In case you couldn't tell, I'm going through I bit of a tender-hearted phase lately and have deviated from the normal content of this blog. I was going through some photos on my external hard drive earlier and I stumbled upon this quick capture of Jenna before a school banquet last summer. As sisters, we were never really particularly close because there's a moderately large age difference between us. (Six years is a lot when you're in your formative years!) Now that she's doing things like driving, it's just so strange. Last weekend we went to the mall and did all of the corny things that sisters in movies do, photo booth included. We laughed so hard that our abs hurt and I reveled in our newfound kinship.
It's really easy to take familial relationships for granted, especially when your family has always been close like mine has. Ever since moving out last summer though, I've been seeing the family dynamic shift in a bittersweet way. While we're spending less time together, we're being more intentional about our time spent together. As for my relationship with Jenna, it's matured and changed as well. The occasional annoyance has turned into tenderness. Now that we're getting older, we have more in common and it's not just hobbies and interests like music and cooking. We've been able to bond without even speaking because we understand each other's struggles with anxiety and bouts of extreme sadness. I'll come home and see her wearing my clothes and instead of being mad, I laugh because our tastes are just so similar. When we're out, we can talk to each other using only our eyebrows. (We're usually making fun of somebody.) Perhaps strangest of all, she's brought a motherlike instinct out of me. She was being bullied on the internet and I leapt into full-on momma bear mode and took those bullies down. (Not that she couldn't have held her own.) Being a big sister is such an honor. It makes me feel like all of my struggles of being an angsty, unpopular teen were worth it because now I can give some great and humorous advice. Other times, I'm floored and humbled by her strength and faith. It challenges me in ways beyond compare.
So Jenna, if you're reading this, I love you. Anybody else reading this, hug your sister and tell her that you love her. If you don't have a sister, pretend that I'm giving you a big (momma bear) hug.
p.s. here are some more photos of Jenna if you feel like basking in her beauty.