Open Thread: What Is the Greatest Lesson Your Sister or Brother Ever Taught You?

My older sister taught me how to be tough. What about yours?

Sep 23, 2013 at 12:30pm | Leave a comment

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That's my beautiful sister Amie on the left at 17. That's some random cruise ship director in the middle. And that's me, dorky as ever at 14. (I took a VHS tape of some girl who had a cameo on "Saved By the Bell" or "90210" or something into the hairdresser at Supercuts to get this exact haircut. SO WORTH IT.) UPDATE: The xoJane commenters deduced I was talking about Emily Valentine from "90210"! You guys are geniuses.

It was my sister's birthday this weekend, and I found myself looking through some of my favorite pictures with her.

Over the years, I was always the polar opposite of Amie, who was three years older than me and tough as nails. As a very little girl, she once looked straight at my father, who is an injured war vet, as he explained that he couldn't smell because of his injury, and my sister proceeded to shrug her shoulders and say: "Well...try."

When we were in the movie theater seeing "E.T." as little girls, I sat in between my father and Amie, and I was sobbing uncontrollably. Amie looked around the movie theater, noticed everyone else also in tears, and turned to my dad and me and said, "This is sad, huh?"

Tough. As. Nails.

I've never seen her cry. I've never seen her not be able to handle something. I've never seen her not be able to figure it out.

When I am feeling sorry for myself, I think often about her giving me a hard time years ago and how it motivated me and made me laugh. She had asked me to complete a piece about her I had begun but never finished, and I told her all the reasons I couldn't.

"You know, Mandy, sometimes I feel too tired to feed my children," she said. "But I do it anyway."

The over-the-top guilt was so ridiculous, I couldn't help but crack up. But you know what? I wrote that piece.

My sister kicked my butt, literally and figuratively. I can't imagine having faced the real world without seeing how she invariably told the world who was boss every time she faced it.

What did your sister or brother (or both) teach you?

Let's celebrate siblings, y'all. (And happy birthday to my sister!)