This is my ex-husband’s wife. My son’s stepmother. In this patriarchy in which we live, there is language for who she is to these primary people in my life. But there is no language for who she is to me.
I have been searching for a term that expresses the depth of vulnerability and beauty, courage and grace that has shaped who we are to each other.
When I heard Glennon Doyle Melton speak with Marie Forleo recently, she explained that when a builder needs to strengthen a joist, s/he puts a new one next to the original one and fastens the two together. Sometimes, two new joists are needed—one on either side. This collaborative power is called a sister joist. And builders call this act of structural reinforcement “sistering.”
Instead of language that locks us into a static role of family position or status, this verb that embodies how we show up for each other and our family. That reflects the choices we make every day to move toward understanding, trust, and tribe. To recognize how much stronger we are together. And how stable the structure of self can become when we stand shoulder to shoulder with the sisters we are given.