You crashed my party a mere 3 years and 4 months into my role as “only child”. I don’t remember much about you as an infant, but I distinctly remember mom walking in to the farmhouse from the hospital with you all bundled up in your tiny little blanket. She told me to sit down and placed you in my lap. I think I thought you were my gift – that you belonged to me and I could do with you what I pleased. And then you started to cry and I realized I liked my quiet babies way better than this loud, wrinkled one. Yet you remained.
Once you were old enough to play (and by play, I mean follow my directions), I started to see a use for you. It was entertaining to stuff your footie pajamas full of pillows and push you down like a weeble wobble as you laughed. Or maybe I was the one laughing…it’s fuzzy. You endured years of little sister hazing, and to your credit, you rarely told on me. We had the greatest imaginations, hunting dinosaurs in the back yard, making stews out of pine needles, moss and mud, pretending to be grown ups and smoke fake cigarettes (cue banjo music), creating Barbie houses out of cardboard and letting Jon’s cars live there too…you let me pretend to be a hair stylist with your actual hair, a decision we both regretted for very different reasons; we figured out together that pressing crayons against the wood stove created spectacular rainbow wax drippings down its side – a decision we would both regret for the SAME reason.
On October 2, 1991, we were both officially teenagers and for the next several years nurtured a mutual hatred for one another. Our peaceful times were few and far between as we jockeyed for the attention of our parents by misbehaving and blindly navigated life to our own detriment many times. It felt like we would never again be friends, and then Addison and Cecilia happened. Not only did those girls save our lives individually, but their presence also gave us a shared experience from which to build what we have now. Although unplanned by us, our girls served a divine purpose in both our lives. I believe without them we would have spiraled down a path much worse than the ones we’ve found ourselves on. Through every self-created crisis, every instance that brought us to our knees through no fault of our own, every difficult circumstance, we had something bigger than ourselves to live for and a friend with whom to share both our grief and happiness.
You are my constant, my best friend, my confidant…my little sister. Today I celebrate your kindness, your quirky personality, your humor, your beauty, your inability to focus, your obsession with throwing things away…I honor the sacrifices you have made for your girls, the authentic love you share with all who know you…I admire your tenacity, your intelligence, your gift of communication, your child-like faith. I kneel at the foot of the cross with you, Alyssa, and I thank God for allowing me to be your big sister and your forever friend. We both want so much to just get life right for once, but I think maybe in many ways we already have. Happy birthday! I love you.