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Challenge: What Makes a Family?

The Difference A Day Can Make

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Each morning we wake up to a new day, never knowing the role it may play in altering our lives or those around us. Some times the significance is known and written on a calendar, but often times we have no real understanding.

At my wedding, I had the traditional father-daughter dance, but I also picked out a specific song to dance to with my brother.

You see, siblings are our first friends in life and I only have one. A little brother born 3 1/2 years after me. My mom always said that I embraced my role as a big sister from the start, no jealousy or resentment. He was mine.

Sure, we fought just like siblings do. Spending every minute of everyday, takes a toll on two people. But as our parents’ lives evolved, so did ours and we became each other’s fiercest protectors. A role we both took seriously and carried into our adult lives. An unspoken pact void of right or wrong. That no matter the circumstance, we would always firmly stand in one another’s corner.

Because that’s what it is to be a sibling. A person who fights for you at your worse and celebrates with you at your best. The one who understands the funny, inside jokes from childhood and the one who remembers the rough times you both try to forget.

It isn’t until we look in the rear view mirror that we fully appreciate the precious nature of our shared childhood moments and the bond we hold with a sibling. It is like many things in life and can only be understood after the words have been written down, the chapter completed. But like all stories we carry those experiences and the lessons learned from each chapter with us until the last page.

It’s been almost 17 years since the photographer sent over the photos from my wedding and I remember joking to my brother that day, giving him a hard time because he looked terrified in alI of the photos. His response was one I never expected from a 21 year old, “I was a little scared, it felt like I was losing you and saying goodbye.”

And I didn’t exactly understand how he felt until last year, when I feared I was losing him. Being the oldest has a way of forcing you to lead from the front and life has a way of keeping you focused ahead.

And while we always thought that I was the strong one, it turns out he had the same strength all along, it had simply been waiting to be discovered. Strength is measured in a variety of ways and this year has taught us that it is the strong ones that ask for help because many times, it is easier to offer help than it is to ask for it.

I think about how many May 5th’s, I awoke to, never understanding the importance of this date. The pride that would be born from this day.

Today, I celebrate my brother finding his way. For understanding that there is no requirement of perfection to be my brother. Broken or whole, come as you are. I am proud to be your sister everyday but on this day, I am especially proud.

For having the courage to reach out your hand and for allowing me to hold it. I am fortunate to have been able to hold your hand as we endured life as it is and I am grateful to let go as I watch you live life as it was intended.

But whatever you do or where ever your path may lead you, just remember…

You just call out my name
And you know, wherever I am
I’ll come runnin’
To see you again
Winter, spring, summer or fall
All you have to do is call
And I’ll be there, yes, I will…
You’ve got a friend

⁃ James Taylor

A sister and a friend, still patiently waiting for a niece. Maybe one day.


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