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The One Thing I Cant Give My Daughter

A set of pony-tailed twins breezed past me at the elementary school. They linked arms at the elbow, skipping in tandem in the direction of home. Before long their matching, oversized backpacks faded into the chaos of the afternoon, but for a moment my thoughts wandered off with them.

All my life, I've seen sisters everywhere. Its a habit I developed as a child without one of my own. I felt like the card with no match in the Memory game, the one that remained face-up in the discard pile.

I formed my sister fantasy early in life. I saw them at the homes of friends: the older sisters whose secrets we're too good to keep, the younger ones who didn't keep our own.

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As an adolescent it was my friends sisters who explained that, yes, it's possible to swim and be on your period simultaneously, and that no, bad hair isn't a life sentence.

In high school there we're the college-aged sisters who offered lessons in making fake IDs and loaned us their old dresses to wear to the homecoming dance. In my young adulthood my friends sisters we're ready-made roommates when they moved to the city, and later would become ready-made bridesmaids in each others weddings.

To me, sisters represented lifelong friends, a blood tie that can't be broken by distance or illness or time. I longed for one.

When my daughter was born nearly four years ago, I knew she was our last child. With two older brothers, I also knew that, like me, she'd never know what it means to have a sister.

And while I cannot give my daughter a sister, I'm careful about not passing my fantasy on to her.

Ive learned that in life, we all create parallel lives.

The sister I never had.

That job I didn't get.

The one that got away.

There is no guarantee that our fantasies, if true, would have turned out the way we'd dreamed. Still, though, we use them as excuses for not being or achieving or contributing somehow.

I never had a sister, but I did have friends. Coworkers. Neighbors. Confidants. I never had a sister, but I didn't grow up lacking anything.

I can't know if my daughter will feel like she's missing out. And I'll be honest: sometimes when I see my boys playing together I feel a twinge of sadness for her. At the same time, though, our family feels complete. I don't long for a sister for her the way I once longed for my own.

I still see sisters pairs of pony-tailed girls or women out to lunch but only when I take the time to look for them. I no longer feel the need to search.

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Posted in Care and counselling Post Date 03/22/2017


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