It's true, I am.
In my family, it was just me and my sister. We grew up in an area where there seemed to be many large families and I was always a little jealous of the seemingly endless relationships between various siblings in a family. With us it was...well, it was just us. We were great friends though, when we were young. Only 17 months apart, our mom raised us almost like twins it seems. We were often dressed alike when we were very small and our toys tended to come in twos. We shared a best friend in our neighbor across the street for many years...and our second best friends were two sister up the street who were just our ages. From the time I was a toddler until our teen years, my sister was truly my best friend.
We had a bit of a rough patch during our teens. Well, let's face it, those are rough years. Suddenly, every difference between us was pretty harshly emphasized. I was the good (boring?) sister. I loved school, had nice, devoted friends, participated in various wholesome activities, dated a bit...quite chastely, really. She was the bad (intriguing?) sister. She started ditching as soon as she entered high school, she hung around with the lowlifes in the neighborhood, drank and drugged, and was much more experienced with the boys much sooner than I. We didn't really fight or anything...it was more like we were living on two completely separate planets. It was during this phase that our parents divorced. Our home life was a bit sketchy. I think my mom, who is wonderful, was overwhelmed and sort of let us just go. I responded by making the most of time out of the house doing my activities and being with friends....and my sister did whatever she pleased.
The years went by. We both grew up in our own ways. I met WTG and started a family. During those years my sister and I still were not terribly close, as I was pretty caught up in my life as a young wife and mother. She had calmed down a lot, but was still living a very different life than me. I think what changed everything for us again was when she married and had her only child. I already had three when he came along and my sister seemed drawn to my supposed experience with kids. It felt like we were on the same page again. We even had some of the same friends again, other women with young children. And over the years as our kids have grown up, we've remained close. Our husbands drank together. I divorced mine...hers took the hard way out on a motorcycle and a gravely, slippery road. We were there for each other and our lives went on. And so it goes.
Sometimes I look at my sister and I can imagine that she is a stranger to me. Someone unknown. Other times, I look at her and see the little girl looking at me to see what we were going to do next. I do think there is probably a different sort of intensity between siblings who are close in age and have only one another. I also think some things about that dynamic helped me to decide to have a larger family with all these premutations of attention and affection. Maybe it was part of what led her to have an only. Parents are presumably our biggest influence, but isn't there just something about the people we actually grow up with? It is like our siblings are us, but not.