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Sisters and Brothers

  • My sister and I may have been crafted of the same genetic clay, baked in the same uterine kiln, but we were disparate species, doomed never to love each other except blindly.

  • Blessings on that brother of mine!

    • Dorothy Wordsworth,
    • 1802, in William Knight, ed., Journals of Dorothy Wordsworth, vol. 1 ()
  • If you don't understand how a woman could both love her sister dearly and want to wring her neck at the same time, then you were probably an only child.

  • Changing schools and friends is hard on children and can often make them desperate and lonely enough to form closer ties with a sibling.

  • More than Santa Claus, your sister knows when you've been bad and good.

  • Your sister is the only creature on earth who shares your heritage, history, environment, DNA, bone structure, and contempt for stupid Aunt Gertie.

  • My sister taught me everything I really need to know, and she was only in sixth grade at the time.

  • ... every one of us possesses a gene predisposing us toward rivalry, competition, and fits of envy with any past, present, or future siblings.

  • Some sisters are better at pretending to share than others, but for the majority, if any sibling had her way, she would get everything and her sister would be allowed bread and water and maybe one of the Raggedy Ann dolls with the button eyes. If sisters were free to express how they really feel, parents would hear this: 'Give me all the attention and all the toys and send Rebecca to live with Grandma.'

  • There can be no situation in life in which the conversation of my dear sister will not administer some comfort to me.

  • We were like ill-assorted animals tied to a common tethering post.

  • [Response to sister Nancy's 'Sisters are a shield against life's cruel adversity':] But sisters are life's cruel adversity!

    • Jessica Mitford,
    • in Mary S. Lovell, The Sisters: The Saga of the Mitford Family ()
  • Sister, dear sister, come home and help me die.

  • What strange creatures brothers are! You would not write to each other but upon the most urgent necessity in the world; and when obliged to take up the pen to say that such a horse is ill, or such a relation dead, it is done in the fewest possible words. You have but one style among you. ... 'Dear Mary, I am just arrived. Bath seems full, and every thing as usual. Yours sincerely.' That is the true manly style; that is a complete brother's letter.

  • ... even the conjugal tie is beneath the fraternal. Children of the same family, the same blood, with the same first associations and habits, have some means of enjoyment in their power, which no subsequent connections can supply ...

  • Fraternal love, sometimes almost every thing, is at others worse than nothing.

  • You know full as well as I do the value of sisters' affections to each other; there is nothing like it in this world.

    • Charlotte Brontë,
    • in Clement King Shorter, ed., The Brontës: Life and Letters, vol. 1 ()
  • Sisters are always drying their hair, / Locked into rooms, alone.

  • My sister four years older simply existed for me because I had to sleep in the same room with her. Besides, it is natural not to care about a sister, certainly not when she is four years older and grinds her teeth at night.

  • Is solace anywhere / more comforting / than in the arms / of sisters?

    • Alice Walker,
    • "Telling," Her Blue Body Everything We Know ()
  • A sister is both your mirror — and your opposite.

  • What surprised me was that within a family, the voices of sisters as they're talking are virtually always the same.

  • The desire to be and have a sister is a primitive and profound one that may have everything or nothing to do with the family a woman is born to. It is a desire to know and be known by someone who shares blood and body, history and dreams, common ground and the unknown adventures of the future, darkest secrets and the glassiest beads of truth.

  • We are each other's reference point at our turning points.

  • ... sisters define their rivalry in terms of competition for the gold cup of parental love. It is never perceived as a cup which runneth over, rather a finite vessel from which the more one sister drinks, the less is left for the others.

  • For both within the family and without, our sisters hold up our mirrors: our images of who we are and of who we can dare to become.

  • Comparison is a death knell to sibling harmony.

  • Of two sisters / one is always the watcher, / one the dancer.

  • I believe the bond between sisters constitutes one of the deepest connections in a woman's life.

    • Toni McNaron,
    • "Little Women and 'Cinderella': Sisters and Competition," in Valerie Miner and Helen E. Longino, eds., Competition ()
  • ... a sister offers one the closest image of oneself that life is apt to give.

    • Toni McNaron,
    • "Little Women and 'Cinderella': Sisters and Competition," in Valerie Miner and Helen E. Longino, eds., Competition ()
  • I don't understand how people learn to live in the world if they haven't had siblings. Everything I learned about negotiation, territoriality, coexistence, dislike, inbred differences and love despite knowledge I learned from my four younger siblings ...

  • Between sisters, often, the child's cry never dies down. 'Never leave me,' it says; 'do not abandon me.'

  • For there is no friend like a sister / In calm or stormy weather; / To cheer one on the tedious way, / To fetch one if one goes astray, / To lift one if one totters down, / To strengthen whilst one stands.

  • ... the experience of having brothers and sisters, born of the same parents, sleeping under the same roof, eating at the same table, is an inescapable, delightful and repelling, desired and abhorred part of each child's life.

  • Sisters, while they are growing up, tend to be very rivalrous and as young mothers they are given to continual rivalrous comparisons of their several children. But once the children grow older, sisters draw closer together and often, in old age, they become each other's chosen and most happy companions. In addition to their shared memories of childhood and of their relationship to each other's children, they share memories of the same home, the same homemaking style, and the same small prejudices about housekeeping that carry the echoes of their mother's voice ...

  • Sisters is probably the most competitive relationship within the family, but once the sisters are grown, it becomes the strongest relationship. On the whole, sisters would rather live with each other than anyone else in their old age.

    • Margaret Mead,
    • in Elizabeth Fishel, Sisters: Love and Rivalry Inside the Family and Beyond ()
  • I think the important thing about sisters is that they share the same minute, familiar life-style, the same little sets of rules. Therefore they can keep house with each other late in life, because they share the same bunch of housewifely prejudices. The important thing about women today is, as they get older, they still keep house. It's one reason they don't die, but men die when they retire. Women just polish the teacups.

    • Margaret Mead,
    • in Elizabeth Fishel, Sisters: Love and Rivalry Inside the Family and Beyond ()
  • Friendship between sisters is one of the most satisfying that life can afford. Our sister understands us thoroughly; she does not expect more than we can give.

    • Lily H. Montagu,
    • 1916, in Ellen M. Umansky, ed., Lily Montagu: Sermons, Addresses, Letters and Prayers ()
  • I love my brothers and sisters and when I tell you I love, I really love. All of us, we'd really do anything for each other. That's what I call a strong, strong bond. You don't let nobody come in between that.

  • My brothers, the dragon slayers, capable and strong.

  • ... Hallie and I ... were all there was. The image in the mirror that proves you are still here. We had exactly one sister apiece. We grew up knowing the simple arithmetic of scarcity: A sister is more precious than an eye.

  • By now we know and anticipate one another so easily, so deeply, we unthinkingly finish each other's sentences, and often speak in code. No one else knows what I mean so exquisitely, painfully well; no one else knows so exactly what to say to fix me.

    • Joan Frank,
    • "Womb Mates," Desperate Women Need to Talk to You ()
  • To lose a sister, to see her no more, live with her no more, my poor friend, oh! I can well believe you are desolate.

    • Eugénie de Guérin,
    • letter (1837), in Guillaume S. Trébutien, ed., Letters of Eugénie de Guérin ()
  • If you don't annoy your big sister for no good reason from time to time, she thinks you don't love her anymore ...

  • Sisterly love is one of the few boons in this life.

    • Jane Bowles,
    • "A Quarreling Pair," The Collected Works of Jane Bowles ()
  • A sibling is the lens through which you see your childhood.

  • Our siblings can be allies against parents whenever we, as children, wage our silent, secret, but unavoidable wars against them.

  • ... siblings play a unique and continuing, although changing, role in our lives.

  • Sibling relationships in general are among the earliest and the most lasting relationships in our lives, but they are also among the least understood and the most underestimated.

  • Just as love is a decision, so is sisterhood. It is the result of many acts of love, large and small, performed for one another. Girls are brought together by circumstances, but it is love, laughter, forgiveness, shared joys and sorrows that make sisters.

    • Nancy Baker,
    • in Colleen Sell, ed., A Cup of Comfort for Sisters ()
  • Near or far, there are burdens and terrors in sisterhood, and perhaps the nearer, the more complicated.

  • ... elder sisters never can do younger ones justice!

  • I have a very hyper-sensitive sister, and when she saw in the papers the next day that I had proclaimed myself the daughter of an immigrant, she didn't like it at all, and was with difficulty deterred from writing to the press that my father might be an immigrant, but not hers.

  • Of course I believe in hell. I have three brothers.

  • Sisters are a shield against life's cruel adversity.

    • Nancy Mitford,
    • in Mary S. Lovell, The Sisters: The Saga of the Mitford Family ()
  • Siblings. They can be the best of friends, and they can be the worst. No other peer can have as deep and thorough an understanding of our personal histories as can our siblings. If we've emerged from a strong, bonded family, the friendship of our brothers and sisters can be among the most valued relationships of our lifetimes.

  • They were an odd couple, those two sisters. ... They were like two trees with buried roots so tangled that they inevitably leaned on each other, and also strangled each other a bit.

  • A baby sister is nicer than a goat. You'll get used to her.

    • Lynne Alpern,
    • in Lynne Alpern and Esther Blumenfeld, Oh, Lord, I Sound Just Like Mama ()
  • Jealousy is the weed that seems to shoot up in the garden where sisters grow.

  • [My brother had] become a less reliable ally over the summer, when he'd begun to see himself less as a camper than a couselor, less the oldest child than the youngest parent.

  • To have a loving relationship with a sister is not simply to have a buddy or a confidante — it is to have a soul mate for life.

  • It's hard to get together now. / But when we do / we're glad we did. / Somehow we fall into / an old familiar mode / a reassuring rhythm / that restores us / and reminds us / that some things / remain the same.

    • Elaine Mazlish,
    • in Adele Faber and Elaine Mazlish, Between Brothers & Sisters: A Celebration of Life's Most Enduring Relationship ()
  • So fast. / It's all going by / so fast. / It used to be that our summers never ended / and our birthdays never came / and everything we dreamed of doing or being / was scheduled for / the / far / and / distant / future. / Now our summers go by / in a moment. / And our birthdays come 'round in a flash. / And the future is hard upon us / and all the things / we wondered about / and worried about / and looked forward to / and feared / are suddenly here.

    • Elaine Mazlish,
    • in Adele Faber and Elaine Mazlish, Between Brothers & Sisters: A Celebration of Life's Most Enduring Relationship ()
  • No one cares / who is better / who is worse / who has more / who has less. / Content in our connectedness / we are brothers and sisters / after all.

    • Adele Faber,
    • in Adele Faber and Elaine Mazlish, Between Brothers & Sisters: A Celebration of Life's Most Enduring Relationship ()
  • Comforters for our todays / Guardians of memories / Keeping our youth and yesterdays alive / Comrades with one history.

    • Adele Faber,
    • in Adele Faber and Elaine Mazlish, Between Brothers & Sisters: A Celebration of Life's Most Enduring Relationship ()
  • Deep inside you know / when trouble comes / and there's no one else to turn to / you can call on each other / and count on each other ... / because each other / is all you have.

    • Adele Faber,
    • in Adele Faber and Elaine Mazlish, Between Brothers & Sisters: A Celebration of Life's Most Enduring Relationship ()
  • We were a club, a society, a civilization all our own.