happy birthday, sweet sixteen

Yesterday my little sister -- my itty-bitty baby sister -- turned sixteen. Sixteen. As in the age where you're legally allowed to drive (thankfully she took a page from her big sister's book and never took her permit test and therefore isn't). Sixteen, the age where everything feels so bitingly real and powerful and strong. By my 16th birthday, I was already dating the boy who would later become my husband when we were all grown up -- because at sixteen, you're capable of real human relationships and feelings. It's the end of "you can't come to my birthday party" and "you can't be my friend anymore" and the start of exploring the deepest parts of your heart and knowing how to maneuver them with the emotional hurricane that is being sixteen.


My sister's Sweet 16 celebration isn't until Saturday (did I mention I'm throwing it? And making the cake? And somehow creating a photobooth through a tutorial on Pinterest I can no longer even find? No pressure!) but since I'm not quite sure Ethan will make the invite list, we still had to celebrate on her actual birthday. We stuck some candles in an unfrosted cupcake, sang happy birthday and let Ethan devour the cupcake in it's entirety. Ethan doesn't get to eat sweets on the regular but I figured my sister's 16th birthday is as good a reason as it gets.

Sixteen. It takes a lot to render me speechless, but I just might be there.

That night, I accompanied my mother to surprise Megan with more cupcakes and another round of happy birthday to you after her dance classes. I'm not sure she appreciated the gesture -- you remember what it was like to be sixteen -- but I couldn't have gone to sleep that night without telling her happy birthday again. I mean, sixteen, you guys. How is that even possible?

My sister and I couldn't be more different. She is a blonde hip-hop dancer who knows how to style her hair, knows who everyone at the MTV awards is and how to put together an outfit. I am the introverted, mismatched older sibling with a penchant for foreign literature and cinema that makes my sister lift her eyebrow as she shrugs her shoulders as a surrender to my strangeness. Her experience as a sixteen year old is worlds apart from my own and sometimes it takes me a while to understand that she is still experiencing that fragile, awkward state -- just with much more grace than I ever did.

For her 14th birthday, I had a set of friendship necklaces made, one half meant for each of us. They were engraved with Further Seems Forever lyrics that have reminded me of her ever since she was a precocious child with blonde ringlets who would crawl into my bed at night and tell me I was her best friend. (She's always been mine, too.) And I recall how you always sat on the same side as me; it always seemed you'd always be on my side -- you're my best side.

And she still is, though I sense it'll be some years before she realizes it. Being sixteen will do that to you. We've all been there.


  1. OH my gosh....this is so sweet!
    My sister is six years younger than me and we are just now becoming close. I can only imagine how you feel about your baby sister "growing up"!

    Happy Birthday to her!!!

  2. Have you ever heard the song, Two Little Sisters, by Carly Simon?
    So good....go listen to it ASAP. You will LOVE the lyrics.


    It always makes me cry...it always reminded me of my sisters and I and now it reminds me of Livi and Willow.

    Sisters are such a gift. You are so blessed to have her, lindsay!



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