"Shes not my daughter, she's my sister."

“It must be tough being a mom so young!”  and “I’ll pray that you and your child make it through” are statements I always hear when I go anywhere with my baby sister in tow. Not that being her mother would be a bad thing, because after all I love her as if she was my own, and some of my closest friends are reaping the joys of motherhood at this very moment. But that's just not how it is. There is something special about having a sister that I can't seem to put in words, but I wouldn’t have it any other way.

You see, my youngest sister and I are seventeen years apart. After twelve years of being your typical four person American family consisting of only me and my other sister, my parents had another child at the start of my senior year of high school. Like most children, when faced with the prospect of having to “share” the spotlight with another sibling. My sibling and I were both a little hesitant to accept another family member within our home. However, with each passing ultrasound and a little time to ponder over the idea, we had welcomed her little life on August 29, 2016, and we could not have imagined our lives any other way since.

It's now a little over a year after her birth, and I truly believe that this past year has been nothing short of magnificent as a result of her life. She’s changed not only my life for the better, but also has largely affected my outlook on the world in ways that I had never perceived possible. While the list of reasons she has turned me into a better person with her sheer existence in infinitely unfathomable, here are my top five reasons how having a sister significantly younger than me has been life changing.

It halted my baby fever.

Having a little sister has given me a firsthand experience into the world of motherhood (and to say the least) it has completely halted any sliver of desire to have a baby of my own. Don’t get me wrong, I love children so much that I planned my career around it --- I’m just not ready for kids at this point in my life. Being a mother is a fantastic and rewarding journey, but it is also one that extremely trying and requires every inch of oneself. I simply feel that before I can truly give an inch, I need to be sure of what that inch consists of.

She is my biggest fan.

Being one of her favorite people has been the epitome of happiness in my life. Sure, it may be because she doesn't quite grasp right from wrong or good from bad, but she loves me regardless. Rather it be dancing horribly in the living room or riddling the phone with kisses everytime I call home, she shows me infinite amounts of love and excitement that makes you feel on top of the world and I absolutely love it no matter how messy seventeen month old kisses can get.

I get to see the world from her eyes.

When you sit back and truly watch a child interact with the world around them for the very first time, you get the chance to observe the world from a different and a much slower perspective. Things like identifying colors, shapes, and textures seem to display infinite possibilities with much deeper meanings than on the surface. She has taught me that the world is absolutely fascinating, and we should explore it with both an open heart and an open mind.

She makes me want to improve the world

I feel like the overwhelming desire to “baby proof” the world is something every woman has embedded in their minds as part of a maternal instinct. The pure thought of sending her innocent and ever so loving soul into this harsh and unrelenting world makes my heart hurt and mind race. Although I know it's impossible to protect her, I constantly find myself searching more than I ever have for ways to better the world we live in.

She is the driving force behind my success.

It's not that I want to outdo her or my other sibling, it’s because I want to show her that her wildest dreams are possible. I want her to know that social, mental, and financial barriers are just part of the journey and that those dreams are just on the other side. Sure, she may not understand that now, but when the time does come, I want her to be able to look towards me as a mentor, an inspiration and of course--- her big sister.

 

So long for now and happy reflecting!

Alexis