In my mind, my sister will always be 8 years old. I guess that's because that's how old she was when I moved out of the house and went off to college. I can still see my sister crying and chasing after my car on the day I left. Heart-wrenching.
In reality, my sister isn't 8 years old anymore. Today is her 20th birthday. 20 years old. I can't believe it. The fact that she's 20 really just reminds me that on my next birthday I'll be 30. How is she 20?
She was born on March 28, 1989. It was a Tuesday, and it was raining. She was born in Texarkana, where we lived at the time. To celebrate her arrival, I did several cartwheels and other gymnastics stunts in the lobby of the hospital. I added it to the growing list of places I'd done my gymnastics tricks. My granddad had a funny way of saying, "Kelly, why don't you give us a little cartwheel?" And like any granddaughter that adored her granddad, I'd always oblige. Did you know I've done cartwheels in the Nieman Marcus department store in Dallas? I don't think the security guards were too pleased with me...
It's an interesting thing, being 9+ years older than my sister. We've spent a whole lot of energy just getting to each other over the years. She's in Texas. I'm in Kentucky. I feel like I've missed out on a lot of her life, just because we haven't lived in the same town for more than 12 years now. But I don't know that I'd trade it. Oh yes, I'd give ANYTHING to live closer to my sister and to have attended more of her drill team competitions and dance recitals. But I love that's she's 20 and I'm 29. I think our age difference has made for a very special, very unique relationship. I've changed her diapers. I've watched countless hours of Barney the Dinosaur with her (Kat, don't out me on this one, please!). I helped her learn her first dance recital dance... I've watched her grow from a tiny little baby, into a strong, talented, beautiful woman-- who is full of insight, wisdom, and love-- and who always offers an important perspective on life, faith, and politics. I try to offer my big-sisterly advice from time to time. But really she doesn't need it. She is forever teaching me.
I am proud of my sister, and I am honored to cal her 'friend'. Truly. She's a wonderful sister and a wonderful sister-in-law to Billy, and she's a fabulous aunt to her nieces and nephew.
Happy Birthday, Aunt Kat! You are loved!
P.S. Come see me this summer!!!