Separation brought out the best in relationships with sisters


If I’ve said it once, I’ve said it a million times: the middle child is the most underrated person in a family. On this stance I won’t waver. Middle children have to juggle the superiority complex of their older sibling(s) with the unruly, stubborn mindsets of their younger siblings. In simpler terms, being a middle child is incredibly thankless and exhausting. So to my sisters, you’re welcome. 

Jessica ’21 poses with her sisters Charli ’23 and Melanie ’19.

Sisterhood is, and probably always will be, something only sisters (biological or chosen) will understand. There are just some things about myself that I would never tell my closest friends, but my sisters joke about every day. I’ve learned that to really cement a relationship, you have to be willing to put your full trust in someone and never look back. Sure, there’s going to be some pain, but that’s how you know there’s real love. 

My older sister Melanie and younger sister Charli really are my best friends. Even though the three of us are separated by four years, I relate to them better than anyone else I know. Literally. They know my ins and outs. I can always count on them to be there for me when I do well on a test or swim a best time. But most importantly, when I’m left out of last-minute sleepovers and party plans, they build me up and make me feel included. Call me sentimental, but there isn’t anything I wouldn’t give for those simple times when we were together, carefree. But nothing is forever.   

Two summers ago, Melanie was preparing to leave home for college. I’ve always known being a sibling would be a full-time job, but it got significantly harder when I was the only one to look after Charli. I felt like I had to pick up a lot of the slack around the house. Maybe giving rides and doing the dishes wasn’t so bad, but feeling entirely responsible for my little sister definitely was. 

Suddenly, I wanted to do everything with Melanie. I was finally appreciative of all the morning Scooter’s trips and Nicholas Sparks movies she would stay up until midnight to watch with me. Every morning that summer after I got home from swim practice, I was in her room, probably earlier than she would’ve liked, ready to ask her to go shopping all over town. At the time, I didn’t realize how annoying I was. 

That is, until I started my senior year of high school. Especially in this last semester, I am now faced with the scary, at times wholly overwhelming, fact that in five short months I will be leaving home. For good. And the questions I have for my parents and my older sister just haven’t stopped, from how to fix a dent in a fender to what qualities I should look for in a roommate. 

I really underestimated how much longer I would have at home. I’ll have to get used to eating food court chicken 

nuggets on a Saturday night instead of my dad’s marinated, melt-in-your-mouth steaks. I’ll have to forget the ease of hopping in my Honda Pilot on a whim for a midnight drive and instead learn how to navigate on-campus transportation options. Probably the biggest change of all, I’ll have to grow up really fast and truly be independent. This homebody has to break out of her shell. 

I now feel the sudden urge to tell Charli everything I felt Melanie didn’t get the chance to tell me. I want her to know that I’ll always be there for her, even if that means a weekly FaceTime just to catch up. I’m still going to be a part of our family, I’ll just have to experiment with how I stay connected when the physical aspect just isn’t possible.

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