sister rivalry

sdo – sisters’ day out

by jani on November 14, 2012

GNO or GDO have become common acronyms for those fun night or day outings with our BFFs – mainly just a great excuse to get together with our girlfriends. Well here’s my newest acronym and I hope I can use it more frequently because it is just a special day… SDO or “Sisters’ Day Out”!

We often hear the term sibling rivalry. Yep, I had this with my big sister, but only in the typical, “Jani, you ruined my favorite sweater!” kind of way! My sister is five years older and has always been perfect in every way. She always followed the rules… I always broke them. If someone mistook me for my sister, it was immediately followed with, “Oh wait…  you’re the younger one…  the one with the personality! That’s right, your sister’s the pretty one!” So, you see the rivalry really never came from her, personally. It’s how those who were on the periphery viewed us, that set me up with years of feeling inadequate.

Dee Dee (my nickname for my big sis) went to Castilleja (prep) School… so of course I had to follow in her footsteps. She went to Stephens College in Missouri… so I went to Stephen’s College. She was a dancer… so I felt that I needed to be a dancer. Her field of expertise was ballet; mine was contemporary jazz. She got her degree in secondary education and became a beloved teacher for thirty years –  raising two lovely children. I received my degree in elementary education from University of Denver and began my family and career as an at-home mom of seven. Why did I always feel like I somehow needed to compete…  to become as accomplished as my sis? So many wasted years of struggling to be just like my sister… which was a total impossibility, to begin with. The only time I could even remotely share clothes with her was when I was 15 and she was 20! She’s always been a perfect size 2 to 4 – I’ve always fluctuated between a size 12 to 16. Whenever I could wear a size 10 it was time to celebrate! And at one or two times in my life, I actually fit in an 8… imagine that?!

So, I’ve finally had this epiphany this past weekend… all those years spent feeling I couldn’t possibly fit in my sister’s shoes (both figuratively and literally) was self imposed! We are as different as two people could ever be and yet, there is a love and respect between us that will last forever!  That difference is what makes each of us to be the best “us” we can be! I see the refection in my sister’s eyes differently now. I see her smiling with a love and admiration that can only come when you feel genuine love and respect. She truly wants and hopes for my happiness and I for hers.

Every year for as long as we can remember, she chose to spend her birthday with our mom. Now that Mom lives near me in an assisted living home in Utah, my sister flies the many miles from her Bay Area home to spend this special weekend with my mom and me. This year was no exception. But during the latest visits Dee Dee has made, we have found time for just the two of us. It has become our SNO or SDO. We treasure this time. We catch up one each other’s lives, our children’s lives – and of course sharing photos of the newest grandchild. We reminisce on many of the  moments from our youth, and always… always find ourselves laughing that hearty laugh that can only come from the deepest core!

If you are ever struggling with a sister rivalry, get over it. One or both of you let go of those feelings that can tend to poison relationships. It’s just not worth the pettiness! And you may never enjoy my favorite new acronym for a best time spent… the SDO.

Here are a few shots we took at a favorite gift shop – the Emporium at Thanksgiving Point. We could spend hours there… and we did!

So no, we’re no longer those two little girls working on trying to be the best in our parent’s eyes. We know we’re the best in each other’s!

If you have a sister or are fortunate enough to have more than one… take that special plunge. Find time for just the two of you and make it count. After all, isn’t this what families are all about? “Together Forever”!