In case you missed it, today is National Siblings Day, hence your Instagram filled with #flashbackfriday candid shots of sisters in matching Umbros and side ponytails. Of course, there's more to the designated day than that.
Our siblings are our original soul mates. While there's an unending debate on whether we're destined to meet our match — or specifically, "the one" meant for us in a romantic relationship — our siblings were intended to be the ones we experienced life with from the start. They know our history. In fact, they are our history.
Here's why siblings are our real soul mates:
They're our original "for better or for worse."
We've got the smiling Christmas morning pictures in our family photo albums to prove it, along with the snapshots of summer days spent at the beach, family dinners out celebrating good report cards and blowing out the candles on the birthday cake.
Often not pictured though are the inevitable fights over who got to open the first present (usually the youngest), who had to sit bitch on every single road trip (again, usually the youngest), who chose the restaurant and who got the biggest slice of cake.
While our siblings may have been responsible for a handful of our tears shed, they also saw us through our emotional middle school years, awkward picture days made up of some unfortunate bowl cuts and questionable fashion statements, braces, breakouts and break ups.
They've been there for richer and for poorer.
And, they made the poorer times more fun. My brother, sister and I became skilled at creating a multitude of games using a Nerf footballs, all our couch cushions, cardboard boxes, duct tape and ping pong balls.
We may not have had the entire set of American Girl Dolls, but what we lacked in toy status, we made up for in resourcefulness.
They've seen us through sickness and health.
They were the ones we leaned on with physical ailments, begging for them to bring us our Sprite and Saltines, and they were the ones who stood by us when we experienced our first bouts of homesickness at summer camp and freshman year of college.
There are no skeletons in the closet with them. They've witnessed it all: The good, the bad and the ugly.
Our siblings love us from day one to the end.
And, in unconditionally doing so, they taught us to appreciate the complexity and depth of relationships.
One minute we're tattling on them to our parents, neighbors and anyone else who will listen, and in the next moment, we're fiercely defending them.
We grow up competing against them in everything ranging from driveway basketball games and Mario Kart to Easter egg hunts and kick the can, while simultaneously rooting for them to succeed as they try out for the soccer team and the school play.
We get mad enough to hang up the phone on them when they bluntly tell us the truth we aren't ready to hear, yet they're the first ones we excitedly call with good news.
They serve as our first brush with bullies and our first best friends.
They're the birthplace of loyalty for having someone's back, no matter the situation.
Through living alongside them, we learn to compromise and negotiate controlling the TV remote and dividing chores.
Our siblings are our mentors, mirrors and foundation for starting our own families. They set the stage for what it means to be in relationship with another human being and they teach us how to unconditionally love imperfect people through good and bad times, richer or poorer, in sickness and in health, and 'til death do us part.