i had the time of my life fighting dragons with you

Long Live - Taylor Swift

I've always thought the term "sisters" sounds trivial when I think of the way I feel about my own sister. On one hand, there is no bond more solidified and no bond that runs deeper than that of sisters. On the other hand, I was nearly 11 years old when my sister was born and so, in a sense, I've always felt more of a maternal bond in addition to that sisterly bond. In my eyes, she will always be my little curly-haired girl who looked up at me with her big blue eyes and turned me into a puddle. She will always be that little girl who auditioned for a talent show when she was just 7 years old with Blink 182's I Miss You while the other girls sang songs from Broadway musicals or children's television shows. She will always be the baby girl who would climb into my lap when I was a sad teenager (which, believe me, was often as I was admittedly the poster child of the "emo kid" generation) and ask me who she could beat up to make me feel better. She will always be the little girl who wrote an essay for her 5th grade class about her most prized possession being a book of photos of us that I made her before I left for college because if she's sad, she just had to look at them to feel happy again. She will always be the only girl who could possibly convince me to arrive four hours early to a dance competition and -- covered head to toe in eyelash glue and foundations in varying shades -- do the make-up for all of her fellow dancers. She will always be the girl who wears the other half of the friendship necklace I had made for her 14th birthday engraved with my favorite quote by Further Seems Forever: "...and I recall how you sat on the same side as me. It seemed you'd always be on my side. You're my best side."

Today that little girl started high school. High school. High school isn't a place for little girls. I'm reluctant to realize that means she no longer is a little girl. It became all too clear to me that was the case when I sat there watching her and her friends do their own make-up, straighten their own hair. They no longer needed me to teach them how to blend eyeshadow or apply their lipgloss properly. My sister no longer called me and asked to borrow some of my make-up but, instead, pulled eyeshadow compacts out of her own seemingly never-ending cosmetic case. I had the privilege of watching Megan's friends grow up, too. So many of them have been in her life since nearly infancy and I've had the pleasure to experience first dance recitals, ice skating lessons, sleepovers. Watching these girls put on their backpacks and get ready to make their way to the high school where I graduated from? The eeriest feeling in the world. No longer will I walk into the playroom and find them playing with stuffed animals and ask them if they want to go swimming and order pizza. No longer will they ask me to flat-iron their hair or ask me to take them to ride ponies at Tradewinds Park. Those days, I'm realizing, are gone. My little girls? They're all grown up. Somehow they've become striking young women overnight. Young women about to venture into high school and walk those same halls that I walked during my transformation from child to young adult. They no longer need my help turning on the computer to put on Disney's "Toon Town" game. They no longer need my help officiating the weddings for their Webkinz. They no longer really need me for much of anything, except maybe giving them the heads up on which classes and teachers to both take and avoid in high school. In high school.

I will undoubtedly be filled with a sense of nostalgia for the rest of the day but also a sense of pride. My sister may be growing up faster than my mind can possibly comprehend, but she's also growing up to be a beautiful and strong young woman.

My dearest Megan, from Max & Ruby to reality television, from Blue's Clues Live to 99 JAMZ, from Mark Hoppus to Marshall Mathers -- and for both everything in between and to come, I love you to the stars and back. You gave me a bonus round to tack onto my childhood once it was over. Thank you for the life you breathed into me and the zest for living that I know you will bring to Ethan's childhood, too. I will always love you and be here for you. I will always be the Daria to your Quinn.


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