Today is my big sister's birthday. I truly think she gets younger with age. Does that make sense? Maybe not. However, I reserve the right to think she is one of the most amazing women ever, and not just because she seems to have reversed her aging process. Her secret is simple, do all you can to take care of yourself and others and be kind and generous with your time and talents.
My sister and I did not grow up together. She was the oldest and I, the youngest. There are almost 16 years that separate us. She was more of a mother figure to me growing up than a sister. But as I got older, I realized the expression, "Your sister is your best friend," is more than an expression, it is a true statement.
Research shows that people who have sisters have a lower risk of depression, higher self esteem, and a generally more positive outlook on life. It's no wonder. Sisters always have your back, so to speak. There is no doubting it. There is a certain security in knowing that you have someone on your side no matter what. Someone who will not preach or "parent" you, but someone who is there for you unconditionally.
As the years pass, distances and busyness can get in the way. Long periods of time go by where siblings are not able to spend time together, especially if they live an entire country apart as my sister and I do. But, whenever they come together, it is as if no time has passed at all. This is how it is for me.
When I am in the company of my big sister, it is as if I am back in the school of life. She never ceases to amaze me with her sage wisdom and intuition. My sister has taught me so much about life. Not by preaching or nagging, but by living. She is an amazing friend to her friends; wife to her husband; and mother to her children. So many of the lessons I have learned in parenting have come from her. Those lessons don't end as our children get older, they only change. I feel she has taught me all the important points of parenting adult children. Her three children are devoted to her and know she will always be there for them. I hope I can take the example she has set and continue to be there for my children now that they are young adults.
She was and is the most devoted daughter I have ever known. I wish I could have been the same. As we spent time with my father during his last days, she never left his side, ever. I saw the love of a daughter that I could only aspire to copy. I couldn't get past the sadness, heartbreak, and grief of losing him to truly "just be" with him as my sister was. She is brave and courageous beyond belief.
One of the most important lessons my sister taught me, that sticks with me every single day, is to never give up. She would not allow me to give up because I had made mistakes or because I didn't have the confidence to continue on. She would always remind me that it was okay to make mistakes and learn from them. The point was to never make the same mistake twice! I've remembered that my entire adult life and have passed it on to my children. I hope they can hold on to that tidbit of wisdom so it will serve them well in their adult lives.
So, today, as my sister celebrates her birthday, I hope she reads this and knows how much I appreciate all she did for me. I also want to remind everyone to tell your sisters (and brothers too:) that you love them ~ and will be there for them forever!
I love you, Big Sis ~ Thank you for always being there for me.