I was 6. I remember it like it was yesterday.
I was wearing a black leotard, pink tights, a shimmery tutu, and dainty ballet slippers.
“She’s here,” my Grandpa told me upon picking me up from ballet that day. “Your baby sister is here. And she’s perfect.”
I didn’t know the weight those words held until years later, when I would find out that my baby sister had been expected to be born with significant medical and developmental complications.
I can only imagine that this was breath-takingly terrifying for my momma, who already had three little ones and had lost another baby to miscarriage. Now don’t get me wrong: My momma, she would have loved her littlest one no matter the outcome, because that’s all my momma knows how to do--love with her whole heart. But I cannot begin to imagine the relief, the joy, the celebration she felt upon meeting her youngest child and seeing that she was absolutely perfect, from the top of her head to the tips of her toes.
Since the day my baby sister was born, her three older siblings have loved her fiercely. We have done our best to guide, protect, support, and lead her, especially since most of her childhood was spent without a dad. We three oldest siblings may have battled our way through childhood, but we always tried to shield our baby sister from any hardship (or sibling wars) that came our way while attempting to serve as role models to her in any way we could.
But you know what? Things are different now.
I look up to my baby sister these days.
She is the definition of independence, choosing not to follow the same high school cheerleading nor collegiate dance paths as her older sisters. She purposely chose not to attend the same college as her three older siblings (choosing the rival university instead) and opted against going the same sorority route her big sisters chose, electing instead to create her own life outside of the shadows of her older siblings. Yes, she is an independent soul, with a mind of her own, and I love that about her.
My baby sister is as smart as they come, too. We older sibs often joke that she is the smartest of the bunch, although, like me, common sense may not always be her strong suit. Still, though, she is as hard of a worker as she is brilliant, which is a deadly combination. And it goes without saying that she is simply beautiful, a beauty that is matched only by that of her heart.
My favorite thing about my baby sister, though, is the way she loves with everything she’s got. She is as loyal as they come when it comes to friendships, significant others, and family relationships.
And y’all? You should see her as an aunt. She loves my babies, and my sweet niece, more than life. She aches when she is away from them and spends EVERY.SINGLE.SECOND. she has with them whenever we get together, getting up early to play with them, long before anyone else is awake, and staying by their sides until they finally close their tired eyes at the end of the day.
I am so, so proud to be her big sister and to call her one of my very best friends.
Now, I just cannot wait for the day when I get to hear, “She’s here. And she’s perfect,” and know that my baby sister, the one I always tried to protect, now gets to protect her very own baby girl.