I am the oldest of four children, and my “baby” sister is 13 years younger than me. When I say this to people they usually assume she is my half sister, or that my mom was 16 when she had me. Neither of these are true, actually. We just happen to be 13 years apart in age!

When my parents announced their pregnancy with her I already knew how babies were made, so needless to say I was thoroughly grossed out. But when I got over that I was so excited to be able to have a baby sister! A baby! Being 13 meant that I could change diapers, cook light meals, do a load of laundry, etc. My mom always did a wonderful job of building up my confidence (“You are the best at laundry!” “No one can change a diaper like you!”) and I totally fell for it. Not that I liked all the additional chores (and I was definitely a monster as a teenager), but it was a large part of growing up for me. And I think it’s why I hate doing any domestic work now, lol!

Having two working parents and a baby sister unfortunately meant that my summers were oftentimes nonexistsent. Friends would be at the local theme park spontaneously and I’d literally be like “I have to watch the baby.” What a twisted world. My best friends growing up can totally vouch for this, by the way. I can’t tell you how many dirty looks we got as 16 year olds walking through the mall with a stroller…..

One of my favorite memories will always be dropping my 4 years old sister off at Pre-K when I was a senior in high school. The parents had to wait by the door until the teacher came to open it. I was there as the stand in parent, and she introduced me to everyone. “This is my sister. (beat) She is 17. (beat) She is a CHEERLEADER! OH YES.”

As we grew up our relationship developed in a different way. I stopped viewing her as a baby and she became my favorite kid. During my college years I would come home for months at a time. I was a part time nanny during those years, so I loved taking my sister places first and asking her if they were fun. Libraries, theme parks, museums, outdoor parks, etc. We would always go on fun sister dates and she would give me a breakdown on the fun factor: “Don’t bring the other kids here, this was boring” or “If you come here again make sure we wear flip flops.”

After I graduated college I stopped coming home for extended summer and winter breaks. The time at home became more rushed for me: I have to do all these things, spend time with all these people, go to this place and that place and do it all in 3 days! Our sister dates became less frequent and had to include our brothers or eventually my fiance.

She grew up so much in the past four years. She developed interests of her own that I can’t even pretend to relate to. I grew up as a dancer and performer. She is a sports girl who actually understands how football works. I loved makeup and all things girly from a very early age. She has to beg me not to put blush on her cheeks any time I see her.

My biggest struggle has been realizing that she’s more or less an adult now. I can talk to her about real things and have real conversations with her. She’s not the 4 year old with the bob haircut that she was when I moved from California to New York. As of today, she’s the 13 year old with hair that literally goes down to her knees. I can’t believe how much time has passed. Next year she’ll stand beside me as the Maid of Honor at my wedding. And she won’t look like a child. She’ll be a young woman wrapping up her middle school years and getting ready to start high school. Cue the tears!

HAPPY 13TH BIRTHDAY to my beautiful baby sis. Love, your FAVORITE (only) sister ;)