The Advantages of Having a Sibling Who Is Close in Age

Oh my goodness, I have no idea what I would be doing right now if it weren’t for my little sister and the fact that we are so close in age (more specifically, about a year apart, thanks to my moms forgetfulness and pill-form birth control). Besides the first year of my life, she has been with me through it all, and by that, I mean everything. So, in honor of celebrating another year of her life, I thought I’d make a list of the reasons I am so blessed to have a sister who is so close to my age and my heart.

#1: We Shared EVERYTHING

Whether I, her wiser, much more stylish older sister, wanted to or not. And yes, clothes are number one on the list. When we lived together, she would always sneak into my room and steal my recent purchases from the mall, and I would never see them again. Where would she put them? Only God knows, but I’ve come around to forgiving her.

When we were younger, I was always forced to share my friends. She would tag along wherever we went, interrupting our conversations and stealing my limelight with her quick-witted humor. In return, I always tried to act super cool around her friends, because I was, you know, a WHOLE year older, meaning that I had much more wisdom when it came to clothes, MySpace pics, and boys.

I used to hate sharing my friends more than anything, but now, I wouldn’t change it for the world. We’re all grown up, dealing with the torturous twenties the best we know how, helping each other along the way.

We also shared late-night fits of laughter that we’d try to keep quiet for fear of wrath from our parents, making funny faces and telling made-up jokes to entertain ourselves in the days before T.V.’s were installed in every room.

We shared coughs, toys, celebrity crushes, the remote–well, you get the gist. When I say everything, I mean everything.

#2: When Family Crises Arose, We Stuck Together

And this aspect of our lives is what I think kept us from growing up to be psycho loner cat ladies. Being two sisters from a divorced family was not easy, and I’m 99.9% positive that I would not have been able to go through it alone. As we watched our parents fade apart, we clung closer together with every foreshadowing aspect of our mom and dad’s fate. And when our parents finally separated for good, my sister and I never left each other’s side. We went everywhere together, substituting the hole of whatever missing parent was away that weekend with each other, holding hands and sharing a bed when money was tight. We even gave in and let each other play with the other one’s toys (since we didn’t have many at the time), and as long as my sister let me control our games, we were all smiles.

#3: We Went Through our “Awkward Stage” at the Same Time

I’ll admit it: We were both a little on the chubby side around the age of 12, but hey, those Wonderballs weren’t going to eat themselves! However, we both saw our freckled-covered bodies, flat chests, and hairy legs a major disadvantage when we suddenly realized that boys were actually cute, and that all of the other girls at our middle school seemed to have everything going for them, including cellphones! But thank the Good Lord above that I thought it was a great idea to wear a shirt that exclaimed in big, bold, fuzzy letters: Boys Are Overrated! I thought I was being so rebellious, and my sister drooled at the idea that it would soon become her stylish hand-me-down.

Unlike us, all of our friends were allowed to wear makeup, shave their legs, and get their eyebrows done at 13, so we both felt pretty out of place. We were both late bloomers, and as if our school’s initials of P.M.S. plastered on the walls wasn’t enough of a reminder, we both got nightly talks about “Becoming women,” and “The birds and the bees,” while our friends got to wear actual bras and go to the mall without parental supervision.

On top of all that, I was cursed with braces that intensified the shape of my uneven smile. Luckily, my sister slipped sweet little notes under my bedroom door after I cried because my family got to eat Subway for dinner while I was forced to slurp down tomato soup.

#4: We Don’t Judge Each Other (At Least, Not in a Way That Would be Acceptable if Anyone Else Were to Do it)

Although we do tell it like it is. But you can do that sort of thing when you’re sisters. For instance, if my mom were to say to my sister, “What the heck have you done to your hair?!” There would surely be an all-out brawl, followed by a couple days of shunning, but if I were to say the same thing to her, we would probably laugh, and I’d tell her that she seriously needs to fix her hair, and then she probably would (or not, depending on her mood. She’s a little on the rebellious side).

Problem solved.

And it works both ways. She is allowed to say things about me and my life (that I’ll actually take to heart) that might end in a slapping match if it was said by anyone else. We can always expect honesty from each other, and trust me, it is freely given.

#5: We Make Dreaded Phone Calls for Each Other

THIS. This has been a life-saver when my anxiety is through the roof and I’m too scared to call into work, and vice versa. We may look nothing alike, but on the phone, no one can tell if they’re talking to me or my sister. And we take advantage of it… it’s a gift! And it’s such a waste if you don’t use the gifts you’re given to the best of your ability.

She’s saved my butt on days when I’ve forgotten I had to work, and I’d make her come up with a really good excuse and then call in for me. She’s such a good actress, so I’m never scared when I put the fate of my income into her hands.

Me, on the other hand… well let’s just say that I’m not a natural-born actress. The few times that I’ve called people and pretended to be her, I ended up giggling, and then chuckling, and then trying to contain my laughter while I was supposed to be sounding sick. Maybe that’s why she doesn’t ask me to do it that often.

Either way, I got the lucky end of the stick on this one.

#6: We Never Get Tired of Each Other’s Humor

Or maybe that’s just me, but 22 years have passed by and there is still no one on this earth that can make me laugh like my sister. Seriously, she makes my belly cramp up and tears roll out of my eyes over the same sort of things that she’s been making me laugh about my whole life, and it never gets old.

And it’s great, because only a select few get my ridiculously lame sense of humor, but my sister always laughs the hardest and the loudest, and let me tell you, it’s over nothing. At least, nothing that anyone else would ever laugh at. I get to try and be funny all of the time, and if she fails to find my impression of a bucket of lard funny, then it’s okay because she’s my sister and I know she’ll laugh at the next one.

We used to sneak into each other’s rooms after bedtime and just make complete fools out of ourselves, conjuring up fake words and songs and then laughing until we thought we’d die (or be killed by our parents). There was nothing better, especially when our family was going through rough times. In those moments, we kept each other sane. We still do.

#7 Nothing Embarrasses Us When We’re Together

We try really hard to embarrass each other, too. Actually, it’s more of me trying to embarrass a girl who doesn’t get embarrassed about anything, while she convinces me to do things that she doesn’t find embarrassing at all, so I’ll do it, and then become embarrassed.

She doesn’t have a lot of rules while in public. I do. So one day, we’re in CVS and I’m looking for a new shade of summer lipstick. I find a shade that I really like, but I tell her that I don’t know if it would look good on me. Nonchalantly, she tells me to take off the wrapper and try it on, convinced that if I were to get caught that the store clerks would understand and let me off the hook– because she does it all the time. She seemed so sure, so I unpeeled the wrapper and slathered on the hot-pink, waterproof lipstick. As I’m pursing my lips in the mirror, a manager turns the corner and yells, “HEY! I saw you try that on when I was watching the cameras. You know you’re not supposed to do that! Did you? Did you try on the lipstick?”

With hot-pink Estee Lauder smudged all over my lips, I whisper “What do I say?” to my sister, and she looks at the manager, claims he has no idea what he’s talking about, and grabs my hand to run out of the store while he yells after us.

“See, I told you it’s not a big deal,” she says calmly as I’m sweating and breathing hard, feeling like a runaway criminal.

After a moment of silence, we look at each other and bust out laughing. And to this day, I still let her talk me into doing otherwise stupid things, or convince me that “nobody cares if she accidentally puts her shirt on inside-out and backwards everyday,” which she does do, almost every day.

I wish I could be more like her.

#8: If Someone Makes One of Us Angry, They Make Both of Us Angry

And it’s usually a more spiteful anger for the one who was told about it. She gets mad at her boyfriend, and I daydream about shaving his legs or posting a really unflattering picture of him on Facebook. Vengeful, I know, but I’m not very good at plotting. I do, however, possess a very wide, very educated vocabulary, and I’d give him an earful if she let me.

Yeah, I mostly daydream about the words.

I have to be very careful when it comes to telling my sister about people I’m mad at, though, because she likes to daydream about pounding her fist in their face or breaking their baby toes.

Either way, we’ve always got each other’s back. It doesn’t matter if one of us is angry because one of our friends ate the last bit of our ketchup (the nerve!), the other one will be just as upset. I’ve stopped talking to some people altogether because they’ve done something to hurt my sister, and even though she’s made up with them (because she’s always the first to apologize), I will continue to shun them until they apologize to me for what they did to her.

Rational, I know.

But I know that my sister is the first one I call when I’m angry so we can be angry together until our wrath is satisfied. It might not be the healthiest type of therapy, but hey, it’s in our blood.

#9: We Always Build Each Other Up

Which is important, considering that we both had to deal with environments that encouraged unrealistic body images, and we’ve both dealt with eating disorders. We always tell each other that we’re beautiful, even when we look like we just went through the garbage disposal. It’s because we know each other’s heart, and we had to learn the hard way that what you look like on the inside defines your beauty.

On top of being beautiful (on the outside, too), my sister is the most talented singer/songwriter/actress that I’ve ever known. I know she could be a superstar if she had the time and the money, but right now, she’s just a star to me. I have one of her songs on my iPhone that I blare in my car and sing at the top of my lungs, filled with pride and jealousy that the whole world doesn’t get to see and hear what I do.

Likewise, she reads and supports all of my writings, and appreciates them even when no one else can seem to relate. She never fails to make me feel anything less than beautiful and talented when I’m around her, and she’s done that for me my whole life. I only wish that I’d started reciprocating sooner, but you know how prideful and cocky older sisters can be.

#10: We Tell Each Other Everything

Same as rule #1. Nothing is excluded.

You ate a whole bag of Cheetos in under 15 minutes? That’s awesome, gold star! You went to the bathroom in the White House and your poo ended up looking exactly like Obama? OMG, send me a pic!

But it’s not all fun and games, though I wish it were. I tell her things about battling depression, anxiety, and my disease that I would never tell anyone else, and she’ll describe it back to me in a different way, but it’s like she’s reading my mind. We both deal with the same mental issues, and because we’re the only two people in the world who have lived the same life, we get each other. Sometimes we don’t have to say anything at all, we just know. I really do think (when it comes to most things) that we have the same mind, and though our lives are now monumentally different, we’re still the same person to each other, and I know we always will be.

When she’s hurting, I feel her pain, but I’ve always managed to keep a straight face, and she does the same for me. Our whole family could be sobbing over some crisis, or the world could be crumbling around us, and I know we would be the only ones with our shoulders back and head up, nodding at each other in approval of the strength we hold fast to for the other’s sake.

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