My Half-Sister Isn’t My 'Half-Sister,' She's Just My Sister

My Half-Sister Isn’t My 'Half-Sister,' She's Just My Sister

And why it shouldn't matter.

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Growing up, I've had a lot of people tell me that my sister and I don't look alike, and others that say we definitely do, but mainly just in the eyes. My sister, who is 31, has three kids, and when most people who don't know my family usually ask me if they're my younger siblings. "No," I say, "they're my nieces and nephew." More often than not, people then ask me how old my sister is, and once I tell them, the usual response is, "Oh. Half-sisters?" "I mean, technically," is usually mine.

While the question within itself I understand, I would be lying if I said that it didn't hurt me to have to say yes. The thing is, she isn't my half-sister in any other way than blood. We grew up in rooms next to each other, she was there for all of my big moments, and I hers, even if I don't remember them. So, the reality for me is she is just simply my sister.

In most cases where people have asked if we are half-sisters, the conversation usually diverts back to my nieces and nephew. However, the worst cases are those in which people respond with, "Are you guys even really close?" "Isn't it hard having two different families?" and my personal favorite, "Oh, that must be interesting." And again, while it isn't their curiosity that gets to me, it's the tone in which they insinuate that having a half-sibling is less than a sibling you have a full blood relation to.

The thing I find most strange, is that half siblings are incredibly common in this day and age, so why are people so judgmental about it? Not only are everyone's situations different, but also just because someone doesn't have a 'normal' family in your eyes, doesn't give you the right to judge them.

So, I understand that everyone who grows up with half-siblings is going to have a different experience, and I know that it isn't up to anybody else to write rules for what a half-sibling has to be. But for all the people in the past few years that have asked me judgmental questions about my whole sister, here you go:

  • Yes, we are in fact very close. Not so much so when I was younger, because she was going to college when I was going to kindergarten, but since about 2010, my sister and I have become extremely close. She is one of the very first people I want to tell of my good news or bad news. I would classify her in the "best friend" category just as much as I would place her into a "sister" category.
  • This is something my sister and I have talked about a lot. Whenever we talk, we know "mom" is our mom and "my dad" is the person's dad. Our mom and our dads don't have an unfriendly relationship. We see each other at every birthday, every soccer game and every Christmas special. Her dad and stepmom even come to Butler games, and I go up and say hi!
  • It really isn't that interesting for us. It's about just as interesting as having a full-blooded sibling is, just with more people in the mix.
What I want to get across the most, is that having a half-sibling, even in situations when the siblings are as close, doesn't mean that they automatically have to be less related, just because they don't share blood from the same two parents. And while it isn't wrong for someone to be curious about the dynamics between two siblings of any relation, please don't make judgments about how siblings work, because odds are you won't be able to pinpoint exactly how they work.

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The Thank You My Dad Deserves

While our moms are always the heroes, our dads deserve some credit, too.
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Dear Dad,

You’ve gone a really long time without being thanked. I'm not talking about thanks for things like opening the Gatorade bottle I couldn't or checking my tires when my car’s maintenance light is flashing, but rather the thanks I owe you for shaping me into the person I am today.

Thank you for teaching me what I deserve and for not letting me settle for anything less.

While the whole world was telling me I wasn’t good enough, you were there to tell me I was. Whether this was with boys, a friend, or anything else, you always built my confidence to a place I couldn’t build it to on my own. You showed me what my great qualities were and helped me feel unique. But most of all, you never let me settle for anything less than what I deserved, even when I wanted to. Without you, I wouldn’t be nearly as ambitious, outgoing or strong.

Thank you for giving me someone to make proud.

It’s hard to work hard when it’s just for myself, but so easy when it’s for you. All through school, nothing made me happier than getting a good grade back because I knew I got to come home and tell you. With everything I do, you give me a purpose.

SEE ALSO: 20 Things You Say When Calling Your Dad On The Phone

Thank you for showing me what selflessness looks like.

You are the prime example of what putting your family first looks like. If me wanting something means that you can’t get what you want, you’ll always sacrifice. From wearing the same t-shirts you’ve had since I was in elementary school so I could buy the new clothes I wanted, to not going out with your friends so you could come to my shows, you never made a decision without your family at the forefront of your mind. If there is one quality you have that I look up to you for the most, it’s your ability to completely put your needs aside and focus entirely on the wants of others.

Thank you for being the voice in the back of my head that shows me wrong from right.

Even though many of your dad-isms like “always wear a seatbelt” easily get old, whenever I’m in a situation and can’t decide if what I’m doing is right or wrong, I always can hear you in the back of my head pointing me in the right direction. While I may not boost your ego often enough by telling you you’re always right, you are.

Thank you for being real with me when nobody else will.

Being your child hasn’t always been full of happiness and encouragement, but that’s what makes you such an integral part of my life. Rather than sugarcoating things and always telling me I was the perfect child, you called me out when I was wrong. But what separates you from other dads is that instead of just knocking me down, you helped me improve. You helped me figure out my faults and stood by me every step of the way as I worked to fix them.

Most of all, thank you for showing me what a great man looks like.

I know that marriage may seem very far down the road, but I just want you to know that whoever the guy I marry is, I know he’ll be right because I have an amazing guy to compare him to. I know you’re not perfect (nobody is), but you’ve raised me in a such a way that I couldn’t imagine my kids being raised any differently. Finding a guy with your heart, drive, and generosity will be tough, but I know it will be worth it.


Dad, you’re more than just my parent, but my best friend. You’re there for me like nobody else is and I couldn’t imagine being where I am now without you.

Love you forever,

Your little girl

Cover Image Credit: Caity Callan

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To My Little Sister Who Became My Best Friend

You are so strong. Never forget that.

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It's no secret that most siblings go through periods of loving and hating each other before they become best friends. My parents always told us "don't burn bridges with your sister, one day she'll be your best friend," and like most moody teenagers, I would roll my eyes and walk away.

How could I ever become best friends with this person who stole my clothes, who would flirt with the boys I liked, who had more friends than I ever would?

To my surprise, I went off to college, and my sister became my best and closest friend.

To my not-so-little-sister (yes, we're only 13 months apart. Thanks, mom!) who finally became my best friend,

I know I haven't said it enough over the last 18-years, but I love you. Please remember no matter how many times that I'll continue to say it now, I will always love you so much. Having a sister like you has not only been one of life's biggest challenges but one of its biggest blessings as well.

Thank you for teaching me so many lessons in our journey through life together. I know that they typically say 'learn from your older siblings' mistakes,' but let's be real, you've taught me a lot more than I could have ever shown you.

Thank you for being there for me when life gets hard. For being the only familiar face in the halls of every new school, and holding my hand after each heartbreak, I experienced. Thank you for the many late-night Steak 'n Shake runs, and hours spent with me shopping at the mall (because we both know how indecisive I get when it comes to clothes). For the times we've danced in the kitchen screaming Demi Lovato's greatest hits avoiding the piles of dishes and laundry to do before mom gets home.

These are some of the memories I will cherish forever.

Thank you for being the best secret-keeper and the person I know I can always trust the most. You've seen me at my best, but also my worst and yet you never fail to be there when I need you. Sometimes I feel like you know me better than I know myself. Thank you for accepting who I am as a person and supporting me even when others in our family do not.

Despite all of the stupid fights growing up over stealing each other's shoes or clothes or what time we were going to leave for school in the morning (that was a weird one), I don't know what I would do without you. My biggest regret in life is looking back and realizing how much time we lost fighting over the littlest things. I miss having you close to me.

Know that I'm always here for you, even if it's a 2 A.M Facetime call away. You can come to me with anything and everything. I know I don't tell you this enough, but I am so proud of who you are and the woman you are becoming.

Through both the good times and the bad, I will always be here supporting you, encouraging you, and loving you. Through thick and thin I will always be your big sister (even if it's only by 13 months) who loves you. No amount of distance, no fight, and no mistake could ever change that.

A few things I hope you always remember my dear sister: you are beautiful, smart, determined, passionate, and talented. You are so strong. Never forget that. You are so much more than you will ever believe yourself to be. You can conquer the world and reach any of the dreams that you set yourself out to achieve. I know you will! You are capable of so much more than you will ever know. Work hard, never give up.

Through everything that you do, in everything that you face, I will always be here supporting you. I am so proud of you. I can't wait to see you reach all of your dreams.

"The bond between sisters is probably the most competitive relationship within the family, but once the sisters are grown, it becomes the strongest relationship." - Margret Mead

I love you forever,

Your big sister

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