And exactly 19 years ago, my beautiful baby sister Lee Ann came into the world.
I still remember the feelings of adoration when I gazed into that tiny face... and I often still feel that way when I look at her, seeing the baby face that used to be, hidden in the gorgeous young woman that she has become.
Of course, I also adore her for different reasons now, other than her insufferable baby cuteness. :) She is the most loyal person I know, not to mention passionate without restraint. When she feels something, she feels it fully, and when she cares about someone or something, she cares more deeply than I can even describe. And although I often try to take care of her in my irritating big-sister-who-tries-to-mother-her way, she tends to take care of me, too, in the way that only a little sister can. Even though she may be the first to "pick on me" in true sibling form, she is also the first person to jump to my defense, even when it is unwarranted or she is at risk of getting in trouble. I can think of SO many times throughout my life that she has unabashedly stood her ground in order to protect me.
Lee Ann is gifted beyond belief... she is an incredibly smart girl, with the voice of an angel and the eye of a creator. And have I mentioned that she is an absolute hoot? HILARIOUS! No one makes me laugh like she does. And I love how when I see her for the first time after months apart, she hardly says anything but squeezes me so tight that it leaves no doubts as to whether or not I am missed or loved.
My little sister knows me better than anyone. Our personalities may be night and day, but we are similar in the ways that matter... and I think the similarities found despite the differences make us better sisters to one another, cherishing each other even more.
The best role that I have been given is being a sister to Lee Ann. I'm thankful for our silliness and dance parties, "hardcore sister lovin'" and Lord of the Rings marathons. I love sharing our dreams and loves while encouraging each other on this journey. We are far from perfect, but we grow and learn together how to be better sisters, friends, daughters, and women of God.
God knew what he was doing when He gave me this strong, determined, vivacious girl for a sister, and He knew we would need each other during certain trials. I'm so grateful He knows better than I do what we need, and as much as I want to always take care of her, He loves her more than I can possibly fathom and will be there for her throughout this life in ways that I can't.
Precious Lee Ann,
I am now glad that 19 years ago I wasn't allowed to name you... Swanhilda just doesn't fit. :) You came into our lives when we needed you most, and you have been the most precious gift God has ever given me. God has huge plans for you, little one, and don't ever doubt it. This year has been tough, but I am so thankful that I will always have you walking through the storms by my side. I hope we can continue to love and serve each other in the sunshine and the thunderstorms in a way that glorifies God and reflects the unfathomable love He has for us.
I am so honored and blessed everyday to be your big sister.
HAPPY BIRTHDAY, sister x3!
You are the greatest prayer ever answered!!!
I can't wait to hug you soon!!!!!!
I love you more than all the stars in all the sky,