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The gift of a sister

Fat Mum Slim /

sisters collage‘Take a photo of us’, she begged, and then gently placed her hand around her head and smiled. And then promptly tried to smother her with kisses. Luella was less enthused.

A heavily pregnant woman loses her partner, and is overcome with heartbreak and pain. The life she thought she knew was ahead of her was now a jungle of unknowns. She was terrified that she couldn’t possibly love her baby. She was so broken that maybe she wouldn’t. Her sister, promises her that she will love the baby but if not, she’ll be there, “I’ll cover you. If you’re too sad to start with, I’ll love the baby … I’ll love the baby ’til you’re ready to.”

If you watch Offspring, you’ll know that scene. I watched it and having two sisters, I just knew that feeling. We’re there, always. We’d step up when one person has to step out.

I don’t know not having a sister. I was born with one, and years later I got another. Growing up with sisters is my normal. When we were younger, we’d fight… about stupid things. My Big Sis and I would fight over who could play with my little sister, or that I always wanted to be in her room with her. Later, it was because I constantly found {read: searched for} her diary and read it. We always made up.

One day when I was a little girl, my mum asked my sister and I if we wanted to go with her to the grocery store. Immediately we began fighting over who got the front seat, and my mum settled it by making us both sit in the back. After a few minutes we started bickering again.”Hey, you’re on my side!” and “You touched me!”

Looking back at that childish fighting, I realise something beautiful has happened to us. We have grown close and that closeness has lasted a lifetime.

We’re older now and childhood battles are over. We don’t ‘tell’ on each other anymore. Yet comments we made when we were kids still ring true today.

You ARE on my side! You HAVE touched me.

– A note I wrote to my sister a decade ago. I can’t remember where I got it from.

On the rare occasion we do still fight, we always make up. We grow. We learn. We let it all out. It’s different from fighting with a girlfriend. It’s easier to make-up, almost because we have to and we can’t possibly imagine living without each other.

Two months ago my Lil Sis called to tell me some news. She’d just had her baby six weeks earlier and I knew that I wasn’t going to hear, “I’m pregnant!” down the phoneline. Instead I heard, “We’re moving up!”

It was out of the blue and something I’d hoped but never dreamed would actually happen. Sometimes the Universe works it’s magic though. I’d always wanted our girls {only 6 weeks apart} to grow up together. To do the normal stuff as they grew; dinners, baths, playdates, school. The normal stuff.

I didn’t really consider the other stuff though, that I’d get to parent alongside my little sister. I’ve watched her grow as a first-time parent, and I’ve learnt so much from her about how I parent myself. We’ve spent lengthy breast-feeding sessions together watching trashy TV, passing the time by talking and laughing. She was there in the very early days when I cried that I couldn’t feed my baby. She was the one who urged me on, comforted me and assured me I was doing a good job.

And because things don’t happen in halves, 2013 has been the year of pregnancies and babies and all round good news {my brother and sister-in-law built a house, my Ma moved up here to be with us January} my Big Sis got engaged and is getting married next year. And guess who is going to be Maid of Honour? Me. I get to be there as my sister marries the love of her life.

Having sisters is normal to me. All this good stuff is wonderful and normal. It’s what we do.

I didn’t realise what a gift it was though until Luella came into the world, making Lacey a big sister. Watching them grow together, the way that Luella looks at Lacey likes she’s the best thing to happen EVER. The way Lacey looks at Luella, like a protective Big Sis who’ll protect her forever. Just like my Big Sis did for me. Just like I do for my own Lil Sis.


I realised that while it all feels so very normal to have sisters, it’s really a gift. I’m grateful for having them in my life {and my brother too, of course}. And I hope that Lacey and Luella realise how wonderful it is to grow with a sister by their side. Even on the days when Luella steals her diary, or they fight about who gets to sit in the front seat.

Do you have a sister?

  • Emma @ notsuchayummymummy

    My sister is 4 years younger than me and we’re very close. Of course we had that same bickering you had but by the time we were in our teens/early 20’s we were best friends. I was devastated when she moved to Australia (we’re from England) especially as I’d just had my first son (Sam) & wanted his auntie to be in his life. I hadn’t banked on technology though – we Skype, FaceTime, text & call most days. Sam loves his Auntie Helen to bits & now he loves his cousin Riley just as much. When they met last Christmas for the first time (aged 4 & 2) there were huge cuddles, tears and exclamations of ‘love you Riley Roo’ much to our delight. I found out I was pregnant with our second son when they were still here and telling her face to face was wonderful. She hasn’t met Finn in person yet but he giggles at her on FaceTime and she adores him.

    I love that I’ve had same sex siblings. Although there will obviously be a different dynamic with them being boys I hope they will be as close as my sister & I were when we grew up.

    Out of curiously, was anyone rude enough to comment that you didn’t have a boy? I’ve had a lot of comments about how I must have wanted a girl this time & what a shame I’ve had another boy. I couldn’t believe it! I have the most beautiful sons I could hope for and couldn’t wish for anything better. I wondered if it was the same if you have 2 girls?

  • I too have an older sister (who is also a blogger) – we had our moments polar opposites, and while we are definitely not peas in a pod she is the person I call and she calls me when we need to offload or bounce ideas.

    Now I have two girls – and it is a gift for each of them.

  • Sophie

    I have two sisters, one is 5 years my junior and is my full-sister, the other is 13 years my senior and is my half-sister. I am closest to my older half-sister even though we live on opposite sides of the country; I live with my younger sister but we rarely get along. Age can be a factor in some relationship makeups, but in my case, I believe it is personalities, values, beliefs and opinions… and how you present those! *insert clash of the titans here* haha… but, you’ve got to love family! Your girls are just divine; I remember being smitten with my younger sister at that age too… cherish these moments!

  • Emma Steendam

    I have two older sisters, one ten years older, one three years older. It’s my normal too. That Offspring moment my two sisters watched together in Melbourne and I watched by myself over here and then Skyped them afterwards. I would love their babies if they couldn’t, and my older sister who has three girls has always said she would carry our babies if we couldn’t for whatever reason. Is that weird? We don’t think so. You just WOULD. But my husband’s sister doesn’t have a sister, and recently my mother-in-law APOLOGISED to her “I’m sorry you don’t have a sister, they’re such a gift”. And my sister-in-law shrugged and said “but I don’t know what I’m missing out on”. That’s true, but gosh IMAGINE not having sisters. The mind boggles…

  • Sistersx2

    My sister and I are all we have. Our parents have both passed on. She means the world to me. Recently my daughter and I moved into a house 2 doors up from her house so we enjoy almost daily chats and cups of coffee – what a gift!
    Our closeness came and went over the years because there’s 6 1/2 years between us which meant for very different stages through the years, but now as adults, there is no age difference.
    I’m the mother of two girls also. I used to hear myself saying “Be nice to each other, you’re all you’ve got.” As adults now, they understand.
    There’s nothing quite like a sister

  • Taryn Elise

    I have one sister and she is honestly my best friend. She is seven years older than me so we were never very close as kids for obvious reasons but I feel like as we get older we have more and more in common! She is always there for me no matter what, gives the best advice and knows all the right things to say. She is my favourite person!

  • davine

    As a kid growing up as an only child I always had an imaginary brother “David”. But I am lucky enough to have my cousin Susan who is six weeks older than me there to be my big sister. We are extremely close – she is my other half. 12 months ago she contracted encephalitis and it has affected her brain slightly, but enough for me to now have to have stepped up an be the big sister. From the outside looking in I think a sibling is a beautiful gift.

  • I have a little sister. She is my best friend and I am always on her side even when she is wrong. She lives the other side of the world and I just hope that by the time she has kids too, we are near each other again. I want our kids to grow up together and for cousins to be best friends as well as siblings.

    Having your mum and your sis near you sounds wonderful and so glad you are all loving being together.

    • Oh SJ, you would be such a great sister to have.

      Do you think she’d come to OZ, or would you go back?

      • She comes every Christmas and this year I’m going to really lay it on thick and dazzle her with the wonder of Oz and keep my fingers crossed. She is obsessed with Bill Granger and just pinged her to let her know he’s opening up on Hall Street. Maybe it will be the little things that get her over the line… 😉

  • Becci Stalker

    This post has brought tears to my eyes as you made me realise what a gift I’m giving Miss M. Her sister is due in Feb 2014 and I’m an only child. All I wanted when I was younger was a sister and I’m so happy I can give that precious gift to both my girls. So thank you xx

  • Jo

    I have 2 younger sisters, 1 is 4 years younger (sadly passed away at a young age) and the other 11 years younger. I love them both dearly. My sister and I have an incredibly close relationship despite the age gap and both of us living in different countries but we talk every couple of days and send snail mail to each other. I think unless you have a sister you cannot really understand the relationship between sisters.

  • Erin Drummond

    I have two older brothers. When I was younger I BEGGED my mum to have another baby. “I’ll look after it, it can sleep in my room!”. Alas, it never happened. I love my brothers but I sometimes feel like I have missed out on that sisterly bond I know so many people have. A beautiful post Chantelle x

  • Lucy @ Bake Play Smile

    What a beautiful post! I don’t have any sisters but I do have a fantastic sister-in-law. I would love to have a couple of girls who could grow up playing together. Your story is just so sweet! xx

  • Penny

    This was very hard for me to read….I nearly didn’t. My sister died last year, 8 weeks pregnant with her first child. Loving and losing my sister has been the hardest thing. I treasure every memory….even all the fights…and there were many!
    I’m glad I was brave enough to read your post. You captured the relationship of sisters perfectly.

    • Penny, I am so sorry to hear that and I pray that each day gets easier for you. Again, I’m really sorry.

    • Cass

      Hi Penny, I lost my sister too and I almost didn’t read this as well, I miss her every single day and agree that this is a special post I will treasure it

    • I am so so sorry. I just can’t even imagine. xxx

  • I am an only child and I like it that way, but I have cousins and friends that know me so well and have been there for me throughout my life. I have been told it isn’t the same as a sister but I know the love I feel for these special women. It is real, whole, pure, and lasting.

  • Lisa Mckenzie

    Yes I do but I am the big sis ,we used to fight as young kids she actually was a quite cruel and horrid little sister,for a while who wanted to borrow all my things ,but she is 3 years younger and I remember when all that changed when I had my Son and she turned into this beautiful friend that was always there for me and when I had my baby girl she helped me out,she then had a baby boy a few years later and I helped her out.I love my sister with every part of me ,she is my best friend and we spoil each other on our Birthdays and buy things we know the other will love.I am sorry we don’t get that much time to spend together she works long hours but when we do it doesn’t matter,and we are only a phone call or a Text away.I am so very lucky to have my sister as a friend she is a beautiful person inside and out.Your girls are very lucky to have each other.
    I watch Offspring and when Billie said that to Nina I cried only a sister could do that.Thankyou for this post Chantelle it is beautiful xx

  • DanniiBeauty

    I have always wanted to have a sister (but don’t) and really missed having one when I became an adult. To be able to share things and have things in common is a beautiful thing.

    A great post!

  • MotherDownUnder

    Oh gosh this makes me miss my sister!
    I am here in Brisbane and she is back in NYC and while we talk all the time…it is just not the same.
    I want to do just what you described…veg on the couch and watch trashy tv and chastise her for taking up too much room!
    Sisters are the best!

  • OhmyNisha

    This is so true, sisters do have an inextricable bond. My little sister (5 years younger) and I used to fight all the time in quite mean exchanges but as she got older the gap closed and we became very close. She is a very different person to me with unique strengths that I am only nowadays appreciating. And it’s amazing to watch her as a doting aunt to my 5 month son. I have friends who are only children and I believe the learning you get from each other (siblings) is different to what patents can teach. And my hubby often also tells me we’re one of the few siblings he knows that get along so well. I never thought siblings could not get along – guess some of us are very lucky. Just like Luella & Lacey. X

  • Ash

    i’m jealous!!!
    i always dreamed of stealing my sister clothes and gossiping about boys way into the early hours of the morning while our parents slept…i dreamed of a friendship that will always exist, even after a fight. i dreamed of my sister on my wedding day, standing by my side and helping me plan the whole day perfectly. i dreamed of her in the birthing suit when i had my babies…encouraging me and making future plans of things our children will get up to…..
    i have 4 brothers…and whilst i love them dearly and have so many fond memories to think back on, they have grown and gone onto to their own lives…you never really see them unless their is a family event.
    whilst i had my own room and my own stuff, it still would of been nice to have someone to lean on in my adult years.
    now i have my own daughter, whom will never have a sister…i guess never knowing, it’ll always be an i wonder what it would have been like moment.

  • I have a sister and she’s my best friend. We’re quite different and growing up we fought a lot but now I don’t know how we’d live without each other. I think our relationship definitely became closer and stronger when we became mothers. What a wonderful gift you’ve given your girls- a best friend for life!