As my sister, we have shared a lot of things together: celebrations, tears, secrets, hospital visits, and the backseat of a car on interminable road trips. But in a few days, for the first time in our lives, we will not share last names. And while that change is sometimes hard for me to wrap my head around, I am so happy and excited for it to happen.
Over the past two years, I have watched you change in so many ways. You are more confident. Your snark and humor is utterly fantastic. You have tomato plants and herb gardens that leave you covered in soil. You sat under a needle long enough to get a tattoo, for pity’s sake! Usually, this is where someone credits the fiancé for all the change and growth. And I am going to be honest, my first reaction to that sentiment is “No, no, no, don’t let a man or anyone change who you are!” But as I have watched your relationship and observed the influence Luke has had in your life, I realized the change wasn’t for him, but it was for you.
As your relationship progressed, so did your expressions of recognizing your internal and intrinsic worth. I know from our late night conversations that one thing we have both experienced is that sometimes with siblings, it is easy for people to put us in constant comparison to one another. That is only further complicated when we are so close in age. I feel it is safe to say that if you had a dollar for every time an adult asked if you were like me, you would have enough money to retire tomorrow. And I know the comparison was never meant to hurt, but it is hard to feel unique and like your own person when you were constantly in this position.
But Luke changed that. He saw you for you. He recognized all the beautiful and wonderful traits you possess and by doing so illuminated your self-assuredness. And that is what people in your life should do. They should provide love and support for you to make your own choices on who you want to be and how you want to express yourself. There shouldn’t be any pressure for you to change to satisfy others. I say this because this is the same love and support you have provided to me throughout the years, it is the same love and support our family provided us, and it is the same love and support I see you and Luke provide to one another.
According to sister of the bride precedent, this is where I am supposed to give you advice, but that always seems so awkward. Here we are, both in our twenties, figuring life out as we go. Who am I to give you advice? Our relationships are inherently different and that is what makes them perfect for us. So instead of advice, let me instead offer up thanks.
Thank you for loving me, even when I couldn’t love myself. Thank you for giving some of the best moments and memories. My life would have been so empty without you. I am grateful that I don’t have to even imagine a moment without you in my life. You are so much more than my sister – you are my best friend. I have loved sharing this name with you, but I know I will love our different names even more because they will symbolize who we are: individual, unique, distinct.
Love forever and always,