Years ago, my ex-brother-in-law coined the moniker “Streets Triad” for my two sisters and me. I like this because it connotes a kind of superhero-ish tribe, and it fits. Although he has long been expelled from the family because he just couldn’t hang, the Streets Triad carries on. We are a group of loud, strong, successful, quirky, neurotic forty-something women. The combination of us is intrinsic to who I am.
My sisters are among the most important people in my life and they are my best friends. They infuriate, aggravate, motivate, entertain, and comfort me in a way that only they can do, and without trying. It is a natural dynamic borne of having moved through childhood with one another as constant (and often unwelcome) companions. There has always been a zero-tolerance policy in our family for anything resembling pretension, and this is reflected in each of us. When we are together, the authenticity becomes so concentrated as to be overwhelming. The level of eccentric hilarity and strong-mindedness in any room occupied by the three of us is a thing to behold.
While we are different people in many ways, there are some unmistakable Streets Triad hallmark characteristics. The most obvious is extreme candor. For better or worse, you never have to wonder what a member of the Triad thinks of something. Over the years, we have all developed self-awareness that has tempered this quality. So, the occasions where we unwittingly offend, embarrass, or overshare are much less frequent than they used to be. But time has not changed the fundamental tendency of the Streets girls to be uncommonly direct. As anyone who has spent time with our family can attest, straightforwardness fills the space when we are together. The result is often uproarious; I suspect that the uninitiated walk away from their first triple Streets encounters with shell shock from having been exposed to such a high frequency of what many people consider “things you don’t say out loud”.
Along with our frankness, the Streets Triad shares an outlandish sense of humor. Laughter is the soundtrack at every get-together. The subjects that amuse us most tend to be lowbrow and juvenile, and no bystander is safe from our silliness. Just last month, Britt jokingly threatened our brother-in-law with a punch to the butthole, except she was inadvertently talking to a stranger who happened to be walking next to her. The three of us were doubled over with laughter at this for several hours that evening. This kind of thing is just what we do!
The Streets Triad embodies drive and strength. Two of us have trained for and completed Ironman triathlons. The third is retired from the Marine Corps at the ripe age of 44 after having achieved the rank of Lieutenant Colonel. We have successful careers. We are all at the tail-end of raising amazing kids. We have all handled the tribulations of divorce and rebuilding with fortitude and grace. When I think about it, I marvel at the job our parents did instilling in us this dauntlessness (they were definitely not the wholesome helicopter types).
The bond of sisterhood is substantial. When we fight, it is with ferocity. When we laugh, it is from the heart, because we are celebrating ourselves and each other. When I am afraid, the knowledge that they are in this world with unconditional love and support for me is a comfort like no other. Looking at them feels like seeing parts of myself in a mirror, and that reflection is beautiful.