November is a good time to remember what we are thankful for, and reflect on what is good and true in our lives. This month helps our mindset be put into a ‘thanks’ and ‘giving’ kind of mood. While it may be easy to reflect in our minds and moods, it’s not always easy to put down on paper.

Me and My Sister Stephanie early 80's

I have been lucky enough to be blessed with an incredible little sister who is five years younger than me. I was the typical bossy older sister and I never realized just how much she looked up to me until I was an adult. I see it now in my two nephews – the sheer admiration a younger sibling has for his or her older sister or brother. I wish I knew as a child just how much I influenced her life. She has certainly influenced mine probably more than she ever realized, too. My baby sister has grown up into a woman who I am so proud of, I could probably never effectively express her impact in my life. She is unbelievably strong, smart, generous and thoughtful, beautiful inside and out, kind and loving. She is a mother, a daughter, a wife, and she will always be my first and best friend. We laugh, argue, talk as any sisters would, perhaps more than others.

I never thought I needed other ‘sisters’ because well, I already had one.

I never thought a network of hundreds and thousands of Sigma Kappas could one day become my sisters. Yet, they did. Sigma Kappa is one part of my life that I am always thankful for, and hope I can always give back to.

To us women who call ourselves Sigma Kappas, November 9, 1874 is a very special date because it’s the founding of our beloved sorority. The more I learn about our history and the time period in which these five brave and intelligent women met, I am amazed at their fortitude to form a sorority. Women in 1874 were not seen as equals in the eyes of men, they could not vote or own property, and the women’s rights movement was just beginning. Perhaps that movement was some motivation for starting an organization in which these five young ladies were not judged based on what others believed they could or could not do. In fact, these five women praised and loved each other for their unique talents and gifts of lifelong friendship.

Over the years during my involvement with Sigma Kappa, I have met women across the country who I never would have met otherwise. I call these smart, funny, lovely women my sorority sisters even though I didn’t go to college with them. It’s truly remarkable to have so many strong minds to engage with, and I’ve loved every minute of it! As a librarian, I try to break the stereotypes of the crabby old lady with bun in her hair, glasses hanging on her chain and really ugly shoes. As a self-proclaimed sorority girl, I hope I’ve broken the negative stereotypes by the work I do, along with the good and true person I strive to be every day. I hope in 100 years when our blog posts are archived into databases, and other young Sigma Kappa women research us to find out what life was life in 2012, that I and my sorority sisters can be examples of voices strong and hearts united.

It’s not too difficult in today’s book world to find stories of sisterhood and friendship. There are even titles and series such as, The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants by Ann Brashares or Divine Secrets of the Ya-Ya Sisterhood by Rebecca Wells, with the word ‘sisterhood’ right in it. These are great reads to try if you haven’t discovered them. Yet, I wanted to dig a little deeper and find suggestions that also dug a little deeper into this idea of sisterhood and friendship. Let me know if you’ve read any or have other ideas in the comments. Enjoy and Happy Founder’s Day!

The Seven Sisters by Margaret Drabble
Perhaps a bit different in terms of the use of sisterhood or friendship, this is the story of Candida Wilton who starts over late in life. She begins by writing in a diary about her new life in London, and eventually takes a trip to Italy with her new friends. This is a uniquely written novel with some twists and turns in the ending. I haven’t read this one but it’s made my to-read list. Check it out on Google Books.

Dinner with Anna Karenina by Gloria Goldreich
I will admit, I chose this because it’s about a book club who reads Anna Karenina. However, it’s also the story of six very different women brought together by their love of a beautiful novel. It’s the story of friendship, literature and secrets and betrayals. I haven’t read this but it’s on my to-read list now! Find out more at Google Books.

Women of the Silk by Gail Tsukiyama
A novel about the women in communist China of 1926. Rural families were often forced to sell or abandon their children so they could simply survive. Pei Chung is a young woman whose family does just that as she then find her new life in a silk factory. Yet, she forms friendships and a type of sisterhood with the women who work there. This book spans decades as Pei grows up from a young child into an adult. This book also has a sequel with equal positive response and praise called The Language of Threads. Find Women of Silk here on Google Books. The premise reminds me of Memoirs of a Geisha by Arthur Golden which also has a sense of sisterhood and friendship among the geisha women. Another good read worth pursuing.

Sorority Sisters by Claudia Welch
This is a book in which some readers have described as a light read, yet I chose it for my list because it puts that typical sorority girl into a more positive light. It does have some stereotypes, but the overall theme is everlasting friendship. This is a book about four women in 1975 who become friends during their new member education period and how they build bonds that last after graduation. Read more at Google Books.

2 Responses to What I’m Thankful For: Stories of Sisterhood and Friendship

  1. Anne says:

    Great blog…so true about the sibling bond and the sig kap bond! Two things to be very thankful for!

  2. Teri Centner Teri Centner says:

    Life gave me only brothers, so I’m very thankful to Sigma Kappa for giving me so many wonderful sisters.

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