“Hey Emily, guess what?” My little sister stood in my doorway at 11:02 last night.
“This may be the last time you’ll see me as a 16-year-old.”
Maybe not so little, after all.
“Not if we hang out for a while,” I said.
She sat on my bed and we started chatting. I don’t even know what about.
“Let’s take a selfie,” she said.
“But I still have that white stuff in my eye.” I’d been doing an odd experimental eye treatment.
“I’ll cover it up for you.”
We took a selfie.
Jenny is almost nine years younger than me, and when she was born, seventeen years ago today, I didn’t think that we’d end up being best friends. I thought that she would be the little sister, and I would be the big sister, and there would always be a large nine-year gulf between us.
I was wrong.
I never wanted to be the person who was still living at home at age 25. I really value my independence. I was on my own for a couple years, but I was too ill to support myself and my mental health was in shambles and I wanted to go to college so I came back.
As much as I love my family to pieces, I always thought I would move out again if it were at all financially possible. Because independence.
Something interesting happened though, and I truly believe it was God redeeming a situation that I found very difficult. I became best friends with my little sister. The nine year gap became nothing. We learned to work through all our weird sibling issues. We had piles of fun.
So Jenny, on your 17th birthday, here are 17 things I love about you:
- I love your love of learning.
- I love your artistic side and fantastic sense of style.
- I love your wacky sarcastic humor.
- I love all our inside jokes.
- I love that you are unafraid to bash stereotypes. That you simultaneously embrace being geeky and girly and sporty, reading romance novels and solving math problems and doing cardio in your spare time.
- I love that you like to have spontaneous adventures.
- And sleepovers.
- And that we still play truth or dare.
- I love that you give me your honest opinion when I ask you what you think of my outfit.
- Or when I ask what you think of anything, really. Even guys. Especially guys.
- I love that you like to discuss the interesting oddities of life with me.
- I love all the interesting YouTube videos you find and share with me.
- I love the way you like what you like, whether or not it’s “cool.”
- I love that you’re not afraid to tell me when I’ve hurt your feelings.
- And that we can talk about everything.
- I love your unique perspective on life.
- I love that you are my sister and my friend.