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How I learnt to love my sisters
Here’s what to hope for as siblings grow up together.
‘Your sisters are the people you’ll know the longest’, says my mom. She’s right. They’ll know me the 30 odd years before marriage, the 35 years before the kids; and the 10 years after the husband moves to a different hunting-ground.

So the first time I laid my two-year-old eyes on Bianca, I registered this new entity as a threat both to my existence, as well as the attention of my young parents. She was my nemesis and had to be dealt with immediately. Result: my biting her new-born toes, thereby reinforcing my sibling hierarchy.

When Lara finally came along, I was apparently a lot more secure in my birth-right, although I still had difficulty remembering her name and constantly referred to her as the ‘new baby’. She was easy going and became the brunt of practical jokes; while childhood games saw her relegated to the position of student and patient- basically the ‘extra’ in Bianca and my imaginative careers.

But now for the good stuff…aged 26, 24 and 20 respectively; we’ve never had it better. I moved to Cape Town at the age of 18, my sisters later followed suit, which landed us all at UCT- our degrees overlapping for an entire year. With our parents still in Durban, we quickly became one-another’s immediate and extended family, close (ever closer companions), and running buddies. Although independent, we almost always know where each other is at any given time, and leave a key in our ‘secret hiding place’.

Once a month we take it in turns to choose a restaurant and then on a specified evening enjoy an exclusively sister’s dinner. Being Italian, we inevitably become the loudest in the room, somehow managing to speak all at once, while processing and responding to what the others’ saying. When tempo and alto finally result in choking laughter we realize that we’ve ‘out-noised’ the Middle Eastern music drumming in the background; and so quiet down to a civilized; less-continental whisper.

We know one another’s fears, sins and dreams, and share in both their pain and glory. Not always having had it easy; we’ve sat for hours and listened and on the lighter side made a ritual out of Sunday lunches; a proper roast and potatoes! The bond between us grows almost organically; a beautiful creation which at times is threatened but has to date weathered the pains of adolescence and the insecurities of childhood.

Siblings? My mother was right. They’re there for a reason, they can be more a part of you than you realize, or even dare to admit. Life-changing in their loyalty and love.

What do you hope for as your children grow up side by side?

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