“Sister. She is your mirror, shining back at you with a world of possibilities. She is your witness, who sees you at your worst and best, and loves you anyway. She is your partner in crime, your midnight companion, someone who knows when you are smiling, even in the dark. She is your teacher, your defense attorney, your personal press agent, even your shrink. Some days, she’s the reason you wish you were an only child.”
Cole, this one is for you.
June 12th, 1995–a little blonde-haired, blue-eyed baby is born into the world and my hopes of keeping my parents’ full attention are crushed. A couple weeks into this little baby’s life and she is already fully occupying mom and dad’s days because SHE WON’T STOP CRYING. Lord help us, I may never get sleep ever again. Eye roll x10.
Fast forward a few years and I might as well just not exist because SHE’S STILL CRYING….and SCREAMING AT THE TOP OF HER LUNGS. Not to mention, she is not afraid to throw a temper tantrum in the middle of Home Depot. So embarrassing. I don’t know who’s family she belongs to. Also, can she stop having adorable bleach blonde hair?! She’s making me look bad.
A few years later– I guess she’s okay. All she wants to do is follow me and my friends around though. Mom says I have to let her hang out with us because she looks up to me or something like that. We like to fight with each other and she’s got a pretty mean claw on her (my under left eye scar is proof). Of course, mom and dad say that I’m the big sister so I should know better than to fight with her. She’s apparently an angel–she’s too good at this. Eye roll again x20.
FINALLY, she reaches high school. I thought this time would never come. She finally is starting to get it and our 5 year age gap is slowly closing. I watch her trek through the hardships of these years–trying to avoid peer pressure, dating some boys I wouldn’t have handpicked for her, learning how hard school can actually be, and just trying to grow up. I help her pick out her dresses for her school dances and do her makeup for prom, all the while watching her transform before my eyes. So what if my parents let her get a cell phone at an earlier age than I did or let her off easier with punishments, I’m definitely not bitter one bit (jk duh, I SO am). The end of high school comes and goes and she has chosen to live out her dream of becoming a division 1 athlete. It’s crazy to think she is even going off to college, let alone making grown-up decisions about life.
Enter UMBC–college is here for her. Her wardrobe suddenly is swarmed with a plethora of yellow and black. This time I watch her take on some new battles–balancing school and her sport, learning how to live with roommates, being away from her old friends, figuring out what her next step in the world will be, and experiencing life beyond the walls of her hometown. I get phone calls on a regular basis with her freaking out about how “awful” she did on her past test, only to find out she aced the thing (how does she always manage to pull out an A?!). Since I had a hard time with my undergraduate degree, I admire how seemingly easy it is for her to be a perfect student while also playing softball 24/7. I try to dry her tears as she learns that the game she loves to play sometimes demands her to love it from the bench. I watch her persevere through the hard times and continue to work to be the best she can be no matter what others think or say. Now in front of my eyes, I see a strong woman. A woman who leads by example, strives for perfection even when she knows it isn’t attainable, sometimes is a litttttle too hard on herself, but does everything with passion and determination…from her heart.
Today, she played her last game of competitive softball ever. In 2 weeks, this same strong woman will walk across the stage to graduate from college. Her journey doesn’t end there, She will continue on with that same grit and determination to tackle her next challenge– PT school. After seeing how she has handled college and adversity in general throughout life, I know she is bound to kick butt in the next stage like she always does. I pity the person who ever tries to stand in her way.
Cole, I know I’m not always the best sister. Sometimes I don’t answer my phone as often as I should, sometimes I don’t know the best things to say to make you feel better, and sometimes our type B and type A personalities don’t work well together. I just want you to know that no matter how far we are apart or how mad I am at you for something stupid, I will always, always be your big sister. I will always be here to laugh with you, to cry with you, to encourage you, and also to tell you when you’re wrong. I will continue to be one of your biggest fans in everything you do and please know that I am constantly rooting you on from the sidelines. Take full advantage of the opportunities you have been given and bloom wherever you are planted. Love you to the moon.
Until next time, keep on the sunny side.