I am blessed to be your older sister.

A Letter To My Younger Brother

Yes, I remember 17 years ago eating McDonald's at Nana and Poppy's and hearing them say, "You now have a little brother!"

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Do you ever wonder what it was like when you came into my world?

I can remember some of the feelings like it was yesterday.

Mom and dad told me I was going to have a little brother soon. They told me you were inside mom's belly. It never crossed my mind that you would be such an important part to my life. I was three years old at the time. I was running around, dancing, getting all the attention in the world.

When you came along, everything changed. Some good, some bad. I had a partner in crime. We could play together, cuddle together, dance together, and laugh together. However, some days I wanted ALL the attention. That was the only bad part.

Sorry for calling you "Dotty" for awhile in our childhood. Not sure where that name came from, but I LOVED torturing you with it. But, hey, you were a good sport!

You definitely got me back when you pooped on the floor on our first day in our house, and I stepped in it! Family vacations were a blast. "Playstation American Idol" was the best. Waking me up at 7 a.m. on Christmas was even better. You, my younger brother, were my partner in crime from day one.

As I went through some of my teen years, you were always there to make me laugh or back me up when I needed you to.

You always made sure you got me candy at the store if you got some. You rock!

You had some lucky moments. I am the first child, so parents definitely try it all and learn what works and doesn't. You have it easy, trust me!

Fast forward to right now. You are 6'3 towering over me. You are driving around town in your new car. You are applying to colleges. You are investing money into stocks.

My younger brother is not so young anymore!

I want to thank you for who you are. You are the most caring guy I know. You have a huge heart that spreads to many people. You are the biggest gentlemen. Dad taught you well, and you carry that with you everywhere you go.

My younger brother opens the car door for me. My younger brother pays for me at a restaurant. My younger brother speaks up for me when he needs to. There is nothing more I could ask for. Your hugs go a long way. You always say goodnight. You always answer my phone calls even when I'm ranting.

You are the best, Mike.

My younger brother is my best friend. He can hangout with my friends. He can always give good advice.

My family visited me at Penn State one weekend, and I took my younger brother out to a party. He was socializing and talking to everyone. One of my neighbors asked me, "What is his major?" I realized in that moment that my younger brother steps up to the plate and takes care of me as if he was older than me. He was introducing me to some people I never met. He was introducing himself and holding conversations with people 3-4 years older than him!

All in all, my whole life my younger brother has always been right by my side. I am pretty shy, and he is not afraid to talk to anyone or ask anyone for anything, even if it is for me. He has taught me many things and continues to do so each and every day.

As we are getting older, we are so excited for our future lives. We cannot wait to see each other's successes and be there for the struggles to.

I love you Michael. Thank you for all you do as a younger brother!

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I'm The Girl That's Best Friends With Her Grandparents

My Nan and Pap are my heart.
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To My Very Best Friends,

You guys are my world. You are the sweetest, kindest, most beautiful souls I have ever known. You are the most generous people in the world. You would do anything for anyone, and you never expect a thank you or any recognition. No one deserves to be recognized for their unbelievable kindness more than you two. I know that I could never find the words to thank you enough or to explain how much you truly mean or how great you really are, but I will do my very best for the very special people who give their utmost each and every day. I'm so proud to be the girl that's best friends with her grandparents.

So, Nan and Pap, here's to you:

Breakfast dates have always been our thing.

You have always brought us to the local diner for as long as I can remember. I cherish these dates. There is nothing more comforting to me than to walk into that restaurant and see your smiling faces sitting in the booth near the window. You guys listen to every word I have to say, and care about every little detail of my life. Sitting across from you with the morning sun shining on your faces melts my heart and brings so much peace to my soul. I can not even tell you how special these times are for me. I get to press pause on the pressures of the world and sit down and laugh with you guys. You are always just happy to be with each other, and happy to spend time with me. I love you so much for the beautiful souls you are.

You believe in me.

You believe in my writing, and you support my dreams. You read every single one of my articles, and are quite certain I'll write a book someday. If I ever make it, if I ever achieve my dream of becoming an author, I will dedicate every word, cover to cover to you two. You guys have cheered me on my whole life, and held me together every single day, through the worst times and the brightest. You are my rock. You guys have been a constant throughout my entire life. You have always been by my side. I can always count on you. I have always been able to run to you guys. Growing up, you were right next door so I was lucky enough to run up the grassy hill and come bounding into your house. Even now at 22, I find myself driving out to your house several times a week running right into your arms. You have always been home to me.

You guys are my everything.

You're my voice of reason, my smile, my sunshine every day. Your laughs bring so much joy to my heart. You are my protectors and safe haven. You are my sense of direction and every ounce of faith I have. Your kindness humbles me beyond words. Your love for me has given me more than I could ever ask for. It is everything I am. No one can make me laugh, or comfort me like you two. You are every bit of reassurance I have in everything life throws my way. You are my confidence. You hold me together, and you are my drive to succeed in this life. Your strength has been my greatest inspiration

I cherish each and every moment spent with you guys. I appreciate you more than I could ever say, and I love you with all of my heart.

"I love you as big as the sky!"

Love,

Your Granddaughter

Cover Image Credit: Hayley Gulesian

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To The Sister About To Move Away, Girl, You've Got This

You may not physically be here right now, but you're always with our family.

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You were there on the day I was born, somehow sleeping soundly as our mom gave birth to me. I'll never forget the photograph of her presenting me to the world and you sitting beside her, holding up your newly-purchased beanie baby with pride as if being handed this toy was equal to the miracle of birth.

It was a crab, by the way, which somehow makes it funnier.

Growing up, you loved to trick me. You'd make me do chores for you and steal my favorite Barbies, but I think that's just part of being an older sister. I'd stick my tongue out at you and cry out the same phrase, "Mooooom, Sissy is being mean to me!" In fact, I yelled this phrase so often that it began to take on a musical quality.

You were mean at times, but you always had my back. You physically beat up other children that had wronged me, and you let me crawl into your bed so we could watch TV together and exchange stories. We'd often immerse ourselves in fantasy worlds where we were princesses and we rode unicorns side-by-side.

But we grew up, and our fantasy world evaporated like the muddy puddles we'd play in after stormy nights. One second it was there, and then, it was just gone. I remember having a conversation a few years back where we wondered if we had known the last time we played Barbies would, in fact, be our last.

When I was a seventh grader, you were a junior in high school. Our problems were very different back then, but that didn't stop us from talking endlessly about them. We were so similar. We bonded over cheerleading, cute boys, books and music. But even more than that, we bonded over our similar life views and questions about the universe. We both possessed an innate love for life yet we were both distrustful of society's guidelines.

Watching you enter new life phases enthralled me. I thought, Wow, that will be me someday. I danced around the house in each of your four prom dresses, my imagination taking me to a place much grander than a high school gymnasium. Through your stories, I romanticized the future and hoped that I would be as cool as you.

It was a little tough at times, though, always longing for a different part of life. When I entered junior high, all I wanted was to be in high school. When I entered high school, I decided college was much cooler because that's what you said. And you were certainly right about that one.

You were the only one I felt comfortable sharing my writing with, the only one I knew could read the meaning behind my sideways glances. We just got each other in every way.

And we still do. To this day, you are one of the people I love and trust most. I don't know what I am going to do without you by my side, as you've been right there for 20 years. But I'm so proud of you. Of the many things we would lay around and talk about throughout the years, one topic persisted: moving away. Moving used to be a pipe dream, something beautiful that lived in your mind but would never come to pass.

And then you took a chance. And now that dream is a reality.

I want you to know how much I admire you. You are so incredible and resilient. I've never met anyone so strong-minded and willing to fight for what she believes in. You would never compromise yourself or your values for another person, but you are generous with others and so kind-hearted.

You are curious about the world and have a desire to learn about life and the richness it has to offer. That is a special quality that cannot be learned. You are beautiful in every way and are truly a blessing to have as a sister.

And it is from these very qualities and so many others that I know you will do great on your own. Sure, it's super tough at first; nobody said it would be easy. But if anyone can do it, then that person is certainly you.

I will always cherish our moments together, and you can always count on me to be there on the sidelines cheering you on, no matter where your adventure takes you.

Much love,

Your Little Sis

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