It never occurred to me that a “sister getaway” could be life changing but for me it was. Here’s the story…
When I was nine – roughly my son’s age now – my little (and only) sister was born. To say I was thrilled was an understatement. Being a big sister was nothing new to me, as we had two brothers between us, but I always thought it would be so much fun to have a little sister to play with and dress up and show off. And it was fun. In fact, she was everything I imagined. However, nine years is a big gap and we didn’t have the type of relationship most sisters closer in age have. It wasn’t as if we could share clothes or secrets or have any type of relating as far as interests go. But that changed recently.
March 1st we met in Houston, the day before a one-week sister getaway cruise with Princess Cruises. I had taken on a challenge to dispel the “everyone gains 10 pounds on a cruise” for my Shape column (stay tuned for that one) and who better than to take than my little sister who had recently climbed on board the get-fit train after having two little ones of her own. Both of us, now wives and mothers, finally had some things in common.
We boarded the ship full of anticipation and for the next seven days we spent time solving all of the world’s problems, working out in the gym, shopping, relaxing, exploring new destinations, taking silly photos and having the time of our lives.
Half-way through the cruise, I pulled a big sister moment. The “you’re my responsibility” kind of moment. But it was in that very moment that I realized that the little sister whom I used to treat much like I do my own daughter had grown up into a beautiful, confident, courageous and inspirational lady. For the first time I saw her as a grownup.
Then it occurred to me, now we can share everything sisters closer in age have always done…jokes, makeup and clothes. With this new insight I became giddy. I always had the sister I had always dreamed of but this sister had become something even more than I imagined. This sister was now my friend.
I knew our sister getaway was going to be fun and inspiring but I never imagined I would receive such a gift. I also admit that as someone who has always been considered the “bossy big sister” or “the baby sitter” this realization was a huge load off my shoulders. I could replace the feeling of responsibility of my four younger siblings with friendship. And I do mean all of them. All of my siblings have grown into fine and responsible adults. Our youngest “baby” brother is even married with a baby of his own.
In the end, I realized that I walked on the ship as one person and off another. My big sister title may never fully retire but the feeling of responsibility I had carried could.
I can’t thank Mary enough for accompanying me on this exciting adventure. She made our sister getaway fun and exciting and she didn’t complain once! I am so proud to call her my sister…and my friend.