The Weekly Ringer

The University of Mary Washington Student Newspaper

Personal essay: Delving deep into the mirror of sisterhood

4 min read
Nine performers on a stage, gesturing to the right hand side of the stage

After Small Show, UMW Performing Arts Company will host Big Show from April 6-7. Abbey Magnet | The Weekly Ringer


Staff Writer

I’ve always thought it was odd that one day my parents just decided to bring back a random baby from the hospital and I was somehow supposed to cope with the fact that I was meant to love, influence and take care of this child while also in the process of discovering who I was. 

Being an older sibling to someone who I also consider my best friend has shaped who I am as a person, and my younger sister encourages me to keep up with her mature and confident stride. We don’t get to choose our siblings, and not everyone is fortunate enough to say they share the same DNA with their best friend, but the strength of a friendship between sisters is like no other. 

Growing up—particularly in high school—my parents were always busy working. This meant I was given the responsibility of looking after my sister, Gabriela Michelle Delgado Pozo, who was just this little girl I barely knew. Some days, I felt completely left out because I felt like my friends had all the freedom in the world, meanwhile I was the second parental figure in the house. I hated giving my least favorite answer that is still imprinted in my brain: “No, sorry I can’t go; I can’t leave my sister alone.”  

I felt a lot of turmoil over this responsibility that I didn’t ask for, as I was in high school and having freedom and fitting in were vital to become engaged and involved—or even just to have a bit of a social life. Rather than sitting at home while looking after my sister, watching endless stories of my could’ve-been friend group hanging out together, I wanted to be with them. It felt isolating to be left out of this necessary part of life—having friends—but my sister and I were able to bond over our shared loneliness. Siblings protect each other, and they fill the empty space that often presents itself in a home like mine. 

So, instead of feeling bad about having to look after my sister, I took advantage of having a built-in best friend who I could teach and hang out with, which made the Instagram stories sting a little less. 

As I got older, I acknowledged that those who truly cared about me would welcome my sister and would want to spend time getting to know her. Luckily, I met a girl who still holds a special place in my heart. She empathized with me as a fellow older sister who was put into a parental role, and the solution to our situation was for all of us to hang out together. 

Because Gabriela and I were together all of the time, our personalities melded into one cohesive unit, making us even more compatible and close. According to Brigham Young University, “individuals’ intellectual development and personalities are influenced by their siblings,” and my sister and I prove that to be true. 

Music transports me into imaginary worlds where my life is perfect, and I’ve realized that sharing music with others is how I show my appreciation for them. So, as her older sister, I introduced Gabriela to my music taste to give her a boost in her exploration. 

“The song ‘Let It Happen’ by Tame Impala brings me back to when you first shared your music playlist with me, back when I wasn’t sure what genre of music I was into,” Gabriela said. 

We both claim that there isn’t a single 7-minute song that we can listen to repeatedly for hours on end, except for that one. In addition to our musical selections, we both have a strong admiration for the television series Gilmore Girls, which I watched growing up and introduced to Gabriela when she turned 15. The show displays that making mistakes is intrinsic to the learning process, much like my missteps show her mercy and guide her as she grows into a young woman. Meanwhile, her missteps show me what I could have done differently when I was her age. 

As I watch Gabriela become a young adult, I’m realizing all the parts of me that I see in her, and I see how she has flourished. At the end of the day, if this is the reward for all of the sadness I felt, it was all worth it. 

As Gabriela gets older, our sisterhood becomes a mutually symbiotic relationship, as she teaches me more and more every day and I continue to impart my life lessons as I grow up as well. 

My sister also doesn’t mind my antics. 

“I think the one reason we get along so well is that you are still a kid at heart, meaning that you would rather be the person playing in the bouncy house with me and not the adult watching the kids play on the side,” said Gabriela. 

I tend to forget that Gabriela is younger, and I consider her to be more of a peer. As I make my way through college and she embarks on her high school experience, we both can enjoy our newfound independence together. We take advantage of everything Fredericksburg has to offer—whether it’s doing weekly chores like grocery shopping or treating ourselves to coffee and bookstore excursions—and I always have a buddy by my side, which makes every experience more delightful.  

Being an older sister, I’ve recognized how Gabriela has shaped me. Her maturity and confidence make me feel that I’ll be a great parent someday, and she has taught me to think about how my decisions affect others. Prioritizing my own needs has never been an option and never will be, but I’ll forever be grateful that I get to share every part of my life with this little girl I once hardly knew.