Family

Dear Sister, Congratulations! This week starts your journey into college. It’s an experience you’re sharing with more young women than ever before, and I couldn’t be more proud of what you’ve accomplished. I’ve known you your whole life, and watched you follow your passion for lacrosse, community service and the Beatles. But there’s something that’s never really been on your radar: feminism, and what it means to be the smart, educated woman you are in today’s society. You know what, I get it. I know these issues may sound highbrow and scary, or they may conjure images of marching through the streets with burning bras and unshaved legs. But they’re things you’ll face head-on in the next four years, and I want to offer you the advice I wish someone had offered to me when I first...
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Dear Sister, It has been a long time coming to sit down and write this letter to you. It’s a difficult one to write, and I imagine, may be equally difficult to receive. I have had this on my heart for some time, never quite finding the right moment to express my feelings. In our case, expressing our feelings often meant exposing our vulnerability, and for us our vulnerability was a weakness we couldn’t afford. But its time you hear this from me, so here goes. I need you to give up on the notion that you will ever be the favorite. It’s just not going to happen. Its time to let this one go. I realize that for years, since we were too little to know any different, we have been competing for the title. So much so, that I would wager almost all of our disagreements, at their core, may...
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Dear Annalily, Last weekend you turned 13, (or as you sometimes call it, “tenty-three”). You’ll be starting high school soon too, and I’m cringing as I write that because dear lord it makes me feel old… I feel like I should give you my “sage advice,” being your older sister, but you already are wiser than me in so many ways. I could tell you to stay true to yourself, but you already are. In fact, you are one of the strongest people I know. I could tell you that even when you are stressed or sad or lonely, the feeling is only momentary and everything will be okay. But I know you already know that, because you’ve taught me those lessons yourself. You are my best friend. There’s nobody who gets both my jokes and my problems like you do. I can shoot a single glance at you,...
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My dear sister, My baby, why did you grow up so fast? Before you were born, mom promised me a doll and our middle sister wished you were a little elephant! I loved you from that moment. You are a young woman now. Little sister, I want you to know that you are perfect just the way you are: body, soul and mind. In one more week you’ll be finishing school but don’t be scared my little one, you don’t need to have it figured out. I hope you follow your dreams and I hope you have the courage to listen to your heart. Stop looking for your “other half” because you were born complete; look for someone who makes you happy. Guard your heart but don’t be afraid to fall in love. Boys will hurt you, friends will leave, promises will be broken; don’t let pain make you bitter. Trust the Universe...
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Dear Jill, First, let me say, I love you. Our family isn’t one for expressing our feelings out loud, unless it’s anger, so I wanted to change that. I love you. I have always loved you. You are my older sister and I respect you. We haven’t talked for a very long time. We don’t write each other, we don’t phone each other and I find that terribly sad. Some how we grew apart and I wish I could change that. I’m not sure how though. Maybe you have some ideas? There are lots of days I miss you so much, in fact most days. I’ve tried emailing you, through Facebook, but get no response. I used to call you and leave messages, but didn’t get phone calls back. So I guess I gave up. I’m kind of ashamed that I gave up, but the non-responses hurt me and I was tired of being hurt. I know you...
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Hey baby girl, Happy 16th! I can’t believe you’re so grown up. You wrote the perfect heartfelt note to me on my last birthday. We were 3,000 miles apart, and celebrating without you didn’t feel quite right. I hadn’t seen you in three months, and I missed you like crazy. When I read your happy birthday Facebook message, I instantly burst into happy tears in the middle of a bar. I was blubbering, and everyone in the bar turned around to stare. It’s my turn to one-up you now. I hope you read this somewhere like fourth period geometry and have an embarrassing cry in public, too. It’s cathartic, try it. Here it goes. Your birthday always makes me nostalgic. Grandma and I were in a hotel lobby when we first heard you were born. “You have two messages,” the concierge told us. The...
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To My Older Sister, I have often wondered how different my life would be if you weren’t part of it. I cannot imagine a single event of my life being the same. Every single childhood memory has you attached to it. Like the time that we camped inside and stayed up all night talking about nothing. I was 5, and you were 11. You made me say every swear word you knew and laughed hysterically when they would come out of my little innocent mouth. I am going to blame the truck driver mouth I have today on you for breaking me in when I was so young. Every time someone tells me that I swear a lot, I just say, “You should meet my sister.” I can’t write this letter without mentioning how much you teased me growing up (and sometimes now). It was your older sisterly duty to bully me, and my oh my...
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Dear big Sis, You were the first person to ever stick their tongue out at me, and give me my very first pinch. Ah, the memories. To be fair, I probably deserved it. Let's be honest, when we were little I was a pain in your butt. Being the younger child, I always got my way. I was a tattle-tale and I would hit you first and then go cry to Mom and Dad when you reciprocated. I practically breathed down your neck at all hours of the day, always wanting you to share your Barbies with me, or whatever other toy the older kids were playing with that week. I took all of the attention and could be a brat, and that's the truth. So, really, I don't blame you for locking me in our hotel room at Disney World when I was a toddler. Looking back on it, I probably would have done the same thing...
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To My Older Sister, If only there were an easy way to say thank you, I love you, stay away from me and I hate you all at once. Over the years, our relationship has made me feel all these emotions and several others including, but not limited to: rage, annoyance, guilt and empathy. When we were younger, you asserted your dominance over me in every way possible. You cut my doll’s hair, promising me it would grow back (surprise, it doesn’t). In every game we played, you were the superior role and I was forced to play some kind of subordinate role. One day I was the maid, and the next day I was your pet dog. I even fell for your stupid little tricks that got me to do all of your chores for you, like when you said “I’ll time you” to get me to clean your room or fetch you a snack from the...
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I often get the question asked to me, “How do you do it?”. People wonder how I juggle so many things on top of motherhood, they question how I will go to graduate school with three children, and begin a career. They question my energy and balance. Well, I will let you all in on my secret. One word, John. I do not always have it all together. I lack drive at times just like everyone else. I question myself as a mother, just as every mother does. My secret weapon in my arsenal however, is the father of my children. A man, who is more than the typical definition of a “father”. A man who gives more than any man I have ever known, to his family. A man, who takes on equal, if not more parenting than myself at times. He is a man who would give anything for his children, yet the most...
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