Dear big sis,
You were the first person to ever stick their tongue out at me, and give me my very first pinch. Ah, the memories. To be fair, I probably deserved it. Let's be honest, when we were little I was a pain in your butt. Being the younger child, I always got my way. I was a tattle-tale and I would hit you first and then go cry to Mom and Dad when you reciprocated. I practically breathed down your neck at all hours of the day, always wanting you to share your Barbies with me, or whatever other toy the older kids were playing with that week. I took all of the attention and could be a brat, and that's the truth.
So, really, I don't blame you for locking me in our hotel room at Disney World when I was a toddler. Looking back on it, I probably would have done the same thing if I was in your shoes.
What I never told you, though, was that the whole time all I cared about was seeking your approval. I wanted to be just like you. If you were wearing overalls and jelly shoes, I wanted to be wearing overalls and jelly shoes, too. You were my biggest role model, and I practically idolized you. I watched you grow up a little more every year and wondered what I would be like at your age.
While we're on that subject, I should probably thank you for being my live-in guinea pig over the years. You went through everything first, and you always paved the way for me to follow easily behind. I watched you leave on the bus for kindergarten so bravely by yourself, and two years later I got to hold your hand and wave to mom and dad from the bus window on my first day. I didn't have to go through anything blindly because you had been there and done that first, and you always helped me find my way, too.
You set the standards for me, which is no simple task. You were the one that had to fight for the later curfew, ask our parents to join sports teams and clubs, try to break through the awkward phase, learn the art of applying make up and beg for that flip phone that all of your friends were getting (which I ended up getting a year earlier than you did anyway -- being the youngest has its perks). All of those things came easily to me because of you.
I watched you get your first real boyfriend, you know, back when I still thought that boys had cooties. So inevitably, I was there for your first heartbreak. At the time I didn't understand what was so great about having a smelly boy hanging around you all of the time, and I definitely didn't know a single thing about being in love, but my heart ached for you anyway when I watched you cry yourself to sleep for weeks.
Years later, when the boys started taking a beating on my heart, too, you were always the first one I could really talk to about it. You would give me the biggest hug, tell me that everything was going to be okay, and promise to find the guy that hurt me and beat him up. You understood the pain I was going through and you have always been the most protective of my heart.
When you graduated from high school and took that leap of faith when you entered college I didn't know whether to feel happy or sad. On the one hand, I was practically in awe that you were making such big life decisions and becoming an adult so smoothly and quickly. But, I couldn't help but feel like I was losing a part of me in the process. I had spent my entire life living in the room next door to my role model and best friend, and I didn't know what I would do without you when you were gone (thankfully we live in the 21st century and cell phones and social media exist). All I knew was that I was proud of you, and hoped to be as successful and brave as you when it was my turn.
I got really lucky that God gave me a big sister. In reality, I got much more than just a sister; I got a life-long friend, therapist, confidante and, someday, a maid of honor. I am so thankful that I get to continue to grow up and grow old with someone like you by my side in the years to come.
I guess what I am trying to say is, thanks for pushing me around, giving me your hand-me-downs and holding my hand when I crossed the street. I wouldn't be the woman that I am today if I hadn't had you to look up to as a little girl. I am forever indebted to you for all that you have done for me. I will probably never be able to repay you for all of those years that I pulled your hair and got you in trouble for no reason, but I will give it my best shot. I love you sissy.
Your annoying little sister