Today is April 21, and you are now 21. Your golden birthday.
I remember looking at you when you were a small child, and thinking about the cold hard truth that you might grow up some day. I hated that thought. You were so adorable, with your red curls and happy giggles. I wanted you to be a baby forever, and I thought that perhaps, since you were nine years my junior, you’d always seem like a baby to me. That was the thought that consoled me.
But when you grew verbal, and I’d say to you, “you’ll always be my baby!” You’d get mad at me. Ha.
It’s funny to think about that, because as you grew older, I started treating you like a peer rather than a baby sister. You were twelve, and I’d drag you to college classes with me, and try to get you to come to youth group activities. We did all kinds of random stuff together. Remember when I was church shopping, and you went with me to that church in Harrisburg, and people asked us if we were high school students? But I was in college and you were in middle school? I always feel amused at that memory.
Today I went searching through an old hard drive, trying to find pictures of you when you were younger.
I don’t know how to sum up my relationship with you. I don’t know how to describe the feeling that you are my baby, and always will be, and I need to protect you. My biggest fear has always been that you would get hurt in some way.
Yet at the same time, I don’t know how to describe the way that you’ve been a friend and a peer to me, despite our age gap, even when you were quite young. From the very first, I’ve enjoyed hanging out with you. You always bring a fun time in your back pocket. Even in the worst times, when we fought constantly and you’d run to your room and slam the door in frustration, I always wanted to hang out with you again.
Do another project with you.
Invent a game out of fake jewels and egg cartons called “Ain’t No Mountain.”
Film a dumb video while wearing pink hats.
Go to town, and try to convince you that it wouldn’t be weird for you to walk through the Dutch Brothers’ drive through while I went next door to pick up the dry cleaning.
You’ve always been funny, and smart, and clever, and creative.
We’ve gone through a lot, for sure. We used to get so angry at each other, and I used to say such terribly unkind things. And I’ve probably embarrassed you an average of three times a week throughout the 21 years we’ve known each other.
But even though I’m that embarrassing big sister, I’ve always loved you. And like everyone else who knows you, your friendship has always enriched my life.
Stay gold, Jenny
Love, your big sister Emily