To my baby sister on her 21st birthday

25th March 2016

I don’t recall begging our parents for another sibling. I had one of those. He was my dinosaur bone seeking, bike ramp building, lava monster avoiding, best friend.

But the day you arrived, that changed.

It was a different kind of Christmas morning to wake up and have your aunt share the news: you were big siblings and a baby sister was coming home. We had never been prouder, Erik and I.

As you began to walk, talk, run and pull bows out of your hair, it became clear that we were destined to be opposites. I coveted dresses, you despised them. I kept shy, you stole the show. For years, our relationship was grounded more often in yelling than rainbows and hugs.

We heard it over, over and over again: someday she’ll be your best friend.

I can report that bit is true, moms never make mistakes. Here we are, not tiptoeing, but sauntering through our twenties, side by side. I had an inkling we would reach this point, but no amount of family stories can prepare you for what I’ve encountered.

You are my opposite in nearly every way, and I thank God every day for that. In some way, with seven less years on this Earth, you’ve taught us all more than a thing or two and for that, thank you.

Thank you for reminding me to never accept anything but the best. Be that friends, former boyfriends, or a great pair of shoes. Never lose your incredibly high standards, the rest of the world could stand to meet them.

Thank you for showing me that confidence is the best thing a girl can wear. You astonish us all with your ability to command a room, hold your head high and stand your ground, no matter who or what you are up against.

Thank you for constantly pulling me back down to earth and stressing the importance of a good day spent in bed, wearing leggings instead of pants and reminding me that yes, it can wait, Sweet Home Alabama is on T.V.

As you celebrate your 21st birthday, my wish for you is to never cease your ability to make us all to be a little braver, more rambunctious and more compassionate in every moment we encounter. Cheers to endless taco date nights, champagne toasts, movie nights and crossing our fingers that no soul encounters our judgmental gif conversations.

7,671 days after day one, I’m just as proud to wear that big sister title, if only I still had a t-shirt to go with it. Happy Birthday.



Lessons in Investing from Miss Sandra

14th February 2016

During my sophomore year at UGA I mustered up the courage to step away from the University meal plan. It only lasted four days.

While I’m certain I was one of the very few on campus who took advantage of prepared dining hall meals past my twenty-first birthday, the food wasn’t the only perk. There was the omni-present offer of lunch dates, the late night cereal runs and of course, the staff.

Last month, I stumbled upon a blog post from Yik Yak with a familiar face who I hadn’t thought of in quite some time: Miss Sandra. You can read the Yak’s story for yourself, but if you aren’t familiar, Miss Sandra works the checkin counter at Snelling, UGA’s most centrally located and 24-hour dining hall.

Miss Sandra sees thousands of students every week and she’s been loving on them for years. While the hugs are fantastic, I never considered that she actually remembered each one she dole out.

Today, P and I celebrate our second married Valentine’s Day and in 2016 we’ll celebrate a decade since we started dating. After a lengthy breakup our sophomore year, Miss Sandra was the first to notice when we passed the card swipe station in Snelling together.

A different kind of smile spread across her face and her greeting was new, “oooh ya’ll are dating again aren’t you?” She didn’t just recognize us, she remembered us, together.

I’d like to think we could walk in today and she’d still remember us, though it wouldn’t matter if she didn’t. Miss Sandra hasn’t just mastered kind, she’s mastered what it means to invest in being kind. And according to Yik Yak, she’s still at Snelling, investing in each student who walks through her door in the same way, almost a decade later.

P and I shortly after our first Valentine’s Day in 2007


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The Treasures in Our Pockets

18th January 2016

I hate the cold. I despise it. My body despises it. As a measure of precaution, I live in the South, where we list our wintry sixty degree days as a perk. So this morning, when I checked the weather to find it felt like a balmy 20 degrees out, I went to work from the comfort of my down comforter.

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As the hours passed and the guilt rose, I got up the courage to head to the closet and pick out as many layers as possible, determined to keep my word to myself to lace up for five miles.

At the back of my closet, I stumbled upon the Better Sweater. A few winters ago, I saved up to buy this cozy little vest. While its name should ring full of blissful adventures, over the years it has become my last ditch resort for keeping warm on a chilly morning run. I zipped it up, put my hands in its fuzzy pockets and found a single stick of chapstick.

As a kid, I would hide little trinkets in the pockets of my winter coats. Barbie shoes, a dollar, a 25¢ ring, it didn’t matter the value, but more the reminder. It was as if some brilliant figure from the past had sent treasures into the future to say “I don’t care how miserable it is out there, look at these awesome things we used to have!” Those Barbie shoes had been gone a year, so naturally this was a sign of something good to come. The treasures were my way of reminding myself that it wasn’t going to be all doom and gloom for the next four months.

In this scenario chapstick is grown up treasure, until it isn’t. Chapstick means I probably I went for a run, my nose tried to fall off and I couldn’t feel my face for three days. This is what we have to look forward to, Better Sweater, Chapstick and I, no noses and sore faces.

I begrudgingly laced up my shoes, zipped up the Better Sweater, took one last deep breath and zipped out the door.

I’m home now, five miles faster, and while my nose did try to fall off, the Chapstick was a true treasure. It’s a reminder that when you get your butt out the door, the miles aren’t nearly as bad as you make them out to be. As an extra perk, Chapstick does soothe red lips and sore noses miraculously fast, and I don’t know how it does it.

Next time your brain tries to trick you into thinking treasures are for suckers, remember someone in your past put them there for a reason. Oh and Spring, you can come any time now.

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