She tells me when I mess up — but in a helpful way.
When my sister was a baby, she would rest her head on my 10-year-old shoulders while patting my back. She intuitively knew when I was upset, and comforted me before she could even say words.
As she began to talk, she made everyone laugh. When she was four, our dad said he wanted to be Austin Powers, and she quickly inquired, "Why, because you want to shag?"
Throughout her elementary years, I was impressed with how wise she was beyond her years. Although I often played a motherly role, she always felt like a friend I could be open with despite our age difference.
I always loved her ability to beat our brothers down and curse like a sailor while looking like a sweet pea. She has always been fierce in all her abilities and could beat me in races, even when my legs were twice as long as hers. She currently sits in her pre-med classes looking like a ten, while earning consistent As like a nerd.
I admire her not only for who she is, but how she makes me feel.
When I'm with her my heart rate slows and my belly fills up with a ball of happiness. She's more than my best friend, and more than a sibling — she's a part of my soul who makes me feel completely loved and understood.
1. We balance each other out.
When I'm being a little bitch, she tells me to toughen up. When she's being overly tough, I tell her to soften.
2. We intuit each other's needs.
When she's hungry and doesn't know what she wants, I know she needs a Philly chicken cheesesteak.
3. There's no self-consciousness.
I don't have a need for privacy around her, which is a good thing because she wouldn't respect it anyway. Regardless of the position of the bathroom door, she will walk in, check me out, and tell me I need to shave while we both carry on with our business.
4. We're constantly laughing.
We think all the same things are funny for exactly the same reasons. We also have the same laugh so we start chuckling at one thing, but end up laughing at our laughter itself. We take the same airy inhale followed by a sigh, and then laugh all over again. (This annoys our brothers and eventually hurts our bellies.)
5. She keeps it real.
During my latest visit, she told me I do my blush all wrong and asked me why I put it right under my eyeballs. She also told me I need to shape and fill-in my eyebrows. When I showed her my attempt it went like this:
She was like, "You cute, but do better with that arch." It reminded me of the times she said, "You can use my car, but keep it clean" and "You're a good mom, but you can't let your son pee in cups."
6. We want to be like each other.
Sure, I steal Mary's clothes and catchy phrases, but the day after I left New Jersey, she dyed her hair brown. (She obviously wants to be me.)
7. She tells me when I mess up, but in a helpful way.
I lost two credit cards within two days. I tried to blame it on my deceased grandpa playing tricks on me, but she said, "Nah, you've been f*cking up. Here's a wallet. Get it together."
8. She's the ultimate selfie partner.
Solo selfies are a little narcissistic, but there's no shame in a sister one (or three).
9. We know every phase and stage each other have gone through.
My siblings won't let me live down the time I gauged my ears in high school and wore jewelry that looked like animal bones through my lobes. She wasn't yet born when I wore huge glasses on my tiny face, paired with a white girl fro, but she found the pics.
Mary has somehow never gone through such tragic phases but I remember the poetry she wrote in 4th grade, and the years she spent marking her name on the Cool Whip. I remember how she used to sing her heart out to Mary J. Blige, and how perfectly she imitated SpongeBob by moving her hips in a huge circle saying, "Bring it arounddddddddd town."
10. We make up fast.
Mary and I usually don't fight, but we had one argument during my last visit. The day before I was supposed to go back to Florida, she was being a grump and went out to do things while I stayed home, bored.
I called her and said some things she didn't like (and I don't remember). She told me I crossed the line and hung up on me. The truth is she was sad because I was leaving but her tough shell prevented her from opening up, and I was annoyed because I wanted her to be her bubbly, cuddly self.
I immediately felt bad and sent her a real time picture of me ugly-crying:
11. There's no such thing as TMI.
Mary used to take pictures of her sh*ts and send them to our brothers. She's spared me the visuals but provides plenty of info:
She FaceTimes me while Mom is tinkling on the potty:
12. We talk about things that have no relevance to anything.
Like how amazing it is to wear a robe:
13. We never have to sing or dance solo.
We belt out all the R&B jams as soulfully as possible, and have a fully choreographed routine to Black Eyed Peas' "Meet Me Half Way." When we do sing by ourselves and we send each other videos, so we're never truly alone.
14. Her flaws and quirks don't bother me.
She soaks the floor when she gets out of the shower and doesn't really know how to shut doors quietly, but I get it because I missed the same lessons.
15. We cuddle hard.
My friendship goals are to be comfortable enough to snuggle. With my sister I don't question if she's into my touchy ways; I just grab her hand, rest my head in her neck nook, and tell her to turn Gilmore Girls on.
16. We share the same memories and feelings about things.
We both think of our dad when we hear a song by the Beatles and are filled with the same strange mixture of nostalgia, love, and sadness.
17. She never misunderstands me.
When my children won't stop fussing or go to sleep and I feel like a prisoner who needs to bust out of some chains, I can escape to her room and let my body convulse in front of her. I can say all the out of control things I feel in that moment but really don't mean.
I can even pretend like I'm going to put my head through the wall, and she never thinks I'm crazy or cruel. She tells me she doesn't know how I do what I do and gives me the freedom to rage and the love to regroup.
18. We love each other's not-so-hot characteristics.
Yesterday I called Mary bitching hard over my upcoming 30th birthday and my desire for something magical (like a weekend without kids). I acted overly entitled and bratty, which she responded to with utter enjoyment. Likewise, she has the inability to pretend to like someone she doesn't. While she thinks this is something to work on, I admire it.
19. I never take her for granted.
I always see something spectacular in her. Her face never becomes commonplace, but looks like divine beauty. Her boob are pretty impressive too, and because she's my sister I know it's OK to shake them a little and tell her how good they look.
20. Nothing gets in the way of our relationship.
I've moved often enough to know that even the best of friendships don't always stand the tests of time and distance. A thousand miles have separated Mary and me for over a decade, but we are sisters, and that is forever.
You know that feeling of being in love, and completed by someone else? Well, that's exactly how my sister makes me feel.
This article was originally published at stay-at-home panda. Reprinted with permission from the author.