My sister and I have not always been close, mostly because there was a 16-year age gap between us.
My brother and I are 15 months apart. That was . . . interesting. For the first few years, I picked on him. He was my human baby-doll. Then we hit about four/five, and he got taller and stronger than me.
From that point on, we fought like cats and dogs. If there was a plastic sword within 10 feet, he had most likely already whacked me with it and gotten in trouble with my Nana!
To make matters worse, when we were older, we shared all the same friends. I dated one of his close friends, and he dated mine. Still, we fought like cats and dogs. Now, let me say, we are now in our thirties, and he is a police officer and my hero! I have nothing but respect and admiration for him.
My brother and his wife are my best friends. . . it just took a while.
My brother and I are 15 months apart, but my brother and sister are 15 years apart. For 16 years, it was just the two of us. Then, one morning, everything changed!
So there we sat eating our cereal when mom suddenly announced that they needed to tell us something. She slowly slid a pregnancy test across the table. Me, being a teenage girl, giggled and got excited. I loved babies. My brother, being a teenage boy, looked over at it and shrugged. As he gobbled down his next bite of cereal, he said, “What’s that mean?”
Nine months later, our lives flipped upside down. She was the missing piece that we never knew was missing. She was the biggest surprise ever, but also the best. It was hilarious though, to see people’s reactions. I swear half of our hometown still thinks that she was mine.
I used to tell my mom that I wanted a hat that said “I’m the sister.”
The next few years were filled with diapers, potty seats, Elmo goes Potty, the Backyardigans, lots of love, and lots of laughs. But, I loved this little girl more than I had ever thought possible.
A few weeks after her 2nd birthday, I left for college, and I felt so disconnected from her. She was a toddler, but I wasn’t even there. Fast forward a few years, the family followed me to Pensacola, and she was here with me all the time. But even then, I hated it. I hated that I felt like we would never have a real sister relationship. Why? Because she was a kid, I was an adult. I honestly felt more like her mom! (Disclaimer: She is in fact my sister—just to lay any small-town rumors to rest! Haha!)
The age difference has caused several hurdles in our relationship. I mean, when you go through marriage or infertility struggles, it’s not like you can call up your 10-year-old sister and chat about it!
At times, our age difference made relating to each other difficult. It also made the relationship strained at times because I would treat her like one of my students or like my child. No 14-year-old wants to put up with that!
But some good things have come from the age difference. For example, even though it has been (allegedly) almost 20 years since I was her age, we have been able to connect on things that she is going through.
One way that we do this is through a notebook. We have a hardbound journal that we pass back and forth. When I first gave it to her, I explained that she could write absolutely anything in this journal. I will not judge her; it stays between us FOREVER, and I will respect her and her views. I also said that this could be a safe space to ask for help, advice, or talk about things that may be embarrassing to talk about out loud. (If you have a teenage sister or daughter, I highly recommend doing this! You can find the style journal we have here.)
Throughout the last few years, we have been able to have deep conversations about life, relationships, love, health, etc. We have shared experiences, emotions, and wisdom.
Lord knows I have learned so much from her and her passion for life!
This year, she is going to be a senior in high school. She has blossomed into this beautiful, fun, amazing, kind, strong, and inspiring young woman. And somewhere along the way, she became not only my sister but my friend.
We talk, laugh, joke, and we love eating sushi!