There is nothing quite like a sibling relationship.You’ve known them since birth, and they’re probably the ones with whom you share some of the most ordinary but memorable moments of growing up – rubber ducky bubble baths, first day of school photos, movies and board games, tag in the front yard, family vacations. As you hit adolescence, perhaps your sibling is the one you confide in or sneak out with, the one you gang up with against your parents, the one who teaches you about older things you’re just discovering, like make up and fashion and boys, or sports and hunting and girls. Through it all, your siblings are always, always, the ones you can argue with. If you live to old age, siblings are the people who you end up knowing the longest in your whole life.
I’m making generalizations here; I know that not all brothers or sisters are close. But there is something to be said about the bond that forms from sharing the same blood and growing up under the same circumstances. Then one day the older one goes to college and this person you knew so well, who was part of your life for nearly two decades, is no longer around. You each find your own way into young adulthood, and even if you still love each other and keep in touch, the relationship inevitably changes.
Georgia and I are very close, and I have written before how much I admire and value her sisterhood. A month and a half ago, though, Georgia and I began sharing a flat in New Zealand after not living under the same roof for five years. I found myself returning to daily interactions with someone I seem to know so intimately, yet who has also become a complete stranger. People tend to change a lot between the ages of 16 and 21, after all.
Who are you now? What do you care about? Are you still wildly popular and flirtatious? Extroverted and sassy?
Affirmative to the latter – extroverted and sassy as ever
How do you see me? Do you still look up to me? Am I being too bossy? Would I say what I just said to you to another flatmate?
There has definitely been some ish to work through. On previous college breaks, Georgia and I have recognized a tendency to revert back to the teenage versions of ourselves, or treat the other person like she was at 16 and 18. More than anyone else, we can bring out the worst in each other. What is it about being sisters that makes us think we have license to be so blunt, even hurtful, toward one another?
Almost everyday I say something Georgia finds annoying, be it my mom tone, or my pestering to clean up the kitchen, or even the way I address my apologies when I do mess up. I often have to remember that neither of us are the same people we were in 2011, and we are in a process of rediscovering each other. Georgia has softened and become more thoughtful; I have loosened up (I hope) and am less judgmental. She is madly in love, I am a little jaded. We are both more caring and conscientious, and we each have continued to deepen and value our faith.
Moving to a new place, even if it is somewhere as amazing as New Zealand, is hard. Really settling in takes time, and I am not there yet. There are incredible adventures, breathtaking scenic views, and inspiring days in the classroom. But there are also plenty of off days, moments when I miss family and friends at home, when I wonder where I will find community and purpose, when all I want is to have some familiarity and comfort and I just feel a little lost. It’s those times when I am particularly grateful that Georgia is physically here. I don’t have to yearn for someone who knows me well; she is ten feet away.
A few weeks ago when I was having a hard day, she was in the living room with our other flatmates. I texted her.
Can you discreetly make your way to my room in the next 10 min? I’m sad.
She came in, curled up next to me on my bed, and let me cry. She can’t fix those days, but I’m awfully glad she is there to hold me when they come.
We’ve had a lot of lighthearted shenanigans, too. I don’t even remember what was so funny as we washed and dried the dishes last night, but tea towels were flying and we couldn’t hold it together. There have been goofy pj dance parties, deep discussions over dinner, and the everyday happenings of living together.
Pretty soon Georgia and l will be spending two nonstop weeks together on the North and South Islands, and there is a high potential that we will hit a point where we drive each other crazy, as only sisters can do.
So before that happens, I wanted to take a moment to write what a special time being together has been so far. You’re one of my best friends, my metaphorical and literal soul sister. I have treasured getting to know the grown-up Georgia, and I’m so glad we are experiencing New Zealand together. I love you, sister.