Ashley got into the passenger’s side of the truck, looked at me, then over her shoulder toward the storefront. As she exhaled, she laughed uncontrollably.
“What?” I asked, beginning to laugh myself.
“She, she . . . she said,” Ashley stuttered, barely able to catch a breath in between howls of laughter
“Ash, what? What did she say?” I begged, wanting to know what could possibly elicit such drama.
Ashley caught her breath and continued, “She said, ‘your mom went out to pull up her truck.’”
Our laughter, now in unison, filled the truck cab.
“You should have seen the look on her face when I told her you were my sister!” Ashley said, wiping the tears from her eyes. “She kept saying, ‘don’t tell her I said that, please don’t tell her, I can’t lose this sale.’”
“You know Ashley,” I interrupted our laughing duet, “I AM old enough to be your mother.”
“I know.” She said, continuing to laugh.
“That’s it,” I joked, “I’m taking the rug back!”
We exploded with laughter again, holding our sides and crossing our legs.
Ashley was born the year I graduated from high school. So our relationship developed during weekends and summers when I was home from college. When I got engaged, she was four. Though my fiancé and I decided his niece would be our flower girl, Ashley decided she had to be one as well. After all, anything pink most certainly had to involve her. She was adorable that day.
After our shopping expedition, Ashley went home with her rug and the puffy jacket she also found that day. Whenever I admire my living room rug, which is often, I think of how she helped me decide how beautiful it would look in my house. The next time we talked, she asked me to be her Doula. She was having a baby and wanted me to be by her side, along with her husband.
The beauty of birth is a sisterhood many women share. It is as unique as the newborn’s cry and the gaze in a mother’s eyes the first time she looks upon her child. There is nothing like witnessing the birth of someone else’s baby. It forever bonded Ashley and me.
As women, we find the same beauty formed over tragedies like cancer and the sting of a life gone too soon. The experiences we share moving past life-altering disabilities or lost dreams knit us together like sweaters warming our very souls. We cannot help but feel kin to those who stand beside us when we can no longer stand at all.
This Sisterhood, reaches far beyond DNA.
I know this all too well.
Biology doesn’t make sisters. Biology makes siblings.
Real sisterhood is found every day between women who shop together for puffy jackets and laugh till their sides hurt. It is found in conversations about the struggle of disappointment and loss. In the impossible battles we fight together for our children and those who mean the most to us. It is forged in the races we run for causes bigger than ourselves. And in the arms of the women who hold us up.
Ashley bears none of my biological DNA. She became my sister because she decide it to be so. I became hers when I did the same.