Happy birthday (back at ya)

I’m only three years late. I hope you can forgive me…

Three years ago, Emily, you wrote this blog for my birthday. And if I remember correctly, it made me cry (the good kind). Your words have been some of the most touching I’ve ever received. Because when you’ve known someone your entire life (minus that first lonely year by myself), you know them. You know their strengths and weaknesses better than anyone. I can’t do math (that’s where you come in), but I’d bet we’ve spent more hours together than either of us have with another human. That’s amazing and terrifying and lovely. Because knowing someone gives you the power to build them up in a way no one else can or tear them down just as grandly.

I’m your older sister, and I’ve never done a good enough job of doing what big sisters are supposed to do best: showing you where you thrive. But thrive you do—so much.

So here’s to you, the only one in our family who has any body or umph in your hair whatsoever. It’s amazing, and I will always be jealous.

Here’s to you, who can make cat t-shirts look cool. And sockos. And Dobby ears. You can pretty much rock anything you put on. I wish I was as cool as you.

Here’s to you, who can communicate with just a look. I love that I know when you’re annoyed or nervous or holding in laughter cause to cackle would be inappropriate. They say twins are the only ones with telepathy, but we definitely have it too.

Here’s to you, who inherited our mother’s double-sided brain. You excel at math and English, so you’re pretty much a genius. You can write a beautiful short story and then turn around and calculate a tip so the total comes out to a round number. I am honestly floored.

Here’s to you, the best partner-in-crime who was always willing to play Robin when I insisted on being Batman (or, more accurately, Tin Man and Dorothy). You’ve always put others before yourself, and that selflessness has taken you far. (P.S. I’m sorry for being bossy).

Here’s to you, who has had more ear piercings than I can keep track of but never on your earlobes. This has perplexed me more than many of life’s conundrums, but it also makes me smile. You’ve always been you—unique, beautiful, you.

Here’s to you, who fell asleep in your dinner plate and cried because you wanted to go to bed. Tenderhearted, free with your emotions while I was tight with mine. You wear your heart on your sleeve when I tuck mine away. But I’ve watched and learned—learned that it’s ok to cry and it’s ok to be hurt for someone else. And you’ve developed a resilience, a strength of your own (you’re a high school teacher, for cyring out loud!).

Here’s to you, who loves cats and corgis and anything precious. The girl who holds hurting babies in Zambia and laughs easily, freely. When you were young and asked what you wanted to be when you grew up, you said, “I want to make people laugh.” And they do laugh, me especially. Your heart is pure gold.

Here’s to you, the younger sister, the slightly shorter one, the one who always had one more year left of school (because “no, we aren’t twins,” but “yeah, we get that a lot”). Though younger, you have always seemed my mentor. Though shorter, I have always looked up to you. And though a year behind me in school, you continually mold and influence and challenge the way I think. Thank you for that.

Here’s to you, the girl everyone has always loved. The girl who is wise, who thinks outside the box, who doesn’t blindly follow the norm, who is clever and funny. People hang on your words, and you don’t even know it.

Here’s to you, the one who is quick to forgive because you know you’ve been forgiven. Quick to love the lowly because you see the glory of God. Quick to extend grace because you’ve received it well. I pray to be as grace-filled as you are one day.

Here’s to you, the caboose who has never been second best. You have always been the best giver, the best smoothie-maker, the best co-movie watcher, the best lyrics-analyzer, the best dancer, the best student, the best teacher, the best listener, and my best friend.

Here’s to you—unassuming, humble you—who thinks of others as greater than yourself. But here’s the secret I pray you believe: you are great too.

Thank you for being you.

I love you a lot and always will.

Happy birthday.


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