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.