My sister and I used to fight like crazy.
Heidi, the oldest, had the quiet, clever one-liners that led me to tears before I erupted in rage. Sure we had periods of deep devotion, but they only lasted until the next time one of us took offense (which was usually me). While less frequently, this ridiculous behavior lasted into our early 3os.
Thankfully, times have changed!
I took our daughters, Serina, 8, and Sophia, 6, to visit Heidi and her family in Maplewood, NJ over the long Labor Day weekend. It was a brief, but amazing visit.
As a kid, when Heidi and I weren’t fighting, I thought she was the best big sister ever. She let me hang out with her friends, tried to give me singing lessons, and when I was really young, let me crawl into bed with her when I was scared.
Today, I still think she’s the best big sister ever.
Heidi and I are similar in many ways: height, complexion, enthusiasm, zest for life, and love of family. Yet our lifestyles and careers are dramatically different. For one, she wound up in chic, fast-paced NYC and I landed in easygoing, high-tech Huntsville, AL.
Heidi is a director at FleishmanHillard PR, and commutes by train to the Big Apple every day. I’m a development specialist for the HudsonAlpha Institute for Biotechnology, and drive to work every day.
Heidi manages dynamic teams. I’m a member of a dynamic team managed by our department’s VP.
We both love our jobs.
These similarities and differences make us who we are, as neighbors, moms, daughters and sisters.
I realize that as we get older, there is less conflict and more love. All those fights we once had seem like figments of our imaginations.
During this visit, we continued to strengthen what has become a spectacular sisterhood, as we gleefully watched our children, “the cousins,” fortify their own bonds.
My daughters and Heidi’s children, Lena, 10, and Riordan, 7, have been together sporadically over the past several years. Between visits, their fondness for each other still grows — through phone calls, stories and plans for the next reunion.
This time around, the kids loved swimming together at the community pool, exploring Maplewood’s quaint downtown, watching Disney’s “Planes” in the old-time theater, and celebrating my sister’s birthday at the fabulous and “very fancy” Huntley Taverne.
But the highlight may have been playing with the Hovland-Pickett’s new goldendoodle puppy, Clementine Creamsickle Fluffypants Pickett.
It was special for Heidi and me, who are so close, to watch our own children grow closer. They played, laughed and absolutely adored each other, like friends separated by a few houses, not cousins distanced by 900 miles.
My husband, David, didn’t join me this time and Heidi’s husband, Jim, also did his own thing, both spouses recognizing our need to revel in our ever-evolving relationship.
For Heidi and me, the visit was shorter than we wanted, but exactly what we needed: face-to-face sisterhood, complete with hugs; parental, cooking and career advice; laughter; tears; amazing food; and strong coffee.
Back in Huntsville now, I miss my sister. Fortunately, those few days together will hold me over until the next time. After all, our sisterhood is also stronger than the miles between us.
Sisterhood, it seems, is stronger than almost anything.