The warm summer greeted us with a refreshing breeze as we pulled out of our driveway. We buckled up and held on for dear life. The Jeep rumbled and we jolted forward and back as we turned the corner. Our skin was sun-kissed and our hair blew in wispy stands, dancing in the wind. Jeep ride to the Frisbee field, “4th of July” t-shirts, and bare feet held the promise of a good time. I looked over at you, holding your hair back as you finished telling me a story. Your big eyes sparkled, holding excitement as you talked to me. You looked so much older that day, on your 16th birthday. Part of me knew you didn’t change overnight because you looked the same the day before. But the other part of me saw something I failed to notice; you weren’t my seven year old sister anymore. You weren’t that little girl with butterfly clips in her thin brown hair asking me to play with her. Or those chubby little cheeks squished together under the bicycle helmet as you pedaled away on your wobbly training wheels. I closed my eyes and could imagine your high squeaky little voice calling for me to play Barbie’s, doll house, or little cars. I can remember those Saturdays when we would play Barbie’s endlessly and Mom would have to drag us out of our room to eat lunch. Now our Saturday’s feel so grown up; cooking and baking for church and parties.
What sat next to me in the Jeep was not a little girl, but a beautiful, talented young woman. I am so very proud of you! I love how you can read my inter-being; knowing how I feel better than I know myself. You can reach down and seep right into the deepest parts of my soul. Remember that day a few months ago as we drove to the library together. I was having a hard day and had fooled everyone into thinking there was nothing wrong. I was so proud I could keep myself from admitting I was struggling and I could force back the tears effortlessly. But I didn’t fool you; you saw right through me. “Kel, what’s wrong?” you asked. I was in shock! I just remember bursting into tears. Your caring spirit lifted my mood as you comforted me with happy words. By the time we arrived at the library you had me laughing and joking.
I love watching your style change as you grow older. Remember we used to decorate our room with different themes? I love your eye for good old books and your cute, vintage, Paris style. I will never ever forget that day when you sat in your room all day and cleaned out under your bed. You threw out so much stuff; all of your little collections and papers. That was the day you became organized. Now you re-organize for fun. ;)
I am so proud of the way we keep active; running and playing sports. I thank the Lord everyday that I don’t have a weak sister. You inspire me to push harder and not whine over the littlest ounce of pain. You have taught me that we can accomplish great things and be strong women! You have taught me to be patient waiting for the Lord’s timing and to persevere even when it’s hard. Remember when we had the chicken pox? We had movies planned and books left out for “when we got the pox”. But I remember as soon as we broke out we didn’t want to do any of those things. Having the chicken pox was not as “fun” as we thought. We said to each other each night before we went to bed, that we were one step closer to being better. That was a hard two weeks, but you were there right by my side.
I don’t want to ever forget those precious days we had growing up. We have been through so much together. We have strengthened and stretched each other on good days and bad. Many fights we have overcome and many weaknesses we have fought against and conquered. Sometimes I wish we can go back to the days when we were little, building sand castles on the beach in Florida or sitting in the grass in our matching calico dresses as Mom read “Little House” to us. But instead of looking at the past and dwelling in what was I will look toward the future, as we grow up, marry, and have kids of our own, being thankful for the memories we shared. God knew we needed each other and He knows we still do. I look forward to more late night talks and more secret looks across the gym during trench ball. Continue to strive to glorify our Maker. In everything you do may you be a light to those around you and an encouragement to many. I love you more than words can express. I hope you have had the happiest of birthdays!