Since I can remember it has always been "Amy - John and their four wine-ing daughters," whining intentionally spelled that way because when you have four girls, you're bound to need a glass (or bottle) of wine at the end of a long day. To be honest I give major props to my mom and dad for surviving the challenges that came with having a big family of females. Being the fourth and last one to leave the nest and soon graduate college has proven the selflessness, dedication, and love they have offered unconditionally.
Although I award the majority of my character and success to them. It wasn't without three very special individuals that I would be where I am today. That is my three gorgeous, inspiring, annoying, crazy, and loving older sisters.
Life doesn't come with an instruction manual or day to day schedule. No one is constantly there telling you what to do or where to go. When you have older siblings though, sometimes it feels like you've got a cheat sheet to the future. My sisters and I are all three years apart, so needless to say I faced life nine years ahead of my time. I "started" college when I was nine, slept in dorm rooms, faced heartbreak, learned to do my hair and makeup, drove a car, played varsity sports, and got a job all by the time I entered middle school. When it was actually my opportunity to take drivers ed, go to college, get my heart broken and doll myself up for a night out - I already felt like a pro. I knew what to expect, how to handle it, and exactly where to go when I needed someone to cry to, brag to, or seek guidance from.
When you give a girl an older sister - She learns strength
She is tall, slightly intimidating and never afraid to voice her opinion. A collegiate volleyball athlete ranked nationally for her skills in hitting and blocking, you do not want to mess with Brittany.
When I was little I looked at strength as being a predominantly male trait. To me, strength spawned masculinity. Today my view of strength is completely different. Getting to travel to tournaments and watch Brittany as she played volleyball so defensively and with such passion was inspiring. The way she jumped with a spring-like force and slammed the ball was almost terrifying to watch. To be on the other side of that net must have been an honest nightmare for some of those girls.
Her endurance and power remained both on and off the court. Every moment we got to play volleyball or workout together was an opportunity to gain for me. Like she hit the ball at the girls on the opposing team, she would hit the ball at me. In order to be the best you have to practice the hardest and endure the most pain. Running was never an easy task. Being being 5'10 and running with a girl who is 6'2 meant that for every one step of hers, I had to take three to keep up. By the end of every workout session, I was exhausted.
Through all the trials Brittany placed on my life I learned that any and every force of power against me both physically and mentally becomes a challenge to accept. When you feel like you're being pushed too hard, take a breath, and push back harder. Strength is no longer a sign of masculinity to me but more so a sign of survival and success.
When you give a girl an older sister - She learns compassion
Naturally beautiful and skinny, a smile that will light up a room. She walks around with her heart on her sleeve offering help to anyone that needs it. Sarah is the definition of love.
Throughout the course of my life, Sarah has been an anchor. While the sands around me shift and move, Sarah continues to hold tight to the bittersweet moments and memories, constantly reminding me of the love she has for me and for my family. Her reminder always begins with a single sentence, "I remember the first time I held you." Then from there she continues telling me of the time my mom asked her to carry me to my father and instead she just held me tight. Even today she continues to hold me close.
She is the one that puts others needs before her own. She gives freely and expects nothing in return. Growing up she selflessly gave her time to be there for me. She sat in car rider lines to pick me up from school. She attended sporting events. She made soup for me to bring back to college during the winter. She wrote countless notes and shoved them in as many random places as possible when I left the country for a week in Spain and again when I moved to Italy. She always has a granola bar ready for me when I get to work after classes. She is a giver and the unconditional love she has for others never fails. She deserves to receive as much compassion as she pours out.
I may not be fantastic at showing my love and helping others the way Sarah does but I hope one day I will be. I don't care if people remember me by my name, I just want to be remembered by the girl that offered a smile, helping hand, or bit of brightness when the day seemed dark. I want love to flow freely from my heart. I want to be better at giving graciously.
When you give a girl an older sister - She learns knowledge
Don't let her long blonde hair fool you, her intellect is endless and her drive unstoppable. When she sets her mind to something, she doesn't stop until she achieves it. Nurse Emily has dedicated her knowledge and desire to learn to helping those in need.
Emily and I have by far spent the longest time together. She was my first real roommate, sleeping beside me for many years in our twin beds. To be honest, she is also my biggest competition. Throughout life Emilys academic success has been unbeatable. Her passion for Biomedical Technology and Health Science inspired her to become a nurse and as a result I needed to be a doctor. If she got into a school club or athletic team, I was right behind her striving to do the same. I joined The Health Occupation Students Club and ran for President in hopes I would achieve the title like her. I initiated into honors society to earn the cords and recognition like she earned. When that didn't feel adequate enough, I joined summer school and spent my free days taking classes to get ahead. My greatest achievement would be graduating high school early, with one or two more cords than her around my neck.
Don't get me wrong though, it's not about those cords that are now packed away in storage. It's about her influence. She knew as an older sister that she needed to set a standard for me. She worked diligently in order to prove that success is only achievable through dedication, commitment, and a desire to learn. She gave me pep talks when I was down, helped me with homework when I struggled, and encouraged me to take the harder classes or join the new club to build my character and mind.
The strides I have made to put my education as a priority in my life is a result of Emilys success. The overall joy she gets from following her dreams to help others is what drives me to work toward a career that will give me the same satisfaction. I may not want to become a doctor of medicine (thankfully because Biology is not my strong suit) but I do hope to earn a Juris Doctorate in law. Only a step up the totem pole from Emilys astounding achievements.
When you give a girl three older sister - She has a family for life
Yes, we fight and drive our parents and each other up the wall. Yes, we steal each others clothes. Yes, we have held grudges and lost our temper. Yes, we have shouted the words I hate you multiple time. We are not the poster children even when we some how coordinate for Easter Sunday Mass. We are the exact opposite of perfect. We are so imperfectly us. We build off of each others personalities, experiences and goals. We encourage and cheer one another on. We constantly remind one another that we're a family. We've been to hell and lost our way but we remained a single unit. A single force driven by strength, compassion, and knowledge.
I can guarantee that neither of my parents ever planned to have four girls, let alone four children. I can tell you it isn't easy but from the words of my father. "I wouldn't trade my four beautiful girls for anything" and from the words of myself "when you give a girl three older sisters, she's got everything she could ever need."
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