Pondering oil and water and why they sometimes mix

A blog I visit regularly is The Sister Project — a collection of blogs, really, devoted to the complex bond that is sisterhood, whether by birth or by choice (sister-friends). I was immediately drawn to it because my own sisterly relationships have done more to shape me as a person than anything else in my life. It’s interesting to read the stories and see how the relationships differ from family to family and friend to friend.

Sometimes, the relationship between sisters isn’t so good — my sister and I were recently talking about this, and wondering why that was. It’s not that we (my three sisters and I) have an idyllic relationship — we’re all very different and have our moments of disconnectedness. But the underlying ties are always there. Maybe stretched at times, but never broken. Always more in touch than out. Oil and water that mixes…usually.

Not so the two sisters in question. Only 3 years apart in age, they just don’t seem to have that closeness, and we don’t understand why.

Are they holding on to perceptions of childhood wrongs, even into their late 20’s and 30’s? Well you got to do this, and I always had to do that. You were the smart one. Well you were the pretty one.

Are they just really different people with different outlooks on life that keep them from “clicking”? (But so are my sisters and I, in some ways. It hasn’t stopped us from being close.)

Are they just not impressed by the fact that the other is the only sister they’ll ever have? The only one who’s been there, done that through their shared childhood? The only one for whom “remember the time Mom…” and “remember when Dad…” will bring that spark of recognition?

Do they just not like each other very much?

I can’t explain it. Or understand it. But I think about it, and hope that someday the elusive bond will be forged. Because if you’re lucky enough to have a sister, you should be lucky enough to like her…a lot.

A sister can be seen as someone who is both ourselves
and very much not ourselves — a special kind of double.
~ Toni Morrison


  1. pawsinsd said,

    Monday, November 23, 2009 at 11:14 pm

    Thanks for checking in with my blog. The sister relationship is very complex, especially as my mother died a year ago and my two younger sisters cared for her.

    I have always been on the outside, looking in. Not my choice. I have women friends, but no real sister.

  2. Facie said,

    Tuesday, November 24, 2009 at 1:25 pm

    I have two brothers. We are all sarcastic, opinionated, and talkative, nothing like our sweet mom! We (particularly my little brother and I) argue at times mostly b/c lil bro is very self-centered and tells it like it is pretty much always. I, on the other hand, tend to keep the peace.

    My husband does not understand how I can stand lil bro at times, b/c sometimes he is belittling and almost mean and has been know to overstep his bounds. But we have a sibling bond, I love him very much and I would not trade him for anything. I feel bad when siblings don’t get along, but if I were not a “turn-the-cheek” kind of person, I might be in that same boat…

  3. WritingbyEar said,

    Tuesday, November 24, 2009 at 6:13 pm

    Interesting point, Facie, that sometimes opposites can mix & mingle if at least one is the forgiving type. Dee, also sounds tough when two in a trio are close and the other is odd man out.

  4. Tuesday, March 26, 2013 at 12:29 am

    Reblogged this on lovelyseasonscomeandgo and commented:
    After reading this post it reminded me of my troubled sister relationships that are plagued with a painful sibling rivalry, cat fights and jealousy. As you stated here: “It is my hope as well that someday the elusive bond will be forged. Because if your lucky enough to have a sister, you should be lucky enough to like her…a lot.” I agree with you on this. So it’s my thought that this would be nice if they were to come to this realization. All of my sisters are older then me and it’s sad and true that being older doesn’t bring wisdom all the time. Thanks for such a lovely post.

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