STAFF OPINION: There's no better friend than your sibling

By Netty Jurriaans | February 28, 2023 11:30am

Photo courtesy of Netty Jurriaans.

My sister Clara is four years younger than me. I watched her grow from a two year old playing with American girl dolls to a 14-year-old going to her first high school dance. She used to join me against my will on all my favorite outings. 

Now my favorite outings are anything I'm doing with her. 

Growing up, my sister was both my worst enemy and my best friend. She taught me the hardest, yet most valuable lessons. Through having a sibling, I learned how to share, I learned that not everything is about me and I learned independence. 

The importance of my relationship with my sister was only really made clear when I left for college. I left, but that doesn't mean she stopped growing. I'm now missing all those milestones that I once got to stand by her for. I took those moments for granted and now I only really watch her grow through Facetimes, text messages and Snapchat videos. 

We helped each other grow our entire lives. She showed me compassion while I showed her resilience. I taught her how to stand up for herself and she taught me how to see the good in everything. There's nothing safer than the feeling of being with your sibling. Home truly is wherever she is. 

Being an older sibling is a personality trait, and this may sound dramatic, but it's true. There is nothing like the feeling of disappointing your younger sibling, or setting a bad example for them. I learned what it meant to be a role model because I am an older sister. I learned responsibility and conflict resolution because I grew up with a younger sister.

A sibling is a lifelong friend. A friend that understands you in aspects that no one else does. Someone who has seen you at your worst and your best, and will keep rooting you on regardless of the circumstance.  A friend that is always there for you, no matter what. 

Having a sibling is truly life's greatest gift, and I cannot imagine my life without my sister. 

The best way to learn life's hardest lessons is by having a sibling. I've watched the only children around me struggle with things I learned when I was just 10 years old. Having a sibling is almost a test run on how to maintain relationships in the real world. 

You get to make mistakes and learn with someone you know has your back no matter what. This makes it so much easier to function after you move out, live with roommates and start forming relationships away from home. The lessons that you are taught are lessons that are much harder to get through in any other scenario in your life. 

Without my sister, so much joy would have been stripped from my childhood. There's nothing like the feeling of fighting and screaming at your sibling just to get over it and ask if they want to hangout with you five minutes later. Forgiveness and love are the two greatest things I learned from my sister. I don't know where else in life I would have mastered those skills. She taught me what it means to care about someone so deeply that you can’t ever stay mad at them.  

There's no one who pushes my buttons more than my sister, but there's also no one else I would rather see at the end of a bad day. I don't think this type of relationship is easily replicated outside of sibling relationships. There are some lessons that your parents can't ever teach you, at school or from your friends. Those lessons are taught to you by your siblings and these are the experiences that shape you into who you are. 

I've never met someone who isn't grateful for their siblings. My sister filled my life with entertainment, emotions, joy, love, anger, sadness, understanding, trust and strength. I wouldn't be who I am today if I wasn't an older sister, and I am so grateful that my parents gave me her. 

Having a sibling is truly an unbreakable bond, and I am so happy that I got to experience it. So if you have a sibling and you are reading this, send them a message, give them a call or go say “hi” to them. You miss them and they miss you.

Netty Jurriaans is a reporter for The Beacon. She can be reached at 

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