Growing up my mom would often tell my sister and I to "watch out for each other".
When the two of us were on our own, without her parent supervision, she would enforce this rule for us to stick together. As children going to a sleepover at my cousin’s house these were the words she would say as we opened the car doors, it continued into our preteen and teen years when she would drop us off at the mall to hang out with friends or go to a party.
I’m sure if you psychoanalyzed the situation it had a lot to do with her own upbringing, my mom and her sister often had to count on each other during their not so grand childhood. Or maybe it was because we grew up in a rough neighborhood, full of boys who sadly saw the back of a police car several times before their eighteenth birthday.
My mother has a collection of stockpile phrases that she continues to use to this day, typical phrases that leave her lips include “she’s the only sister you’ll ever have”, “blood is thicker than water”, “sisters need to stick together”. Often we would roll our eyes and say “yeah mom, whatever.”
There were many years when my sister and I didn’t want to stick together. We spent most of our teen years mumbling, “I hate you” or slamming doors in each other’s face.
And then we became adults.
We grew up. We formed opinions. We lived our lives and we made choices that the other didn’t agree with. But over the years there has never been a time when we weren’t talking. We have never been estranged, we haven't always been best friends but we aren't enemies either. We are sisters. And though I hate to admit it I believed my mom when she said, “sisters need to stick together.”
Now as a mother I find myself saying the same thing to my sons, "watch out for each other". I want to believe that when they are out in the world they will look out for one another whether on a playground or later in life in political decisions. It's nice to know that someone always has your back, no mater what.
There were times in my life when I stopped talking to my parents and yet I continued to talk to my sister, I knew I could always count on her. I believe that at any moment I could call my sister on the phone and she’d answer, it wouldn’t matter if we hadn’t spoken in months, weeks or years. She’d answer and she’d listen. Because I guess deep down she believed my mom as well when she would say, “sisters need to stick together.”