Saturday, March 2, 2013

To my 16 year old Brynn

My dearest teenage daughter,

I know right now it is hard to be friends with your sister.  You fight, scream, pick, tease, ignore, annoy, banter, and conspire.  There are days when I feel like I'm going to lose my mind listening to your non-stop bickering, and days when I could have earned my Ph.D. in psychology for the way I was able to diffuse your ticking time bomb.

Brynn, I know it is frustrating to have your little sister tagging along, listening in, sneaking into your room, borrowing your clothes, and (as you put it), "acting like a complete and utter parasite".  And I know you don't want to hear, "your little sister looks up to you...she wants to be just like you".  But the truth is, she does.  You've grown in to an amazing and talented young woman who has an energetic and bubbly personality, a strong sense of who you are, and a kind and compassionate heart.  Who wouldn't want to emulate that?  There are plenty of days that I look to you for a model of how to live life with such vivacity.

The truth is, Raegan has spent her entire life looking up to you.  You're the one who taught her how to take care of her doll babies with a gentle and careful hand (rather than tossing them across the room or down the stairs).  You showed her how to use a hula hoop, helped her learn to pedal a tricycle, and showed her how to color inside the lines.  You sat and read books with her, pointing out things in the illustrations that you wanted to discuss.  You cuddled her up, laid next to her, and sang her to sleep during nap time.  You smiled with her, laughed with her, and danced with her.  She learned all about the princesses and the fine 'art' of dressing up because you let her into your bedroom and actually shared your clothes with her.  She adored wearing your cowgirl boots, and rather than demand them back from her, you helped make sure they were on the right feet before helping her stand up.  You've been her biggest cheerleader, and the one who comforted her when she was hurt or sad.  And for all those things, and more, she is so grateful.

Spending time with you, idolizing you, and, yes, even annoying you are the ways she shows her gratitude.  She's craving more time to learn from you--how to navigate relationships and friendships, how to dress with style (and keep dad from bugging out about the length of your skirt, or the cost of your shoes), and how to balance all the parts of your life.  She is looking to you for sisterly advice.  I know you didn't have the luxury of an older sister, but I tried my best to help you get through whatever troubles you faced.  I think that's why we are so close, yet we butt heads so often.  I have given you pieces of me all along, and now you're assembling them in your own way.  I might not like the way you've implemented my advice, and sometimes, against my better judgement, I let that show.  But you are your own person, you have such a strong sense of who you are and what you value.  I am so grateful for that, and I know that's why Raegan admires you the way she does.

So, while it's frustrating to have a little sister who can be so nosy, clingy, and curious, it can also be the biggest compliment in the world that she finds you as fascinating as she does.  Take pride in the fact that you have the gift of giving pieces of yourself to her, and recognize the power your decision making has on influencing not only your life, but hers as well.  If you're not liking how she's utilizing the bits of wisdom you share with her, come talk to me, and we will work on improving that part of our own personalities together...because we both know I could use the work.

I've told you countless times that some day, your sister will once again be your best friend.  You may scoff, but I know deep down (some days it's deeper than others), she still holds that title, and always has.  But, just in case you forget what 'best friends' looks like because you two spend your time chasing each other around the house and slamming doors in each other's faces...I'd like to leave you with these reminders, and the knowledge that I could not be more proud of the young woman you've become.  My world is a better place because you are in it.

To the moon,


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