“If you don’t understand how a woman could both love her sister dearly and want to wring her neck at the same time, you were probably an only child.” – Linda Sunshine
I am the oldest of four girls in my family. Sisters are all I’ve ever been equipped for, and I’m honestly not sure we would’ve known what to do with a brother. A household of girls growing up probably sounds like a nightmare to some (and on occasion, did feel that way), but I sincerely couldn’t have imagined a different or better upbringing. I know that all siblings are intended to be each others’ first best friends, but that’s managed to become my reality instead of simply being an overdone cliché.
Each one of my sisters is totally unique in their own prospective ways, yet we somehow manage to all come together and click as if we were all parts of the same whole – which we always are, at the end of the day. Being the oldest of the bunch has provided me powerful insight that I may not have obtained otherwise, and even though there have been times that it’s driven me up the wall, I am thankful for them all now because of the way it’s transformed me and formed our relationships into what they are, individually and as a single unit. Growing older has and will inevitably continue to physically force us apart for a variety of reasons, and given that circumstance, I felt this was the best way to publish something I’ve been wanting to tell you guys for a long time now.
Dear Erika, Hannah, and Melanie,
I’m not entirely sure where to start on this one. There are constantly a million things running through my mind at all times, and I’ve somehow struggled to find the right words to explain what I’m trying to for a little bit now, though this is a piece I committed myself to writing months ago. I guess I can begin with the obvious, and that is that there will never be enough words in the English language to describe how much I absolutely adore being your big sister. You’ll never be able to understand the depths of that love, and that’s okay. Sometimes I think it’s for me and me alone to thoroughly comprehend.
The young adults you all are slowly but surely growing into is inspirational to me; the qualities you each possess gives me hope in an often despairing world for future generations of women to come. Your independence is unparalleled, and your tenacity (sometimes disguised as hardheadedness) is a gift, believe it or not. Growing up, not a single on of you were especially “bad” – that I can remember now – or did anything notably disapproving over the years that can stick out in my mind. You maintain wonderful grades academically (one has even gone onto higher education where I myself didn’t take advantage of that opportunity), have hearts of gold all around with the personalities to match, and haven’t been too terribly “boy crazy”. We never gave Mom too hard of a time.
You depend on no one in this world but yourselves, and are more than confident in your worth without needing the validation of that from someone else. You know that you are capable of whatever you want in this lifetime and effectively plan how to get yourself there. And better yet still, you make those plans and dreams reality. I’ve never met a more ambitious group of young people in my life, and I could not be more honored to share your same DNA. I watch you guys grow into strong(er), (more) badass ladies with each passing day, and it’s so refreshing to me in a world where too often people are taken advantage of and lose their identity in or for those around them. In fact, I watch you all own what took me 22 years to build within myself with ease from the very start.
It hasn’t always been rainbows and sunshine. In fact, I can remember a dark age of cat fights – okay, some of which wasn’t all that long ago – verbal assaults, and even a time or two where things have gotten physical. (Remember when I mentioned a houseful of women could also sound nightmarish? No exaggeration.) I wasn’t able to sincerely appreciate my sisters in the way I do now until my late teenage years. There were plenty of growing pains along the way, especially with our wide age span, and it was something I only fully understood the value of as I neared adulthood. The diversity of each of our personalities that used to drive me nuts I now encourage and hope to see continue in the years going forward. That’s not to say we’ll always see eye-to-eye going forward or never have an argument again; it simply means that despite those differences, I couldn’t imagine and wouldn’t want my life any other way.
The thing I’ve struggled with the very most with my impending move out West has been the fact that I will no longer be anywhere close geographically to everything and everyone I know in love – but more specifically, I’ll be on what might as well be the other side of the world from you guys. Hannah and Mel are only a short flight away as it is, but moving the furthest away from us all physically pains me. While an exciting and wonderful opportunity, it breaks my heart at the same time. If there’s anything I’ve ever been able to consistently count on in this life, it’s been that no matter what I’ve had to face in it, at the end of the day, I’m always able to complain about or celebrate it with my sisters – the only genuine forever friends I’ve been blessed with. My pity party is in no way indicative of how I anticipate you all to be in my absence; I know good and well that you will continue to kick a$$ and take names in all you do with me near or far. My sadness is merely an undeniable acknowledgment that things are changing, and that this is just the beginning of the countless ones undoubtedly still to come. But I know that not even miles will change the bond we all share that I thank God for every day.
Of the many titles I hold in my lifetime, “sister” – namely all of yours – would definitely rank in my top favorites. I adore and cherish each of you for more reasons than I can physically list off. Watching you grow up all of these years has been an honor and I am so excited to see where the future takes you guys. I will always be your biggest fan and supporter when you need it, but I’ll always be sure to speak the sense you may not want to hear, either. I can’t wait to watch you take over the world in whichever way(s) you guys choose. Thank you for being the only consistency I’ve ever had. I love you always, sh*theads.