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The Love-Hate Relationship Between Sisters

My daughters are three and one-half years apart. My sister and I are three years apart. When I found out I was having a girl the second time around (and with two ultrasounds to prove the sex of my baby) I was elated! And when my OB told me the good news she also chuckled and said, “You do know that sisters compete?!”

Wait just a second I thought to myself. I have a sister. I do not remember competing with her — ever!


But now my sister — who is older than me — was never super nice to me when we were kids. We definitely weren’t best-buds. I remember always wanting to wear her clothes and jewelry but she would never let me. I remember leaning on her for guidance but she never came to me for any. I looked up to my big sister in many ways.

She remembers breaking my arm at the age of 8 (on purpose, I’ve come to find out much later in life) and scratching the side of my face hard enough to leave a scar that I can see till this day. She always hated her name and questioned why my mom gave me the “pretty name.” She often struggled with her weight, I was always average size. I suppose there was a time when she was jealous of me. And now as adults, I am envious of her.

We both remember playing barbies together. But we also both remember fighting with each other.

I look at my two little girls — who are in many ways so different. It’s hard to tell at this point just what their relationship will be like down the road, but let me tell you what their relationship is like now. Catty.

I don’t know how else to describe it. My little one loves to tease my oldest. She’ll steal her stuffed animal, her slippers, her book, whatever she can grasp at the moment when she gets the urge just to get a rise out of her sister.

IT. IS. MADDENING! Because my oldest doesn’t take her behavior lightly. And of course, I am always there to rally the crazy. I remind my oldest to just ignore her baby sister. BUT SHE CAN’T. And my little one doesn’t know how to stop. I blame the age. I mean, we are dealing with a threenager.

Most days I can feel the wrinkles in my face deepen from the referee role I must always play. It is tiring. My husband is a little better at breaking them up but that’s just because he is louder than me. And he works outside of the home more than I do, so I am the one dealing with their daily battles. And by daily, that is no exaggeration. They fight on the daily.

I would say on average my girls get along 25% of the time. The other 75% they are either ignoring one another, on their tablets, pulling each other’s hair out or literally scratching at one another — think the Mean Girls cafeteria scene. And OMG, they are just young children still. What will happen when they reach the teen years?

When they do get along and play —like build a fort or color — my heart is so happy. But, this little, tiny peace they give me is not enough. I simply want them to like each other just a bit more often. As they grow, I want them to lean on each other when they are too scared or embarrassed to come to me. And some days, I do see this as a possibility. Or maybe it’s just wishful thinking on my part.

My oldest, she can be so good with her little sis. She will sometimes show her how toys work or they will do a fashion show and my oldest will help pick out clothes for her sister. I love those moments. I cherish them. I crave more of them.

Kids grow to stinkin’ fast. And when the times are serene it makes it all seem right in my world.

And I know there is some love there between them. There are many times when my oldest is at school and her sister will say how she misses her. My little one looks up to her big sis’ friends, too — just like I did when I was younger.

I think the dynamic between being the older versus the younger is that of a leadership role. One which my 7-year-old takes on effortlessly. My 3-year-old is the comedian in our family, she definitely likes to make people laugh — sometimes she is the only one laughing.

The downside to that is, her sister doesn’t always think her actions are funny.

My girls make it challenging to raise them. They do. I talk to many moms and can’t help but vent. And surprisingly, it seems the consensus is the same… that most siblings fight. It doesn’t matter if it’s between sisters and brothers or a combination.

I also remind myself that all relationships have some hate where there is love. My husband gets on my nerves A LOT. And I get on his nerves A LOT. But we are best friends and our love is one-hundred times stronger than our hate.

My sister and I love each other more than we hate these days, probably because we don’t live together anymore.

And so, I remind myself just as long as there is more love than hate, all will be OK.


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