Throughout the years, I’ve had many significant friendships, from all different seasons of my life. As I’ve watched friendships fade away, I’ve become even more appreciative of the ones that have grown and evolved throughout several seasons. And even more than that, I recognize how blessed and lucky I am to have a friend, a best friend, who has been there, unwavering, my whole life.
Shortly before I turned three years old, my little sister, Sara, was born into this world. As you can tell from these photos of Poppy and Grammy trying their hardest to convince me everything would turn out okay, it wasn’t quite love at first sight… (spoiler alert: they ended up being right).
Sara and I were born, raised, and spent our entire childhood in a small Midwestern town called Goshen, Indiana. Surrounded by cornfields, this is the city where our Mennonite mom met our wild and crazy dad. This is where our parents planted their roots, and it’s where my sister and I grew and strengthened ours.
Having a younger sister meant that growing up, I got to be the boss.
When we played school, I was the teacher and Sara was the student. When we played hairdresser, my dolls got ribbons and bows, and Sara’s dolls got to experiment with short bobs that for some reason never grew back. And best yet, when we played hide and seek, Sara got to be the one folded inside of our sleeper sofa until our neighborhood best friend found her (this could take quite some time). But despite these less desirable roles, Sara remained more than happy to follow in my footsteps. Luckily for me, this continued when she also chose to attend Indiana University.
It was during college, as we experienced life away from our hometown, that our friendship truly blossomed.
From waitressing at the same restaurant to becoming sorority sisters and philanthropy chairs, our lives paralleled. As I watched Sara balance work, school, an active social life, and extracurriculars, with maturity, passion, and laughter, we became more than sisters. –
We became FRIENDS.
After developing such a strong bond in college, I deeply hoped Sara would move to Chicago, with me, after she graduated. So when her life led her to Teach for America in the Mississippi Delta, I was crushed. But at the same time, I realized it was finally time for us to spread our wings. It was our first time living far apart, and I’m grateful we learned that it was possible for sisters to grow separately and still grow together. Over the next few years, we leaned on each other and pushed each other as we navigated becoming adults.
While it feels like just yesterday that Sara and I lived in that big sorority house on North Jordan, it was almost 15 years ago.
Over the past 15 years, so much has happened. We’ve changed zip codes and jobs. We’ve traveled all over, with and without each other. We’ve purchased houses, adopted pets, both gotten married, and I’ve had children. We’ve walked through some of the highest highs and some of the lowest lows while facing more trauma than I would wish on even my worst enemy. But through all of the changes, the one constant has been our unbreakable bond.
So today, I want to say thank you to my sister. Thank you for growing up, and growing, alongside me. Thank you for always accepting me for me. Thank you for all of the hugs, heart-to-hearts, and laughs (even the time you gave me bangs and those laughs were at my expense). Thank you for being the best daughter to our parents and aunt to my kids. Thank you for being YOU. Having you as my sister is one of the greatest gifts of my lifetime.