Today is the day between two special days.
Yesterday, my older sister, Kelley, left home.
Tomorrow is her birthday.
Yesterday she woke up at the crack of dawn (and sleeping in the same room I know this for a fact) gathered up all of her stuff, carted her very heavy suitcase down the stairs and hustled and bustled until about 6:00 AM, when she roused me from my beloved bed and I hugged her goodbye.
Tomorrow, Kelley is starting training with NET ministries She is also turning 19 years old. Training lasts a little over a month. Then she hits the road for eight months.
I am the second oldest of nine. Yeah. Nine. As in the number nine, like one, two, three, four and so on and so on. Kelley is my one and only older sister.
Growing up, she was my best friend. She was the leader of our wild and crazy games of pretend. She loved playing "family" and that meant I was often the guy, which also meant I was her older brother, husband or son whenever the need arose. We played paper dolls with towns streching over our entire bedroom. We played dress up with gowns, aprons and hats, becoming anyone and everyone from Cinderella to an evil stepsister. We announced, planned and held eleborate weddings for every pair of toys we could think of.
She has influenced me in a lot of ways she will never know, and probably some I don't even realize. I followed her into almost everything. I looked up to her and I still do. I was right behind her in everything for a long time, and the only thing I have ever surpassed her in is height.
Kelley is a leader. She is an organizer. She is an oldest. She is a good friend, listener and sister. She will be an excellent wife and mother some day, which is what she has wanted to do for as long as I have known her.
She is the first child to leave our family, and in a way, it is an ending and a beginning for the whole clan.
We will miss her very much while she is gone, but we are also very happy for her. For the past three years she has been so excited about NET and the work they are doing, not just in St. Paul, Minnesota, but in the entire country. I am so glad she finally is living what she has been dreaming about.
I am happy for her, and I am also proud of her. She has finally spread the beautiful wings I have watched her grow for over a decade and fly, showing the rest of the world what I was lucky enough to see first.
Happy Birthday, Kelley. I love you, Older Little Sister.