A story of sisterhood.

Growing up as a triplet is a unique experience in so many ways. It’s truly so hard to explain to those that are only children or have older or younger siblings, especially because being a triplet is all I have ever known (especially since we don’t have any other siblings).

I think the biggest thing about being a triplet is the role it plays in our lives, from childhood to adulthood in terms of stepping back and ‘who’s on first’ (for lack of a better term).

This may sound pretty obvious, but as triplets, there is an inherent urge to ‘compete’ and ‘be on first’ since there is naturally much less of an ability for that, growing up exactly the same age, doing exactly the same things at exactly the same time.

But there are just times when you need to step back. Take the backseat and let one (or both) of your sisters shine. Be ‘on first.’  And ultimately, to be the proud sister supporting, quietly, strong. There.

~~

There are two distinct examples of this in recent years. The first one is when my sister Jen had my niece Isabel two years ago. As the first to bring a child into this world, naturally, the focus was on her, and my niece. But as there were some major complications with my niece’s birth and several months of health issues to follow for my sister, life became all hands on deck, supporting her, helping get her back to health and help take care of our beautiful niece. It was honestly a very scary time, my fear that my sister was…well, very ill, was one of the scariest feelings. And I just wanted to take it all away for her and carry some of that physical burden. And then…she recovered. She grew stronger. We banded together and supported.

And from that point forward, seeing my sister flourish as a mother, getting through an extremely difficult and traumatic health experience and stepping into the role of mother has been one of the proudest times for me as a sister. As she experienced something neither Jess or I ever have, and had, for the first time, experienced something completely different than either Jess or I had. She is a shining example of what I hope to ever achieve as a mother one day, the devotion, love, and strength she carries for my niece is incredible.

And while this experience, to this day, signaled the first time we were going through a life experience differently, separately…not the same (as our lives had paralleled in so many ways all the way through life)…the one common factor in all of this?

Support.

Stepping back.

Allowing her to ‘be on first’ and supporting her throughout as much as we possibly could. And from that experience onward? I don’t think our bond as sisters could be much stronger than it is now. Even though we are now living our lives differently, in so many ways. We still share the common bond, the sisterhood, the support, and the love that is indescribable.

~~

The second example of this is this weekend. My sister Jess’s first marathon. While I won’t detail anything about the race itself, since she will do that herself and do it plenty more justice than I ever could, watching it all unfold was simply one of the proudest moments for me as a sister. The outpouring of support. Twitter, Facebook, emails, texts, phone calls. Support, support, support. 

Preparing to run sherpa their race, I knew this weekend was going to be incredible. A blur. And, honestly? Work. I knew it would take a lot of support, planning and running around to help make this happen for her. To help keep her calm (even with a near-Healthy Bites disaster!!). To make sure she felt ready. To carry her big ass bag of post-race needs as M and I hoofed it miles and miles and more miles to the start, mile 8, mile 15 and mile 26.2 to run sherpa our asses off (and freeze them off too!!). And to allow her to ‘be on first.’ 

Not once did I feel like I wish I was out there running with her (okay, maybe once, when I realized I could have planned to hop in for a few miles to run alongside her! Hindsight.). Not once did I feel sad that we weren’t sharing this together. (because we were, truthfully!) I just felt pride, joy and happiness. Tweeting out updates left and right. Fielding texts and emails for updates and requests for pictures all morning long….gave me joy. I loved seeing her ‘on first’ and getting all of the support and love that she deserves.

And when she crossed that finish line, I think I may have rivaled how proud they both felt. As tears rolled down my cheeks and I shakily tweeted “Ahhhh there they go! Hand in hand!!!! #teamsutera #finish #runsherpa”, I was happy. Simply happy beyond words. And I still am.

~~

I share this story because it has been a time of reflection for me lately. Thinking about my tendencies as a sister and the shift I have really worked hard at in terms of the comparison trap, the competing for ‘being on first’ that has inherently been a part of our lives our entire lives. I no longer get the urge to want to do what my sisters do simply because they are doing them and I want to do it together. I just find ways to share in their separate joys with them, my way.

For Jen, it was stepping into backup mom role with midnight feedings when she was ill, and taking her to doctor’s appointments (as tough as those appointments could be sometimes, I, to this day, look at them fondly as sister days, where Jen and I grew closer than ever. I am pretty sure she is thinking of the very same appointment I am, as she reads this!). And it is working on being the best aunt I can be, spending time with my niece, learning from her, teaching her. <–I am still really working on this, and finding more time to spend together. It is my vow, sis!

For Jess, it has been finding my role in supporting her training for a marathon. When she first decided she wanted to do a marathon, my first thought was ‘I wish I wanted to run a marathon’ and as much as I tried to want it…I just didn’t. And that was okay. It was a turning point for me in realizing I don’t have to do what either of my sisters does. And writing this down and admitting that I used to feel that way, while hard, feels triumphant.

Because now? I am the proudest sister on the planet, of both of my sisters and their different paths, while I create my own path and life in this world that is truly me and mine.  

I love you sisters, and I am truly thankful for you each and every day. <3

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58 thoughts on “A story of sisterhood.

  1. This really needs a warning. ;)

    “If you read this at the end of your lunch hour, you may end up all teary in your veggie burrito and have to shut your office door to pull yourself together for the afternoon.”

    SO beautifully written, and I love what you’ve said. What a gift your sisters are, and what a gift you are to them.

    1. awww!! I didn’t mean to make you cry! But I am glad it elicited the reaction as I had the very same with every word that I wrote :-) Sisterhood is a gift.

  2. As one of four girls in my family, I loved the message and emotion in this post. I think you are going to bring both of your lovely sisters to tears with the honesty and love that you poured out here! I am sure that they look up to you and support you in the same shining light. And that is a beautiful, wonderful thing.

    1. aww! thank you so much! I know that I did bring them to tears, and while not my intent, I think it just shows how emotional and strong our sisterhood is. You sound like you have a very similar relationship with your sisters!

  3. GOSH now I am in tears!! this was so powerfully beautiful. I have a brother who I am fiercely loyal to and protective of, and also supremely proud of right now – I get these feelings you write here!

    There is no bond like the sibling bond… and the way you write about it is a joyous and beautiful thing!!

    1. aww! I can TELL that you and your brother are very close and in a similar way. There truly is no bond like sibling bond, you are absolutely right!

  4. Girl I love this so so much. I can totally relate since I do have a sister and we are so very close. We’ve definitely gone through those competitive stages, but I think as we’ve grown older and grown into our own, it’s been easier to just be there and support. You’re an amazing sister (and friend).

  5. Jolene, this was a BEAUTIFUL post. I am sitting here with tears in my eyes and in awe of your writing and love for your sisters. You make me want to be part of your 3-some. What an amazing family. HUGS to you!!!!!!!

    1. awww thank you so much Robin!! I am in awe of these reactions and the love of this post. But it makes me smile. Because I truly do love my sisters so much!! you are welcome to join us :-)

  6. Good grief you have me in tears. The bond that you have with the two of them is beyond special! There is truly nothing like a sister (and I’m guessing triplets is even more than that)! Thank you for sharing your special thoughts about your sisters. You all are incredibly lucky to have each other!

    1. Awww! No tears! But there really is nothing more special than sibling-hood and triplet-hood is a whole different ‘beast’ but one I’d never change for a second!

  7. I can’t bring myself to re-read this post. I read it in the airport earlier today and cried my eyes out (while Scott was off scavenging for food!) — you are such an incredible blessing to me, both of you are. I really REALLY don’t think you know that either — at least not fully, because honestly, I don’t think I’ve ever put into words what you just did: you just outlined exactly what our sisterhood is all about. Love, support. adoration, fierce loyalty. I love you SO much sis. And am eternally grateful for you. Love you to pieces. xoxo And ps. we need to hug more…that hug before the race was the most comforting moment ever. I needed that more than you know.

    1. God, this comment makes me cry every time I read it. Love you sis, I am so grateful for you too. I honestly don’t know what I would do without either of you. As we age, we learn more and more from each other and are truly mentors for each other and to each other. I agree, we do need to hug more. I have no idea why we don’t! love you so much!

  8. This is so incredibly beautiful and powerful. You’ve done such an amazing job of capturing the power of the sibling bond and especially of sisterhood. The bond that you three share is so special, can I tell you that? And I think that it’s more than just the triplet thing – I think it’s because you three ladies are pretty incredible people deep down. Over the weekend, you could feel your emotions during the marathon and how much you were excited for and supporting Jess and Scott.

    1. It is a very special bond. And one that isn’t perfect and has its own set of challenges, like comparison and competitiveness, but it’s been worth every second of that for every second of love and sisterhood as a result! And yes, this weekend? very very emotional. I think we grew together as a family even more, and I love that.

  9. This is a beautiful, beautiful post – so honest, insightful and brimming with love. Your sisters are so fortunate to have you as a sister! <3!

  10. Tardy to the party, partly because I knew I was going to cry through this! I loved how you gave my experience such perspective. Something I need at times especially with Isabel. I did grow through my experience but it wasn’t just about me, it was about my family rallying together to help me in what was a really difficult time. At the same time, both you and Jessica got to share a part of my life that other sisters wouldn’t normally get to. I valued your presence in my life, you handled my situation with such grace and in return you got sleep deprivation, pooped on and a bond with Isabel that will never break. So thankful for you and Jessica for stepping in and being their for me when no one else could be. Love you sis. I hope you get to spend more sister/sister time with me and some niece/auntie time, she’s perfected saying your name ya know ;-) xoxoxoxoxoxoxo

    1. awww! sis. I cried reading your comment too and thinking back to that time. it was a very emotional time, a trying time, but I honestly hold it so close to my heart because we grew together as sisters, into unchartered territory. and I loved every minute of our 1:1 time and with Isabel, learning to love her and take care of her. and I promise to work harder at finding more time to spend together. It’s so so important! XOXOXOX love you both!

  11. This is beautiful! Jess is so lucky to have a sister like you; you are lucky to have EACH OTHER. I too have a sister who I’m very close with, and love that as we get older there are more and more moments to honor, appreciate & be proud of one another. There’s really nothing quite like it.

  12. Just found this blog and am glad to now see you on twitter too! The Sutera sister’s have such a feel good sisterhood and I try to use that with my own relationship with my siblings.

    Hope you had fun in Chicago anddd yes cheering on the marathoners was exhausting itself, I came back and passed out. It was chilly out there :-)

    1. I heard you had a Team Sutera sign!! That is so so awesome!!! I wish I had made a sign but with all the running around we did, it was probably smart we did not ;-) It was chilly out there, took me a day to recover from the chill!! Thank you for your support for my sis, that means so much!

  13. There’s three of y’all?! Your parents are very blessed.

    What an absolutely beautiful post. There is no replacement for family and you’re so lucky to know how much you all mean to each other.

    I’ve definitely not met a set of sisters with a stronger bond!

  14. Gosh, I feel exactly the same way by supporting my sister this weekend. I felt amazing and could have taken off but knew deep down that I could never leave her to finish her first marathon by herself. I’m so proud of her for sticking with it and finishing!!
    Sisters are pretty amazing things. :)

    1. aww!! you were the best run sherpa for your sister too!! Awesome awesome that you stayed with her the whole time! I loved seeing you run together!! Made me happy :-) Sisters are amazing!

    1. LOL! Sorry to make you cry too!!! She’s been doing it to everyone all week ;-) hehe. Thank you so much, my friend! We are really blessed, love my sisters dearly! XO!

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