I Don’t Have a Sister. But I Wish I Did.

Last night I went to a birthday party-meets-show where my boyfriend was playing bass in the guest of honor’s ensemble band.

Bonesaw generally plays lead guitar in his own band, and he writes (or collaborates on) much of the music they play.  I’ve seen him play other people’s music only a few times, and it’s always a bit uncomfortable.  He comes alive when he plays his own material, whereas when he steps in on covers he appears anxious and reserved.  Add to that the fact that he wasn’t playing his primary instrument, and last night was a perfect example of this distress.

But then his brother played drums for a song, and Bonesaw visibly relaxed.

Hoag and Bonesaw are as close to being twins as possible…without actually being twins.  They live and work together; they fight like crazy and the next day they’re over it; they create fantastic music together; the play sports together; tour together in a cramped van.  They’ve spent the majority of their lives connected in one way or another.  They’re different, and they disagree all the time, and they don’t always want to be around each other.  But the love between them is palpable.

So when Hoag sat down at the drum kit, the tension in Bonesaw’s shoulders and face disappeared.  He grinned and made eye contact with his brother.  He began to groove comfortably with the music, looking more like the on-stage Bonesaw that I’ve come to know.  It was touching and sweet, and I envied them a little bit.

It’s moments like that when I wish that I had a sister.

I have two incredible brothers who are loving and fun, and we’re as close as we are different.  I adore them.  But it’s no secret that it’s not the same as having a same-sex sibling.  I don’t have a girl to share and trade clothes with; no sister who grew up next to me and fawned over the same boys; no sister sibling to fight with and go out with and watch chick flicks.  When my family vacationed, I often brought a friend with me, because let’s be honest – my brothers and I didn’t always want to do the same things and play the same way.

Sometimes when Hoag and Bonesaw fight, I get nervous, like their relationship is this fragile thing that could shatter with one harsh word.  I’m still learning that it’s far more durable and secure than that.  I just don’t know, because I’ve never had that type of un-changing closeness.

But I’ve also been lucky, because I have a host of adopted sisters that I never could have anticipated.  As an athlete, I’ve played on countless sports teams, acquiring a substantial crew of close friends.  Sometimes they drive me crazy, and I’ve wondered many times whether I’d be friends with some of them had we not been placed on a roster together.   But more than once I’ve grown to love those same girls by my side on the bus, the plane, the hotel room, the field.  Because, much like families, we’re stuck with each other.  We bond over shared struggle and mutual goals.  It isn’t easy, but it’s powerful.

I’ve lived with these girls.  Cooked with them, cried with them, argued with them.  I’ve sat in airports all over the country, sore and sweaty, my head resting in a teammate’s lap.  We’ve chowed on carbs, iced broken ankles, driven each other to the hospital for ACL reconstruction.  It’s a particular relationship, being teammates, and it isn’t always symbiotiSisters at Regionalsc.

But if I can’t have a sister, I’ll happily and gratefully take a teammate.