The bond of sisterhood
That’s a quote from anthropologist Margaret Mead and perfectly describes my sister and me.
She’s four years younger, and what I remember most about our early years is being protective of her. Except for her messy side of the bedroom we shared, I adored her.
The relationship changed dramatically a few years after our parent’s divorce and subsequent nasty custody battle that resulted in my father gaining full custody of us (not common in the 1970s). My father sent me to live with my mother, something both my sister and I very much wanted all along. Even though living with Mom meant moving 12 times in six years – sometimes in a place with a bedroom, sometimes without – I was with mom, and my sister wasn’t. Her anger and resentment over it boiled until Dad finally gave her the boot, too.
The years of separation broke our sisterly bond and we grew to despise each other. She’d steal my clothes, egg my car, and even shaved one side of her head and dropped out of high school. We had nothing in common, and the distance between us only increased when I left for college.
But things started changing when I took my first television job in south Texas. I was making so little money, it was tough to pay bills and buy groceries. I opened the mail one day and found the loveliest letter from my sister, who worked as a receptionist, making more money than me.
She wrote how proud she was of me for graduating college and working hard to follow my dream. Along with the note, she sent money, promising to help whenever she could.
That one act of support meant the world to me, and we started growing closer. She married shortly after me and delivered her first and second child shortly after I gave birth to mine. Even her divorce followed soon after my own.
She brags about her big sis, asks for and gives advice when needed, and is willing to pounce on anyone she thinks has harmed me. She was in the room when I delivered my son and is there at the finish line each time I’ve run a marathon. She’s my second biggest cheerleader. And somewhere along the way, I’ve become hers.
She’s talented with interior design, fashion and makeup and hair. She’s a terrific mom, raising her girls single-handedly right now while her husband, an active-duty former marine, serves 18 months in Afghanistan as a contractor for a military defense company. She comes off like a firecracker, but is really a sparkler at heart.
This month, my little sister turns 40 and I couldn’t be more proud or grateful for the woman she’s become. I don’t know who said, “Chance made us sisters, hearts made us friends,” but I’m blessed to call her both.
Catherine Anaya anchors CBS 5 News weeknights at 5, 5:30, 6 and 10 p.m. She is the mother of two, a marathon runner and motivational speaker. Reach her at email@example.com, connect with her on Facebook or follow her on Twitter.