There are 7 kids in my family, 5 girls and 2 boys. My siblings are my best friends on the planet and there is just nothing that compares to the gift of sisterhood. Most of our best friends just so happen to be only children or girls with only brothers that get sucked into our giant sisterhood. Whenever we’d be scrambling to get ready before a party or wedding or as we rifled through each other’s suitcases on trips we’d always say “what do people even do without sisters?!” I often get questions on what our dynamic is like, what it was like growing up with so many girls and about sisters in general so I’m answering your questions today. The questions were GREAT so get ready to read the word “sister” more than you ever have in your life.
In order to give you a little bit of an introduction I thought I’d help you get a peek into our personalities a bit more. We all went around and described each other in three words so here are all of those descriptions put together- hopefully it helps!
Kristen is the oldest in the family and therefore the oldest girl. Kristen was described by us as: Generous, Determined, Emotional, Tender, Strong, head strong, driven, reliable, independent and bubbly
I’m the next oldest girl (my brother Matt is second oldest) and my sisters described me as thoughtful, creative, disciplined, loyal, sensitive, creative, delightful (thanks, becky!) nurturing, intuitive, thoughtful and cautious.
Jackie is the middle of the sisters and dead middle of the whole family. She was described by the group as unique, tender hearted, genuine, generous, spunky, intentional, comforting, honest and considerate.
Brooke is the second youngest girl and was described as sweet, sticks to her principles, a listener, sweet, bold, authentic, kind hearted and strong-willed.
And Becky, everyones baby, was described as bubbly, friendly, caring, giving, free spirited, fun, welcoming, genuine, free, joyful and fun-loving.
Q: Have you guys always gotten along?
A: Short answer: NO. Some of us always have and others had a very conflict-filled relationship as kids. I shared a room with Brooke and Becky for a good chunk of my childhood and Kristen and Jackie shared a room. Out of the 7 kids we were split into “big kids” and “little kids” since theres a three year gap between Jackie and I-the biggest gap in the family. Each bedroom needed to have a big kid and that definitely helped strengthen relationships. Jackie and I fought literally every day because we’re so similar but different in the ways that lead to conflict, Kristen and I had a huge chunk of time where we just couldn’t stand one another (mostly because I just wanted to be like her and did what she did which was pretty obnoxious when she was 13 and I was 9…) and Brooke and Jackie had a few rough years just because they’re only one year apart and their lives were so intertwined. Thankfully we moved past that nasty stage!
Q: Did you guys always share clothes and things growing up?
A: It was touch and go. First of all, I am clearly so much bigger than the rest of my siblings and always have been. I have, however, always loved clothes the most and my sisters always want to borrow my things. I’ve been the lender and not the borrower mostly but when we were younger I alllllways wanted to wear whatever Kristen was wearing. We had a lot of clothes-sneaking going on for a while where one sister (who shall remain nameless) would take our clothes without us knowing and we’d find them in the Lost and Found at school. Nothing like seeing your brand new Juicy Couture velour tracksuit balled up in Lost and Found in the hallway! Man. Those were the days.
Now, whenever we travel or get ready together we just have to know all of our clothes are essentially up for grabs and we share everything.
Q: Do you have a particular sister you’re closer with? Do you vibe with any one sister in particular over another?
A: As a collective group we’re just a safe space of best friends. Some of us are more introverted (Jackie, Brooke and I) and others very extroverted (Kristen and Becky) and we all are actually very different when it comes to interests but together it just works. In different seasons we tend to be closer to a particular sister and we also have specific scenarios where we’ll always go to one sister (one for advice, one for a fun and crazy time, one to just laugh, one for comfort…)
Q: Do you still fight as adults?
A: We definitely still have disagreements from time to time but one of the best parts of growing in age is also growing in our walk with the Lord and skills in communication. Rather than offending and gossiping and scheming and blaming we are very upfront and honest all the time. I especially am really sensitive to things being off and instead of letting that feeling grow I will immediately confront to sit down and talk out whatever we need to talk out. We’re also all really quick to call each other out so disagreements don’t last long.
Q: What did your parents do well to foster your relationship to each other?
A: Everything. My parents were incredible intentional about making sure we loved, cared for, honored, respected, trusted and sacrificed for our siblings. Especially my dad. He didn’t tolerate any name calling, disrespect or hurtfulness whatsoever and we had a family mission statement we’d have to repeat or write out over and over if we lied to one another or had a dumb fight or did anything to violate the rules of sibling relationship. Whenever we just couldn’t seem to stop bickering he’d make us hold hands all day. And I mean all.day.long. This happened at Disney World once and Jackie and I were sure once we got out of the car he’d let us break hands but nope. We held hands all throughout that park, bathroom and all. By the end of it we were laughing every single time! We also weren’t allowed to use our cell phones once we walked through the door in high school and were only allowed 30 minutes on the computer each to reinforce the fact that “the people in the house will forever mean more to you than the people in your phone and computer.”
Since some of us were busy with sports (I played a sport every season, Brooke ran track really competitively and Becky played volleyball year round) our time was precious so my parents made sure rather than spending our free time at parties or always at friends house, we instead spent the majority of our time together. It was so hard at the time to feel like I was missing out with the earliest curfew of anyone I knew and being the only one who couldn’t bounce from party to party but I’m going to be implementing many of these things for our kids as well because I see the fruit of it every day.
Q: How often do you see each other??
A: For the first time since I was in high school we all live in the same state! Even though the furthest distance between us id 40 minutes, how often we see one another varies and it’s different for each sister as well. Jackie and Kristen both live with my parents so they see each other pretty much every day. My parents house is the hub for sure so they often see everyone multiple days a week since even though Brooke lives the farthest away she spends lots of time at my parents house as well. Becky works at Lululemon and has an unpredictable schedule but she works out with most of the girls a few times a week. I do my best to be sure I don’t go two weeks without seeing everyone but between homeschool, the kids school dropoffs and pickups, work and just being a mom/homemaker I’m always reevaluating my schedule to be sure I’m present with my own little family as well as my big Singletary family. It’s always a work in progress! But since O and I lived in Virginia away from everyone for the first 7 years of our marriage we tend to thrive on routine and are still loosening up the areas we can.
Q: How do you keep from parenting your younger sisters?
A: This has taken much time and effort. When we were younger my older sister and I definitely had a little bit of a parenting role as the “big kids.” I’m also naturally a caretaker and leader and very skeptical and hesitant which can lead to me giving lots of unsolicited advice. Lots. As we’ve gotten older I work to remember my sisters are my peers that I love and respect and can make their own decisions. My sisters have told me in the past couple years that I’m no longer judgemental which is one of the greatest compliments I’ve ever received- I know I gave off a judgemental “you should be doing it this way” vibe for much of our lives and that was my role. I’ll always be the advice giver and the researcher but even when we give each other advice or suggestions we now always come from a place of believing we both have a good idea and just two different ways to get the same thing done.
Q: Have you ever had to recover from a big fight with a sister? How did you deal with that?
A: Yes of course! Usually I think all of us go the route of having one big conversation (this looked more like a psycho heated argument in the past and more like an actual conversation now) where both parties get to say their piece. Often now this will be the end of it but there will still be the scenario where the big conversation happens and two sisters need to press pause on the conversation for a few hours or even a day or two to thoroughly process how we feel and go in as calm as possible to each resolution. In the past we almost always had to call in a mediator (still can happen sometimes) but most often you just talk it out til’ its all over. Apologize. Repent when needed. Move forward. (And if you’re me, keep apologizing til the end of time.)