This I Believe

Emily - Bradenton, Florida
Entered on July 19, 2006
Age Group: Under 18
Themes: family
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The Uplifting Power of Sisterhood

“Your sister is your best friend,” my dad used to say to me. I never believed those words. I considered family members facts of life. Friends, to whom I felt closer to, were absolutely essential. But in the years spent with parents and siblings, I have learned that one has the power to determine the quality of relationship with each member of a family.

Growing up in Montgomery, Alabama I felt perfectly content in school, in church, in everything. My younger sister and I simply lived under the same roof and followed the same rules. I was eleven and she was nine when my parents announced that we were moving to Cambridge, England. In total shock, along with natural adolescent egocentrism, I was angry and reluctant to leave my hometown. Little did I know, that would be the first of many eye-opening experiences, the most important of which would be a new appreciation for sisterhood.

After living in England for three years, my family and I moved to a tiny, rural town in North Carolina, and after three years there, to the fast-growing area of Lakewood Ranch, Florida. With each move, stress transformed me into a different person. Everywhere I went I was forced to reexamine who I really was. Experiencing culture shock time and time again was bewildering, yet I began to see personal growth and I began to notice a new sense of loyalty to my family.

This new loyalty was especially powerful in the relationship I formed with my sister. We shared parents, friends, experiences, religious beliefs, athletic interests, and even a room. Our laughter and many “inside jokes” distracted us from painful feelings of nostalgia. And when bittersweet memories surfaced, we began to face them together. In these unfamiliar places, our trust in each other grew tremendously.

Even though I continued to do things that I regretted, my sister was always quietly there. She laughed with me when I thought I was “cool,” even though I was doing things both she and I knew were foolish. Too often I ignored her younger and wiser voice. Gradually, I began to see how deeply I needed her.

My father no longer has to remind me that my sister is my “best friend.” These days, we are attached at the hip. Many people comment on our inseparability. For the first time, I thank God for all the tears I’ve cried, and all the loneliness I’ve felt, because in the midst of these difficult times, I have found my sister. And she has taught me the importance of family. A sister is a forever friend. This, I believe.