The Joy of my Kid Sister


There are ten years between my youngest sister and myself.  When I was growing up, this meant that I remember when she was born, well, when she came home.  I remember how I put down my copy of The Hobbit and looked at this rosy cheeked infant wrapped in a blanket while the social worker told us how blessed we were to be able to get a newborn. See we fostered her from the time she was 4 days old, and adopted her 2 years later. I remember going to the courthouse with my parents when the judged declared her ours. I was there for the times her allergies resulted in hospital stays, and for the times we took her to prayer meetings so we could all seek relief from her many, many allergies. I was even there when she was first learning how to shave her legs at 13 yrs.

But because I moved out of my parents house when I was 23, I missed knowing my sister during her teenage years. I heard stories of her amazing basketball skills, and her ability to play any instrument.  I missed it when she decided to put aside her love of basketball for her love of music. I wasn’t there when she decided to pursue an intense musically centered home school program instead of her local public school’s offerings. Truth be told, I wasn’t even there at her high school graduation, I had just given birth to my daughter and I wasn’t up for much of anything besides Jane the Virgin reruns and left over spanakopita.

But I feel like I gained some of that time back this summer!  When her university let the freshman out for the summer, my sister packed up her stuff and came down to Florida.  I was a little nervous because in the past she only saw me as the rule-making authoritarian babysitter she knew during her tween years. Like any other 30 year old, I didn’t want a younger adult to see me as a kill-joy. Little by little though, we got to bond. She’s now 20, not 13, and now ten years doesn’t seem like so very far between us. 

Though I only had a futon for her to camp out on, the whole summer turned out great.  We bonded over Lush bath bombs, CW shows and sappy Canadian TV shows.  And do you know, I learned that she is amazing with toddlers! She can make my daughter laugh like none other.  I don’t even know how she does it, but when she goes back to college next week, I’m going to have one sad toddler on my hands.  I don’t even think back-to-back viewings of Moana will make my daughter happy. And she is so funny! She has this very dry humor that just shows up at the most needed moments.  I couldn’t have imagined how this summer of house searching would have gone without her. And it’s going to sound pathetic, but she is the one who taught me how to use snap chat.

I got to be there for her when she did a DNA test and found out she was majority British in background. In the weeks that followed I got to laugh alongside her about the difference between Latin and British cultures, and chat with her while she figured out what those results meant to her.  We got to have discussions of what it means to call someone “my people.” Because really, she is my people, blood or no blood.  She is an amazing young woman.


The whole experience taught me that your children don’t have to be back-to-back in age for them to get along and become close. What they do need is time and shared memories. Because my sister was here from May until August, I got four months of bonding time with her. It’s something we’ve never had before. It was almost like meeting a new friend. And it gives me encouragement as my own children are born and my husband and I contemplate how big our family should be, and how far apart our children ought to be.  If you’re contemplating waiting a few years to have more children, whether it be for medical reasons, or monetary reasons, or whatever is holding you back, I would encourage you to go ahead and make your plans.  Don’t be fearful that your children won’t know each other, because the truth is, they will if you encourage them to. I got to know my younger sister this summer because she needed a plan for her summer vacation, and I had the time to give. And it was the best gift I think I’ve ever given or received.