Twenty-One Years

Sweet baby sister of mine, I can’t believe you’re here.

You’ll learn to sit up as I take college finals. You’ll crawl across the room as I drive myself to work. You’ll take your first steps as I walk the stage to receive a diploma. You’ll start Kindergarten as I pursue my career. You’ll struggle through long division as I celebrate my thirtieth birthday. Our lives will be ever different, but the same. Because you and I are sisters, with twenty-one years in between.

Maybe that sounds like a long time to some people. Maybe they’ll raise their eyebrows when they see us together. Maybe they’ll wonder if our family is crazy. (We are, but aren’t all good things?)

You’ve been here for one day, and already, twenty-one years without you seems impossible.

Our family is big, our house isn’t really, we’re all loud, we all think our jokes are hilarious (mine really are, I promise), some of us are good at cleaning up messes, but most of us aren’t. There’s something special here in this loud, big, and wild family of ours. We’ve got something good. Every joke, every hug, every hair ruffle, every prank, every late night conversation, or trip to get milkshakes, every offer to help with homework, every dance party while we clean the kitchen, every “I’m sorry” and every snappy comeback borrowed from How to Train Your Dragon or the LEGO Batman Movie say one thing: you’re loved, and we’re glad you’re here.

That’s my favorite thing about our family. Even when you’re irritated with them for stealing your kindle chargers, following you around while you’re on the phone, and conveniently remembering every time you’ve ever tripped down the stairs, you can’t imagine not being one of them. You know you belong. You know they love you. You know you love them. I’ve known it for twenty-one years, and now, you’ll get to know it, too.

When I found out last summer that you’d be joining our family, I laughed. I wasn’t sure what else to do. A new baby was the last thing on my radar. That night, with a thousand different emotions inside of me, I crawled into bed and shuffled JJ Heller’s music. I’ve often drifted to sleep listening to her lullabies, but that night, a different song played. I’d never heard it before, and it went like this:

When I hold you,

In my arms, love

Something changes

It’s the strangest feeling.

The things that

Used to matter

They don’t matter

Any more.

I laid there in bed and I felt tears fall down my face. I cried because I was surprised. I cried because I was unsure of what lay ahead. But mostly, I cried because of the inexplicable love that welled up in my heart for you, my darling sister, even when I’d never seen your face.

It’s been nine months since that night, and occasionally I’ve wondered what people would say once you were here. Twenty-one years old and a new baby sister? Would they laugh? Would they ask dumb questions? Would they raise their eyes and stare? What would they do?

Quite frankly, dear girl, I don’t even care.

Because tonight, I held you in my arms. Your face was so small and pink. Your body so warm. You were awake and your big eyes stared right into mine. I saw you, a beautiful person made in the image of God. My sister.

It’s been nine months since I listened to that song, but as you lay there looking at me, it come back like a tidal wave. When I held you in my arms, love, something did change. It was the strangest feeling. Those questions I occasionally had, any fears of what people might say or think, they were gone. They didn’t matter anymore.

You were here. You were ours. You were everything I never knew I needed.

After handing you back to Mom and going downstairs to finish various tasks, I pulled up that JJ Heller song and listened to it again. The simple chorus captures my sentiments tonight better than this poor blog post will.

I could never count all the ways

That you change me, baby

Every day the sky is a deeper shade of blue

When I’m with you.

It’s true, darling girl. You’re only a day old, and yet, you’ve changed me. Life is better with you.

Welcome to our big, loud, wild, occasionally obnoxious, and crazy family. You’re loved, and we’re so glad you’re here.

I’m glad I only had to live twenty-one years without your smile.

I’m glad this story God’s writing included you.

3 thoughts on “Twenty-One Years

  1. When my sis was 20 my mom had our youngest. I was 14, but still felt like the difference was huge. It is, but it’s tons of fun too!

    My other sister just had her first on the ninth, so my niece and your sister are just days apart. I think spring babies are so sweet. Congratulations on this newest blessing!!
    What’s her name?

    Liked by 1 person

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