It's no secret that most siblings go through periods of loving and hating each other before they become best friends. My parents always told us "don't burn bridges with your sister, one day she'll be your best friend," and like most moody teenagers, I would roll my eyes and walk away.

How could I ever become best friends with this person who stole my clothes, who would flirt with the boys I liked, who had more friends than I ever would?

To my surprise, I went off to college, and my sister became my best and closest friend.

To my not-so-little-sister (yes, we're only 13 months apart. Thanks, mom!) who finally became my best friend,

I know I haven't said it enough over the last 18-years, but I love you. Please remember no matter how many times that I'll continue to say it now, I will always love you so much. Having a sister like you has not only been one of life's biggest challenges but one of its biggest blessings as well.

Thank you for teaching me so many lessons in our journey through life together. I know that they typically say 'learn from your older siblings' mistakes,' but let's be real, you've taught me a lot more than I could have ever shown you.

Thank you for being there for me when life gets hard. For being the only familiar face in the halls of every new school, and holding my hand after each heartbreak, I experienced. Thank you for the many late-night Steak 'n Shake runs, and hours spent with me shopping at the mall (because we both know how indecisive I get when it comes to clothes). For the times we've danced in the kitchen screaming Demi Lovato's greatest hits avoiding the piles of dishes and laundry to do before mom gets home.

These are some of the memories I will cherish forever.

Thank you for being the best secret-keeper and the person I know I can always trust the most. You've seen me at my best, but also my worst and yet you never fail to be there when I need you. Sometimes I feel like you know me better than I know myself. Thank you for accepting who I am as a person and supporting me even when others in our family do not.

Despite all of the stupid fights growing up over stealing each other's shoes or clothes or what time we were going to leave for school in the morning (that was a weird one), I don't know what I would do without you. My biggest regret in life is looking back and realizing how much time we lost fighting over the littlest things. I miss having you close to me.

Know that I'm always here for you, even if it's a 2 A.M Facetime call away. You can come to me with anything and everything. I know I don't tell you this enough, but I am so proud of who you are and the woman you are becoming.

Through both the good times and the bad, I will always be here supporting you, encouraging you, and loving you. Through thick and thin I will always be your big sister (even if it's only by 13 months) who loves you. No amount of distance, no fight, and no mistake could ever change that.

A few things I hope you always remember my dear sister: you are beautiful, smart, determined, passionate, and talented. You are so strong. Never forget that. You are so much more than you will ever believe yourself to be. You can conquer the world and reach any of the dreams that you set yourself out to achieve. I know you will! You are capable of so much more than you will ever know. Work hard, never give up.

Through everything that you do, in everything that you face, I will always be here supporting you. I am so proud of you. I can't wait to see you reach all of your dreams.

"The bond between sisters is probably the most competitive relationship within the family, but once the sisters are grown, it becomes the strongest relationship." - Margret Mead

I love you forever,

Your big sister