even talking.
A sister is there for the excitement of a new relationship, helps you pick up the pieces of your broken heart, hates all the men who have mistreated you with a ferocity that you can’t even muster for yourself. She is there for the graduations, the birthdays, the emergency shopping trips, the everyday Bake Off binges – and she accepts all of these things without a second thought.
Having a sister teaches you to love unconditionally, with no questions asked.
And also teaches you to keep your belongings firmly locked away, unless you want to spot your missing skirt in her Instagram post 4 months after its disappearance.