Tomorrow is my sister's 34th birthday. I felt it was fitting to dedicate a blog post to just her because as a mother of two little girls herself, there is rarely anything that is just for her lately.
My sister and I are the children of two late bloomers. I still don't quite understand the dynamic of my parents' relationship, but nonetheless, regardless of the issues they had, they gave me the greatest gift; my sister. And the funny thing is, that even then, as a not-quite three year old, I loved her with all my heart.
My sister and I have endured together every facet of human emotion imaginable and we love each other in spite of every fault and personality defect that we possess. Perhaps it is because we had some connection in a past life, but to me, there is no greater ally or confidante than Angie.
I have always been fiercely protective of my sister. She will argue that in many ways, I have been her mother. She allowed me to hone in on those skills so that I could be a better mother to my own sons. There has never been any mistake or disappointment that could dim my love for her. There has never been anything that I wouldn't do for her...
When I was pregnant with my first son, I found out only days after her 24th birthday. When I had my first child, my sister was not in the hospital to meet Matthew right away. She was completing her Student Teaching, getting ready to graduate. But, she was the first one I called when I went into labor, she kept vigil throughout that long second night of labor. After I came out of the operating room early that morning, she was the first one I called, my voice choked with emotion of sharing such a momentous occasion with her. She has loved him, and all my kids as if they were her own.
I never quite understood the bond she shared with them until she became pregnant with my oldest niece, Alexandra. I understood the hyper-vigilance of her being, of worrying incessantly that she and the baby would be okay. I understood the joy of becoming an aunt of this precious little girl who will soon turn two and has changed me so profoundly. And when she had Allison 13 months later, I fell in love with this newest beautiful piece of my sister.
It is hard being the oldest child. You are constantly trying to break through a protective barrier your parents set up for you. But, in seeing Angie struggle to gain her independence, I think it is even more difficult to be the youngest. Because your parents are holding on like hell to keep you close to them, to keep you the baby.
As the oldest, you always view your younger sibling as just that; younger. But as Angie approaches her mid-thirties (!), I am reminded of the date on my own calendar. How is she not in her carefree twenties anymore? How and when did we become adults?
Angie has overcome so much. She lost our dad way too young, has watched our mother deteriorate in mind, body and spirit. She has been the cheerleader for so many. And yet, for as much as she has endured, she is the most positive, loving person I know. She is a constant inspiration to me, as I know she will be to her daughters.
I am thankful for many things in my life. I am thankful for my loving husband, my spirited, healthy sons, my beautiful nieces, the loving family God has blessed me with. But I am especially grateful for my beautiful little sister...Without her, I would not be the person I am today.
Angie, I love you! I hope you have the happiest of birthdays tomorrow and I can't wait to celebrate with our husbands and mess of kids! We are so lucky to have you!