Step is just a word; its meaning is much deeper.
As a little girl, I dreamt of having a big brother to protect me against rowdy boys, and give me a hug (maybe even an Indian burn) when I aced a spelling test. It was only until I got older did I realize I had that support all along. My two older stepsisters are my role models. They’ve taught me to be true to myself and retain my independence. They’ve showed me that it’s okay to make mistakes and keep moving forward. Most importantly, their huge hearts have given me the love from a sibling that I could never imagine any other way.
When people ask me how many siblings I have I always respond with “two.” To me, my stepsisters aren’t an add-on to my family tree at all. We’re a family -- they count. Just because our blood isn’t the same, doesn’t mean we can’t love one another unconditionally. The sisterly bond they’ve displayed since I was four is something so wonderful to have in my life that thanking them still doesn’t seem adequate. We’re not like Cinderella’s nightmare; we’re a trio of self-determining women who’ve stood by each other even in the darkest of times. My sisters are the ones I’ve cried to when my esteem has crumbled to dust, and I was in dire need of a moving pep-talk. Or moments when all we required were Selena Gomez and a heartfelt embrace. We didn’t grow up in the same household because of our age gap (and in all honesty, they should be lucky they didn’t have to live with me during my awkward middle school phase), but developing into a young adult and having them watch over me has been incredibly encouraging. I’d like to say I’ve always been motivated, but most of my aspirations stem from the many accomplishments they’ve completed in their own lives.
As mothers, I’ve been able to see other aspects of them blossom. The twinkling in their eyes watching their children goof around, the pride they carry at orchestra recitals, or the absolute joy of playing alphabet bingo. I’ve been blessed to not only observe my nieces and nephews flourish, but also retain thousands of memories of us as a family. The unbelievable strength and compassion they’ve provided for their children is admirable, to say the least. My sisters have taught me to not be afraid to cry or be vulnerable. Even with unpredictable obstacles thrown, they can still fight through it all. The great determination that they lead their lives with is something I truly respect. They would do anything for the ones they love, which has influenced my outlook on life as well.
I am fortunate to be a part of a family full of Tahoe getaways, taco nights, pool adventures, and random dance parties. The momentous milestones we’ve supported one another with are perfect examples of the love we share. I am lucky to say that my sisters’ presences have shaped me into the woman I am today.
Sissies, if you’re reading this:
Thank you for being a safety net no matter where we are located. You’ve taught me to not expect perfection, but strive for great transformation. There's a beauty inside and out that shines so brightly, you light up a room just by walking into it. And without you, who knows where I would’ve memorized all the lyrics to the Pussycat Dolls. I love you.