My sister is going to Rome!! (A post for Abbie)

Three days.

This time it's not me with the ticket for a flight to another continent; it's my younger sister.  I'm so excited for her and proud of her that I don't even have words to explain it.

She is both one of my closest friends and one of my most unlikely.  As far as I can remember, our friendship officially began one evening in my parents' bedroom when we were sprawled out across the enormity of their bed, probably not being especially helpful with putting clean laundry away, or waiting for family devos to start, or something like that.  We were pretty young.  Young enough to want a best friend and to decide that, obviously, a sister was the best choice for the best friend since you had to live with them after all.

We decided to be best friends.

Which, pretty undoubtedly, is one of the best decisions of my life.

When I think about it, sometimes I'm not sure that I could have picked a much more dissimilar best friend.

She's a dancer.  I didn't quite flunk my taiji class, but at times I would have been glad to if it meant I could escape.

She has the sense of fashion.  I'd wear a t-shirt, hoodie and jeans just about every day if I could get away with it.

When the subject of Pride and Prejudice comes up, we joke that she's Jane and I'm Lizzie.  

She's the life of the party.  Me?  I'm trying to read a book or have a conversation about philosophy.

She loathed our writing courses, even though she has a far more proficient touch with comedy than I do.

But that none of that hindered our friendship.  We begged our parents to let us share a bed when we were little so that we could stay up late whispering to each other.  We got up early to play endless rounds of rat-a-tat-cat with each other.  We made each other laugh to the point of tears, all the time and generally over the dumbest things (like a get well card for a man from our church that we messed up three times in a row.)  We filled quote books.

I went off to college, but only after she had prepped me by peppering me with endless What would you do, dear, IF... scenarios so that I would be properly equipped to deal with whatever odd circumstance came my way.  

And then, before I knew it, she was off to college herself.  During her first semester, I was on the other side of the world, studying in China.  When I came back, I found that she had established herself.  She had her own friend groups.  And I was glad.  

If I was on campus on the weekends, we usually met up and ate lunch together on Saturdays.  I'd let myself into her dorm room to say hi on random occasions.  We'd wave at each other as we walked to classes in the morning.  We had a few strategic sisterly intervention sessions when there was drama that she didn't want to deal with on her own.

She had also become friends with some of my friends, and that was where a bit of a surprise lay.

"We got to know your sister," the mom of one of my friends told me, "and she is so much like you."

I stared at her, stunned.  "Huh?"

"The two of you have the same mannerisms, use the same phrases..."  She went on listing examples.  I didn't believe her then, but I kept hearing it.  Eventually it sunk in that maybe they weren't kidding.  Which was not surprising, I guess, but I was amused.

Now she's a junior.  And in three days, she's leaving for a semester in Rome.

I'm already missing her.

So, Abbie...

For making me laugh more than anyone else ever has...

(Toasty?  TOASTY??)

For your incredibly loving spirit...

For the way you took care of my son ;) while I was gone, even writing him a rap song...

For stepping into the role of being the oldest sister with extreme grace and never making me feel displaced when I left...

For bringing joy into so many people's lives with your love for fun and for them...

For how you are always willing to be there for your friends...

For all the ways you have supported me in basically everything I've done, whether it was telling me that I was a good older sister or never questioning my decision to go to China (twice)...

For all the ways I have seen you mature and seek to be the love of God to your friends in tough times...

For your awesome baking...

For the way you look photogenic in pretty much everything, making it nearly impossible to choose a few photos...

For a bazillion other reasons that I really don't have time to list...

I love you and I am SO, SO, SO thankful for you!


PS:  When you get back, we need to take more pictures together!

(I couldn't resist this last one... because you make me smile, dear!)


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