When you’re in the process of growing up, it seems like it takes an eternity – like you’re always going to be stuck in elementary school and never become an adult and be allowed to live by your own rules. I spent so many of my teenage years wishing I were an adult, and suddenly here I am, trying to find my childhood and hang onto what little adolescence I still have brewing inside of me. Time is a funny thing. When you want time to hurry, it never does. But when you don’t want it to, it always has its way of creeping up on you. The most real judgment of how fast we all grow and how fleeting time and life are is watching a child grow up right before your eyes.
My baby sister was born on the eve of my first day of high school. I was already passed the point of return and far too deep in the rebellious stage of my teenage existence when I found out my mom was pregnant. I was full of teenage angst, and yearned for attention that I wasn’t receiving; adding a third child to the family wasn’t exactly what I had in mind. I was out of control, and began my journey into high school bitter at my parents and angry that they could do this to me. To me. I don’t remember much about Jen’s first year of life – just bits and pieces of how I was always stuck watching her while my parents and brother ate together as a family. I remember being forced to take care of her when I wanted to be out with my friends. I remember housing so much anger for having to take responsibility for her when she was just my sister, not my child.
I don’t know when it happened. I’m not quite sure when something clicked and when I had a change of heart, but something finally did and I’m thankful it did. There aren’t enough words in the English language to describe how much I care about my sister now. I love her more than anything on this planet. We fight like any other sister duo and she annoys me on a regular basis (I mean, really, how much does an 8 year old and a 23 year old have in common?), but at the end of the day, I know there is nothing I would not do for that little girl. Where once stood a baby now stands an 8 year old girl who is just a couple inches shy of being the same height as me. She’s grown up right before my eyes and it is heart-wrenching realizing she isn’t the little baby I once played with. (I’m literally tearing up at the fact that my sister isn’t a baby anymore.)
I try to live my life so that my sister is proud of me. Because I am so much older than her, I want her to idolize me and aspire to be like me – not just like me, exactly, because that would be a terrifying thought. I know I’ve fallen short many times. I’m nowhere near perfect. But I would never, ever, want to fail in her eyes. I want my sister to see how hard of a worker I am, and how dedicated and loyal I am to the people I care about. I want her to know that I would do anything for her. (Without spoiling her too much, of course). I’ve always wanted to show her the world and allow her to see and experience things I never was able to as a child. I hope that when she’s older she appreciates it. I mean, what other eight year old can say they’ve been to two concerts? (It’ll be three concerts after next Friday!) I never want her to grow up and feel some of the things I’ve felt or see some of the things I’ve seen. I want to protect her from the world, even though I know I can’t. I want her to feel like she’s loved every second of the day (even when we fight), because I’m not so sure I felt it as a child. I can count on one hand the amount of times I remember being told ‘I love you’ by a parent, and I never want her to feel like that. I want her to know that she always has someone to run to, and even though it’s hard sometimes for me to not act like her mom, I want her to know that she has a friend in me and I will never intentionally do anything to let her down.
We tend to spend too much time trying to grow up. I remember being my sisters age and wanting to turn ten because that was the big double digits. After that, I remember wanting to be 13 and be a teenager, and then 17 and able to drive. Then I dreamed of being 18 and legal and 21 and being legally allowed to drink. Looking back, I spent so much time wasted trying to be an age that was far beyond how old I really was. I look at my sister and I see how she lives life and how she enjoys the simplest things and the small pleasures little kids have. I wish for that innocence and youthfulness back. Too often, we’re trying to get ahead and I think that concept really just ages us altogether. My sister is a constant reminder to me that life is short and time is precious and fleeting. You could blink, and eight years could flash right before your eyes. So think about that the next time you are rushing to get ahead. Take time to appreciate the here and now, and don’t forget to remember what it was like being a kid. Sometimes, all we need is a little reminder of who we once were and how quickly time catapulted us into adulthood to remind us to loosen up and make the most out of the time we have now. That’s exactly what my sister does for me constantly.
Check out this adorable video of my sister spelling her name when she was four years old: Jenny spelling her name.
“A sister is a little bit of childhood that can never be forgotten.”
Until next time!
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