To my sister, on her 18th birthday

Dear Sarah,

Has it really been 18 years since you graced us with your presence?
Christmas 1995...Sarah was 13 days old, I was 12 years old.

It doesn't seem that long, but maybe that's because I haven't been around for nearly as much as I would have liked.  I guess that's the hazard of having a sister who is 12 years my junior.  Being 12 years older has always meant (so far) that we have been nowhere near the same developmental stage.

When I was a teen, you were a toddler.
When I graduated high school, you were just six.
Only a few months until you're wearing the white graduation dress!

When I was in college, you were in elementary school.
Sarah's 6th grade graduation (I know, she looks older than 6th grade!)

When you hit your teen years, I was getting married.

But now you are 18, a senior in high school, and busily writing college application essays.  You are so smart, and smart in ways that are so far beyond my capabilities.  You have a talent for math, love puzzling out equations in chemistry, and are a whiz with grammar.  But lest people try to peg you as completely left-brained, you're also an amazing actress with a taste for Shakespeare, an accomplished knitter, and the kind of person who whips up all manner of baked goods just for the fun of it.  You have a great group of friends who have been with you all the way through your time at Burroughs (and some of them all the way from Wilson).  You're a thoughtful "big sister" to your 7th grade buddy.  You somehow find time to get straight As, participate in athletics, and do extracurriculars like ShakeSquad.  You are not afraid to embrace your inner nerd, whether it's being a Doctor Who fan or listening to music and dancing in the park.  You love animals, especially kittehs.  You've probably become completely spoiled by having your own room and YOUR OWN BATHROOM for years now and pretty much having the run of the place.  You faced your fears and learned to drive.  And you've done countless other things and had many other experiences that I don't even know about because I'm not there to hear all about it.  I wish I could shrink the distance between our respective home bases.  If you come to college on the West Coast at least you'll be a shorter plane ride away...I hear that LA has plenty of direct flights up to PDX.  

Hiding from the camera at Christmas break 2008

Proud aunt Sarah with 15 month old Ruby

I can finally steal her clothes!
Fun fact: later on this night I found out I was pregnant with the baby
that would turn out to be Max.

Field Hockey Warrior
18 is--by government standards--the official age of adulthood in our country, but don't let that fool you.  You've still got lots of growing up ahead of you and many new, exciting, and challenging experiences lie in store.  I can't help but feel a little excited, though, that you are now an "adult" because I'm hoping it will bring us to a new phase in our relationship.  And I'm still in a different phase than you, to be sure: you're almost a college girl and I have a little girl and two little boys.  But now we are both grown ups, and I hope that we get the chance to grow closer now.  
I always wanted a sister, and I'm glad I got you (albeit later than I expected!)  Happy birthday, Sarah!  I love you, and so do your niece and nephews!
Beautiful and ready for anything the future holds!


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