One of the greatest blessings in my life that I too often take for granted is none other than the sole source of my headaches, the "second mom" I never asked for, the thief to my clothing and the one person who somehow gets on my last nerves like nobody else... ironically enough, she's also the only person who I know will always have my back. She's my go-to movie date, my pasta-making partner and the only person who can somehow put up with my antics. I'm so thankful that my parents blessed me with her as a lifelong partner in life, mostly because it's becoming increasingly likely that I may not find a man willing to put up with me for that long. (Kidding, kidding. I'm a catch.)
Really though - she's a sister by blood but a best friend by choice, and today I want to reflect a little bit on just how much of an impact she has had on my life. One thing to note is that she isn't the "gushy" type. In fact, I'm lucky if I get to kiss the side of her head (and I mean straight hair) good-bye each time we part ways... but I'm going to embarrass her anyway because today is a very special day... today is her BIRTHDAY. Twenty-two years on this planet and she's managed to deal with me for the majority of them. For that, she deserves to be celebrated.
When I think back to my memories with my sister, I think about just how much I have taken for granted. I think about all of the memories that I suddenly vividly remember now that I'm actually taking the time and energy to recall them, realizing how much I haven't taken the time to cherish lately. It's funny how change sneaks up on you, how years really do fly by...
Some of the first memories I have of my sister probably aren't her finest moments. From infamously dialing 911 to mindlessly allowing me to crawl out of my crib and into harm's way, she wasn't always the mature, responsible young lady you may know her as today; or sensible, for that matter. I mean, who bangs two glass piggy banks together and doesn't foresee one of them breaking? (Spoiler alert: mine broke and hers was fine. No, I don't hold grudges). Fast forward a few years and my beloved sister took up a new game that consisted of her playing time-keeper to see how quickly I could clean up our day's worth of toys scattered about. The lesson learned? Your sister does not always have your best interests at heart if it keeps her from having to do work!
While I look back now and kick myself for falling victim to her games, I'm also reminded of countless other memories. Being the energetic little girls we were, playing "tag" around the house was a must. Unfortunately, our game always inevitably ended with one of us retreating to our shared bedroom and slamming the door in victory, only to hear the pitiful sound of something breaking. Our poor mother had mounted the sweetest little porcelain angel on the outside of our door with nothing but pure intentions, only to come home to it being broken, yet again, and waiting to be hot-glued back together for the umpteenth time (sorry Mom!).
Despite causing trouble sometimes, we were generally well behaved and truly loved each other. Well, I loved her... so much so that being separated from her seemed impossible. Since going away to college, not seeing my sister for several months has become the new "normal"... but what about when I was 8 years old and my parents told me that for the very first time in my life, I wouldn't see her for 3 whole days? Upon hearing that she was going on this fifth-grade field trip to Sea Camp that was a tradition within my school district, all I could think about was what I would do without her. Dramatic, I know - it was only 3 days! However, up until that point, as an 8-year-old, I had spent all three-thousand days or so of my existence with her by my side; anything other than that was terrifying.
Sea Camp came and went, and soon we were both in middle school. The days of me making us late for elementary school had passed. It was then my duty to continue the tradition, consequently causing us to nearly miss the bus more times than she would have liked. Between the two of us, I had always been the one to live life "on-the-edge" and promptly received lectures for my negligence. No, not from my mother - from my big sister. "Honorary" mother, that is. The rest is a blur; after receiving her license and serving a few years as my personal chauffeur, my sister and I were soon both full-time students and working part-time jobs, on top of your typical extracurriculars.
Despite having schedules that didn't align well, time spent with family was always a priority for us. This meant that dinner was family-style even if it had to be served at 9 p.m. (which was honestly pretty typical). My sister has and will always be one of my biggest supporters and I can't truly express my gratitude for the impact that her encouragement has had on my life. Judging by the way she sat through countless crew regattas and never missed an award ceremony or event of mine, (despite how small or insignificant I assured her it was) it's clear that she always knew how important her presence was to me. Despite growing up to be very different people, I know that the relationship we share will last a lifetime and I cannot wait to continue to do this "annoying-little-sister" thing for as long as she'll let me.
On a final note, despite teasing about wanting an older brother or a younger sibling of my own in the past, let it be clear that after a childhood of receiving some not-so-desirable hand-me-downs, I wouldn't have wanted it any other way. To my sister Ljubianne: thank you for the lessons you've taught me. Thank you for always being such a strong supportive force in my life and for always motivating me to try harder, to be better. I don't say it enough, but I love you and appreciate you more than you know.
Most importantly - happy birthday and cheers to 22 years!