You are without a doubt the most inspirational person I know. Often times I laugh at the fact that I initially told mom to “take you back” when you were born. However, if I’m completely honest, I’m utterly embarrassed that I ever even thought that; much less said it out loud. As you are faced with stepping into the rest of your life, you leave behind everything you’ve known. You have been in school for the last 19 years; your life on a calendar has been the sum of federal holidays, birthdays, summer breaks, winter breaks, and various vacations. You are finally on the brink of something more and the world of full-time employment awaits.
As you choose your future, I want you to know that I couldn’t have created a better sister. In 1991 if I was asked to create my own sibling I would have been miserable. First of all, I was 5 and I had no idea what color Lego I wanted to build my fort with, much less the qualities I would come to find valuable in a person, in a sister, in a forever best friend. The 5-year-old Heather thought she wanted a brother, and on her 6th birthday she had quickly decided that she actually didn’t want a sibling at all. As you approach your birthday and I look back over the last 22 years, I never would have guessed that tiny little baby would change my life so much.
As you morphed into a precious little child, I quickly learned to envy you. We were complete opposites: you were quiet, polite, and a total sweetheart. You were everyone’s favorite. You were the cutest T-Ball player, the most adorable soccer player, and you never embarrassed Mom on a dance stage. While everyone gravitated towards you, I found you obnoxious and I was constantly mean to you. Now that we are older and I don’t find you annoying, I couldn’t be more proud to call you my sister. You have developed a personality that is the perfect balance. You are smart and witty, but you aren’t just book smart. You have common sense. You are strong, but you aren’t just physically strong. When our family started falling apart, you demonstrated a strength coveted by most adults. The strength you developed at such a young age has followed you throughout your life and, despite its root in a horrific event, you found a way to benefit from it. Mom showed us how to be strong and you turned it into a superpower. You are incredibly independent but you know where home is and you know when it needs you. Your ability to see the good in people amazes me and you are the ultimate optimist. You have compassion for what you believe in and you don’t falter. When you love, you love so deeply that one can’t help but love you back. Your athleticism is something I’ve always aspired to and it’s no secret that I’m a long distance runner because of you. You’ve set records and you’ve accomplished so much thus far. You put your heart into everything you pursue. You are relentless, persistent, and even a zombie apocalypse would have a hard time stopping you. In the academic realm, you are without a doubt the most qualified individual for any award, scholarship, or career. In the social realm, you are the friend everyone wants. You are honest, faithful, and you provide so much fun and laughter. Whether it’s the hours we spend playing disc golf or the endless minutes we spend on opposite sides of a room saying nothing, I know know that as long as you’re around I will be ok. When I was sent to treatment for my eating disorder, you were what I held on to. When you watched me fall apart on the living room floor, the helpless look in your eyes made me fight. You are the motivation behind my fight. Whether it’s your time, your money, or yourself, you give without ever asking for anything in return. You are, hands down, the one thing in my life that I would give anything and everything for.
You have helped me through my dark days and you have celebrated with me during my happy ones. You are the most beautiful person I know and I will always be proud to call you my sister. More importantly, I will always be honored to call you my best friend.
To the moon and back, baby sister, I love you forever.