My mum and my sister had this magical thing with bags and watches. Completely independently they would regularly change their watch or handbag to exactly the same one that the other had. One moment they would both be wearing a bracelet silver watch. Then, the next time my sister came to visit, she would have spontaneously bought a small gold faced black leather one, just like the one my mum had switched to. This went on for years till my sister got locked on one watch she really liked.
But it also happened with bags and that never stopped. The black leather totes they had this July were so alike they kept picking up each others. When I returned in September they had both switched to small sports rucksacks. They never co-ordinated, it just happened. But never once in all those years did I have the same bag or watch. Although I actively tried to persuade both of them to get an Apple Watch like me!
There was more to it than bags and watches.
They both went to prestigious secondary schools and then on to Oxbridge. Whereas I went to the local comprehensive and then on to Manchester University.
They both had much younger sisters. I was the tricky middle child.
They both married in their early twenties someone they met at college and started their independent adult life at a young age. I didn’t get married till I was 36 and lived at home on and off until that age: the chick that never quite fledged.
They both work/ worked exceptionally hard for long hours, to not just succeed at their own career, but to make the world a better place. Their opinion on national infrastructure is widely respected: my mum on Education, my sister on the Health Service. My sister regularly delivers speeches to key conferences and organizations and is often to be heard on the national news. I am certain that had we a different flavour of government she would also be in line for her own Damehood.
My working life has been varied, episodic and secondary to marriage and children.
On a more lifestyle level their time was similar too. They both live / lived in a large London period house for over 20 years. As an adult I have never lived in any house longer than 5 years and have moved all over the country and the world: a very rolling stone.
They both have/had a wide circle of loyal friends with whom they enjoy/ enjoyed eating out, going to the theatre, classical music concerts and visiting art galleries. They both sang in choirs.
My idea of a good time is Netflix on the TV and a pizza delivery. People ask me NOT to sing!
In young photos of them, its difficult to tell them apart and we would often say that’s mum then realize it was actually my sister. I don’t really look much like either of them so its just as well my Dad saw me being born!
But I don’t mind being the cuckoo. Because I got lucky. I got two amazing, beautiful, brilliant, intelligent, cultural, social, successful and influential woman in my life. And that definitely makes easier now that there is only one of them.