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A love letter to my sisters for Valentine’s Day and why you should write one for yours

Photography by Trudi Treble
Words by Maggie Zhou
Wearing Pandora

Thank you for every Monopoly game, every impromptu dance party and every secret kept.

From physical scars to emotional scars, siblings can be hard work. They’re the ones who have seen you at your best and at your worst and who hold incriminating evidence against you. 

Of course, the relationships between siblings differ immensely. We all know of some strangely intimate siblings that would give @siblingsordating a run for their money, or those who begrudgingly see each other once a year.


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I’m a middle child so naturally, I’m the forgotten one. I sit between my younger, coddled sister Katie and my older, rebellious sister Cindy. This family dynamic has been carbon-copied from many a sitcom but rings true in my nuclear family structure. 

Our Western society places such an emphasis on romantic relationships, on finding the ‘The One’, while often neglecting the relationships in front of us. 

Pandora surveyed 1,000 Australians and found that 73 per cent of us believe that relationships, whether they’re platonic or romantic, are now more important than ever. While this sentiment has slowly started to extend to friendships, less can be said about family bonds.

For those who live at home, we were thrown into almost 24/7 contact with our families. Such a sharp turn can be challenging for even the closest of families and sure, in my household, we all had our moments. But the forced proximity to one another actually turned out to be bearable – perhaps even enjoyable.

This Valentine’s Day, I’m writing a love letter to my sisters. I can almost hear their grossed-out remarks, uncomfortable with the earnest show of affection. Usually, we brawl or start singing – or do both in unison – to show our love. 

But growing up with sisters has undoubtedly turned me into the person I am today. Growing up with immigrant parents who moved to Australia from China, I leaned heavily on my older sister for guidance. She’d burn CDs of her favourite songs and I would devour them for hours. She’d read books and I would be patiently waiting to read them straight after. 

I see the same thing happening with my younger sister, who steals my clothes and asks for my opinion on everything. We study similar courses and our Spotify Discover Weeklys are always on par. 

Our childhood years have been immortalised through dances choreographed to Saddle Club songs, made-up games that would easily engulf an entire afternoon, and building blanket forts in the living room. A popular game in our household led by Cindy was ‘the cleaning game’ where she’d get us to clean the entire house and we’d eagerly oblige. A smart cookie, that one.

Cindy is also the only person in the entire world to keep the well-hidden secret of my most rebellious moment. She found me under her desk after I had stolen a Caramello Koala from Coles and she promised not to tell my parents. Her word was binding until this moment, when I decided to blast it on the Internet over a decade later. And boy, does it feel good to get that out of my system.

Love languages have shaped the way we view relationships and similarly, they apply to platonic love. As Pandora found that 67 per cent of Australians feel inspired to make more of an effort with loved ones, it’s worth considering how this love can actualise, especially in the midst of a pandemic. 

When Katie and I would sit down for a movie together, I’d write her a seasonal ‘menu’ which included whatever was in the pantry that my mum had bought that week. When we’d all play Monopoly together and Cindy was unequivocally conquering, she’d slip us some Monopoly green for tasks like moving her player around the board.

In whatever way you and your siblings communicate, tell them you love them. We often take for granted the easy conversations and banter that flow among the people we have known for our entire life. But without even realising it, these relationships have had a monumental impact on our lives today.

While Monopoly battles are few and far between now, random acts of kindness still occur. Pandora found that last year, 45 per cent of people have helped around the house, 39 per cent of people have complimented loved ones and 47 per cent of Aussies regularly check up on those around them by organising phone and video calls.

The love between sisters is sometimes overlooked, especially if you live under the same roof. Conversations start mid-sentence, deep conversations are clipped with, “What do you want on your toast?” and dressing gown dance parties are just a regular Thursday.

Sometimes you’re so preoccupied with grandiose gestures of love that you don’t even realise it’s actually there, right in front of you, in the plate of snacks your sister just brought over.

Are you looking to show someone your own little act of love? Pandora has released a beautiful capsule range of jewellery for Valentine’s Day, which you can browse here


Styling credits

MAGGIE WEARS / PANDORA MOMENTS HEART T-BAR BRACELET $99 WITH  VINTAGE CASSETTE DANGLE CHARM $49, SPARKLING FREEHAND HEART CHARM $39 AND METALLIC RED HEART CHARM $49, PANDORA CLASSIC CABLE CHAIN NECKLACE $39 WITH FRIENDS FOREVER DANGLE HEART CHARM $49, PANDORA CLEAR TILTED HEART SOLITAIRE RING $49 AND RED TILTED HEART SOLITAIRE RING $49 (STACKED)
KATIE WEARS / PANDORA SPARKLING SLIDER TENNIS BRACELET $99, PANDORA SPARKLING MARQUISE DOUBLE WISHBONE RING $89, PANDORA CLEAR TILTED HEART SOLITAIRE RING $49 AND PANDORA ROUND SPARKLE STUD EARRINGS $89
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