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The Bond Between Sisters This work is considered exceptional by our editorial staff.

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“If you don’t understand how a woman could both love her sister dearly and want to wring her neck at the same time, then you were probably an only child,” Mom Loves Me Best author Linda sunshine says- and she’s right. The bond between sisters is a unique (and sometimes unwanted) one that is so strong no amount of stolen shoes, “borrowed” shirts, spilled secrets, or full-blown disagreements can even threaten its sturdiness. Because of this bond, a sister - I’ve come to learn - is someone you will be able to count on always.

Standing an inch taller than me (and two years and five days younger) my own sister, Kaylie, and I have had our fair share of fun and adventures as well as trouble and fights. Our disagreements typically stem from the most minute and insignificant of issues, one of which happened to be a pink hairbrush.

We had just finished loading the car with our luggage for a weekend vacation to Universal Studios (my father’s friends had given us tickets to see the Blue Man Group for free) when panic struck. “Where is my brush? My pink Conair hairbrush is gone and I need to pack it!” my sister yelled from her room. Her face was flushed, eyes wide and concentrated, as she sprinted into the living room, lifted up every couch cushion, and tore through the piles of books and magazines on the counter in search of her ever-so-important hairbrush.

“I’m not sure,” I responded, annoyed with her rushing and thrashing about.

“Are you sure?” she questioned.

“YES,” I replied, loudly.

“Because I’m pretty sure I saw you using it last.”

“No, I was NOT using your hairbrush,” I retorted sharply.

“You always take my stuff!” she whiningly accused.

“No I don’t and I didn’t take your brush either!” I yelled.
Our immature debate continued back-and-forth in this manner for a few minutes before it escalated a little further. We were inches apart and I pushed her away. She stumbled back a few feet, regained her balance, and kicked me. Just then, my dad honked the horn of the car- letting us know we had to go. We were both in minimal pain, but hid it, so as not to get in trouble for fighting, as we left the house, sans pink Conair brush.
For the next few hours, things appeared to have settled down. I had agreed to let her borrow my brush and the fight was nearly forgotten- or so we thought. It was approximately 8 p.m. and Universal Studio’s Citiwalk was alive with vibrant neon lights decorating it and massive crowds of people maneuvering through it. My family and our family friends hadn’t walked more than a half mile when I glanced over at my sister and noticed a look of discomfort on her face. A few seconds later, she announced, “My toe hurts- really bad,” only loud enough for my mother and me to hear.
“Don’t worry, it will be fine,” my mother assured without giving her claims a second thought. My sister was persistent though, insisting that the pain in her toes was extremely bad when she walked, and that a few might even be broken. My parents, on the other hand, were not convinced, saying each time they were sure the “injury” wasn’t anything to worry about- until we got back to the hotel room.
At around 11 p.m., we returned to the hotel room and my sister hastily ripped off her worn black Converse shoe to reveal four of the toes on her right foot were purple and very swollen. When our parents asked how this could have happened, we were forced to disclose the details of our childish argument, and although they were irritated at first, they eventually agreed to take her to the doctor the following day where we discovered that her toes, after all, were broken, and that to ensure proper growth and structure, she would need to wear a medical boot on her foot and use crutches for a few weeks. A right-footed soccer player, my sister was initially very upset about the incident, but after a while, we both realized that it was our own juvenile, sister-like fighting that had cost her temporary right-foot immobility and a small fortune in medical bills. Nonetheless, time - as it always does – healed my sister’s physical injury, as well as our argument about the pink hairbrush (at least until the next time).

Sisters, however, are not only good for picking fights with. They are also known to – on occasion – do some very extraordinary and heartfelt things for one another. Take my grandma Janice and her sister Patty for example.
Eight years, six months, and eight days separate my grandma and her sister, but you would never be able to tell that by merely looking at them. Both in their 60s, the women share many physical qualities - the same fair skin, curly, maple-colored hair, small round noses – as well as childhood memories.
My grandma is the oldest of the four children in the Thacker family, while Patty is the second youngest. Mr. Thacker was a painter, whose pay was seasonal. Unfortunately, for the family- which was already living with limited resources- this meant that a significant shortage of money usually occurred in the winter time near Christmas.
On the morning of December 6, 1959, while my grandma was sewing a new skirt, Patty was brushing the hair of one of her favorite dolls, and their two brothers were playing with toy soldiers, their mother walked into the room and decided to break the news. She was tall and thin, her dark hair pulled up in her signature bun, a strangely apologetic expression on her face. “Kids, I know Christmas is coming up soon,” she began hesitantly. “But, I am afraid we will not be able to afford to do anything this year. I’m sorry, but your father hasn’t been able to get many painting jobs recently, and we just won’t be able to pay for it.” Before she could hear the dismayed protests of the children, she exited the room.
Fifteen years old at the time, my grandma Janice wasn’t worried about Christmas being ruined for her, but rather, she was concerned about her younger siblings not being able to experience the joys of Christmas. She was especially worried about Patty, who had been writing letters to Santa Clause, asking for the beige pedal pushers and turquoise blouse she had spent countless afternoons longingly gazing through the window of the town’s general store (even at seven, she was intrigued with fashion).
Not wasting any time, Janice decided that if her parents were unable to fund a Christmas, then she would find a way to do it. Combining her sewing talent and resourcefulness, she decided that she would make clothespin bags shaped like dresses out of the scraps leftover from her mother’s seamstress projects and try to sell them to her neighbors for a dollar a piece. And for the next two weeks, that’s what she did. Red checkered tops, solid blue skirts. Black and green plaid tops, bright yellow skirts. Lavender tops, striped pink skirts. Janice used whatever fabric remnants she could acquire to create her fashionable clothespin holders. Carefully, she cut the scraps, stitched them into the outline of an old-fashioned dress, and adorned them with pearly cream buttons, lace, and beads. Each one required two and half hours of her time, and by the end of the two-week window, she had crafted fifteen. The hard work paid off- she and her brother were able to sell every single one, bringing in fifteen dollars, which was more than enough to make sure that Santa Clause visited that Thacker home after all.
Boxes wrapped in newspaper and decorated with hand-colored Christmas designs waited patiently under the live pine Christmas tree (which had been purchased the day before when the trees went on sale at the local market for a dollar) as screams of joy and shouts of “It’s Christmas!” began to fill the air, originating from the end of the hallway. The youngest ones came first- barreling into the living room with huge grins stretched across their faces. They were followed by the older children- bemusedly grinning at the antics of the little ones, and after them the parents. Animatedly, the children grabbed the boxes addressed to them and didn’t waste any time opening them, newspaper falling the ground in ripped, wrinkled tufts. Their eyes gleamed as they looked over their new possessions (secretly picked out by Janice). One last present remained hidden behind a few branches on the tree. It was addressed to Patty, but unlike the rest, it was not labeled “From Santa”, but rather, “From Janice”. Patty reached for the box and carefully removed the newspaper. A smooth white cardboard box the size of a large dictionary sat in front of her. She lifted up the top of the box and peeked inside, catching a glimpse of those soft, tan pedal pushers and that silky turquoise blouse.

A sister, I’ve come to learn, is someone you will fight with, get in silly arguments with, have adventures with, go to great lengths to make happy, have fun with, be frequently annoyed with, be competitive with, and so much more. But above all, a sister is someone you can bring out the best in, who brings out the best in you; someone who can always count on you, who you can always count on. Amy Li says it best: “Having a sister is like having a best friend you can’t get rid of. You know whatever you do, they’ll still be there.”




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