Webster’s Dictionary defines love as, “a quality or feeling of strong or constant affection for and dedication to another”. The first thing I think of when I read this is the love I feel for my parents. Then I instantly start chuckling at how love is portrayed in movies and how it is often the opposite of this; it is some fleeting, hot romance that either ends in happily-ever-after or heartbreak.
But I can’t help also noting that today is the birthday of someone I love very deeply: my sister. Sibling love can be very complicated because you grow up together, living through different phases of life together, shaping each other. When we are very young, we often love our siblings as our friends, playing with them, fighting with them, but often entertaining each other, learning from each other.
Then we get to those teenage years and we don’t really like each other at all. This is just a side-effect of moody, undeveloped brains and a shift in importance to our friends instead of our families. As we move into adulthood, we realize that we often don’t understand each other or even agree with each other, but that sibling is always there when you need her.
My sister and I lead drastically different lives. Sometimes we struggle to connect and our conversations go to the safe topics of how the animals are doing and daily activities. But when there is a crisis, she is always there. She is the first to call if someone is sick or sad. She will remember that I had a bad week last week and will call just to see if this week is better. She will be empathetic no matter what. She tolerates my ever-changing world and accepts it as part of her own, even when it affects her.
This is love. We don’t have to agree. We don’t have to like each other’s decisions or even respect all of those decisions. We don’t even have to understand each other. We can support each other every day with that “constant affection” that defines love. For me, my sister is one of those people. Who is it for you?
Happy Birthday, sis!