When you grow up without any sisters, your girl cousins can be the people you learn sisterhood from.
Sisters dominate my mom’s family. She has nine. I have a lot of cousins, probably more than you. (There are two brothers, as well, but if you grow up in a house with ten girls and two boys, the sister energy wins.)
Many of my aunts’ families showed me, up close and personal, what it was like to have a sister, even though I was denied that experience by genetics. The cousins that let me play with their Barbies. The cousins that came and babysat for my and my brothers, when our parents were out of town. The cousins that were nerdy girls like me, who liked books. The cousins that loved to cook. The cousins who resented being the babysitter to everyone younger than them. The cousins who fought with their sisters. The cousins who seemed inseparable from their sisters. The cousins who seemed to do all the caring work in the world, and never get tired. The cousins who were feminists. The cousins who would never describe themselves as feminists, but also still would never take any shit from a man. My cousins are the people who know where I came from, in a way that few other people do.
Bobbi was one of the best of us. She passed away last night, after a prolonged bout of colon and liver cancer. Her laugh brought joy to the world, while she was here. She fought for justice, and she was full of compassion. The world is a little less bright today.