Growing up, Billy and I often wished for more siblings, but in an abstract sort of way. I liked my brother and often wished that he was the first born so he could plow the way for me. Besides, I had friends who had sisters and things were often contentious at best between them. It really wasn’t until I was much older that I pined for a sister. I watched Mama Syd and Aunt Cristie and the friendship they shared and longed for that. Sometimes I needed a built in friend – that wasn’t a boy – to share the cares of the day with or bounce ideas off of. When I was in college and living with girls I realized, surrounded by girls who only had sisters, what I had missed out on.

Therefore, this territory I am treading with my girls is completely new to me. I feel ill prepared for the voyage and wonder at times if these are the same thoughts Columbus or Lewis and Clark or Captain Kirk had.

“Is this normal?”

“I’ve never seen THAT before!”

“Now what?!?!”

It seems we have entered into the Season of the Sisters around here, and to be frank, it is overwhelming. Each emotion, each DAY is felt with such passion and intensity that we are left drained and bewildered. The girls can fight and bicker and be at each other’s throats for every waking hour and then, when it comes time for bed, we will find them tangled in an embrace.

“I love you sis-toh. Really, really bad.” Ellie says as she chokes Tess with a hug and her sister responds with a croon, eyes closed in bliss.

Then we wake to screaming and hair pulling and biting.

Yes, BITING. Ellie howled while Tess looked vindicated and sheepish all at once. Ellie insisted her sister had bit her back but it wasn’t until after breakfast and a bath that I saw the wound at the bottom of the left rib cage – a perfect mold of Tess’s dental record, oblong and red.

I was, and remain, astounded. How and why do they respond to each other like this? What is it about the other that makes them so fierce? While they fight amongst each other, if one of the boys joins in, they turn against HIM.

“Leave my sister alone!” they will cry with all the ferocity that seconds before was aimed at the said sister

The ones in the house who do not know this dance or understand it’s steps, try to stay out of the way. We are learning that we cannot, and more importantly SHOULD not, enter into this union. We are left as observers from the deck, praying we make safe harbor in the midst of this tempest.

And the sisters? I only hope that this thing between them that I cannot understand or be immersed in will ultimately be for their good. For them and for us all.