I’m so… so disillusioned. And I think Hallmark is to blame.

Since I was a kid, I’ve been looking for the ideal relationship that is sisterhood. You know, with hugs and sunshine and flowers.

First it was my cousin, the only other person in my family nearly my age. Even though we were raised on two different planets continents, I looked forward to her letters and visits. I wanted to be just like her: I tried a nickname that ended in an “i” (Andi never stuck), jumped off the high dive for the first time, changed my favorite color (pink) to hers (purple). In my defense, I was 7 or 8. And my favorite color is now garnet red. Ha.

I grew up four years older than my sister. I think our relationship had typical ups and downs including jokes and confidences, fights and jealousies. We were close as kids. But the gap between us — me, the old soul, and her, forever young at heart — feels four (or 40) times the four it is.

Our parents want so badly for us to be close. I want so badly for us to be close, and she might, too. I can’t decide whether it’s a relationship broken and malnourished, or if it’s simply different from what I imagined it would be.

That’s where Hallmark comes in.

I wonder, now, if my expectations are realistic. If some sibling relationships are the stuff of greeting cards, but others simply are what they are. Or what you make them. I’m not even sure what I want from my sister. Or what she wants from me.

I daresay no relationship is static, and I believe this one will change, with help. Hopefully for the better, for the closer, for the more fulfilling. And when it does, I’ll buy the perfect card for the occasion.