Did I mention that I had four sisters? I have four sisters. And a brother-- not to forget him! But it is sisters of whom I speak today. Here are the things I love about them:
1. We sound alike, which means that we sound really quite lovely when we sing together.
2. We make each other smarter. We each have different, yet overlapping interests, and we all love telling each other the coolest things about our respective fields. Because of me, my sisters can recognize a greeting in Arabic (Ahalan wiSahalan!) and because of them I know: the name for the body of a penguin (fusiform), what Simone de Bauvoir's undergraduate majors were (mathematics and philosophy), why you can find a typewriter in the Refrigeration subclass of the Patent Office (because subclasses used to be divided according to what each examiner covered), and why October 31 is more than a worn-out, warped, pagan-then-Christian holiday to the Girl Scouts (it is the birthday of Julia Ward Howe, who was the founder of the Girl Scouts).
3. We are loyal to each other. If I complain to one sister about another, she takes that as a cue to help me realize that the other sister is under stress, or that I misunderstood her, or that I need a good night's sleep and will feel better about it in the morning. Gossip is not an option; even when I forget, my sisters do not.
4. We make each other know that we are not alone. Or let each other know, perhaps, but I think it may be stronger than letting. We remind each other of famous/successful people who were also forgetful, jobless, under-respected, close to giving up, and/or very, very poor, at least at some point in their lives. We help each other laugh, and announce how we have moved the furniture around, and change topics of conversation at a speed which, to outsiders, can be dizzying. We rejoice to each other about the younger generation-- the neeflings, as they are known on this blog-- both in announcing their accomplishments and laughing over the hilarious, child-like things they do.
5. We teach each other how to be friends. All of the things which I have listed here are true of my four "real" sisters; but from number 2 on, they have also often been true of the excellent friends I have picked up along the way. I'm not sure how prepared I would have been to actually form good friendships like that if I hadn't had sisters to train me first in the arts of friendship.