One year ago today, I took you to McDonalds for lunch. Got you Chicken McNuggets and Root Beer, and tried to soak up every minute with you because this was it: your last day as our only child. We would never have another day together that didn’t also take into consideration your sister. I was at turns thrilled and sad. So excited to start the journey to get Jia and equally sad to be closing this chapter of our lives together. We had 7 really good years where it was just the three of us and I knew that was all changing… ultimately for the better, but that the road to get to the other side might be hard. We made the most of our day, and then the time came to say goodbye for 18 days and start our new lives as a family of four.
I told you this morning that this was your only child-aversary and asked if you liked being a sister. YES!, you said, without hesitation. You said you love playing with Jia the most. I asked if you missed being an only child and you said sometimes. “What do you miss about it?” I asked. “Well”, you said, “we used to play board games more.” That made me laugh because of all the things you could have said… attention, time to yourself, two parents doting on you all the time… you chose board games. I think that is something we can fix.
Those first few months were pretty hard, right? We all struggled a lot, and sometimes Dad and I weren’t the best about being there for you because we were having a hard time too. We all spent August and September pretty much treading water, each of us trying to help the rest of us stay afloat. We all stayed in it with a combination of humor and grace and help from the people who love us most. And you were so patient and ready to forgive when things went haywire. When I think of those months, grace is the word I think of. You had it for us in abundance as we figured out how to parent two kids, how to divide our time, and how to support both of you in the ways you needed it. Thank you for that. I doubt you’ll remember, in the grand scheme of your life how chaotic those first few months were (in fact, you said to me the other day “remember how great it was when Jia first came home?”), but I will and I will be forever grateful for the maturity and love that you displayed while we transitioned to normal.
You are possibly the world’s most patient sister (most of the time). You are caring and kind, attentive and fun, creative and entertaining. Jia is braver when you are around. She watches you to make sure it’s okay and trusts you implicitly that it is if you say it is. You two crack each other up. You are fiercely protective, and watch out for Jia. You are her comforter, challenger, antagonizer and biggest fan. She admires you so much, and for good reason.
But you are more than a sister, too…. You are kind, funny, smart, creative, “sportsy” (your favorite word to describe yourself right now) and sweet. You have a wide variety of really cool interests from Abraham Lincoln to women’s basketball to Ancient Egypt. You are a great conversationalist. You have lots of good thoughts, and interesting questions and smart things to say. You are FUNNY, on purpose and unintentionally. You are brave and willing to try new things. I could not possibly be more proud of you and I’m so glad you’re my kid.
So, on this, your only child-aversary, I want you to know how proud I am that you are such a great big sister. That I see how hard you try. That I know this hasn’t been the easiest year and that I am so proud of you walking through the hard times with grace and courage and coming out on the other side with your heart wide open, ready to embrace Jia and your new, slightly crazier, definitely louder, life. I am your biggest fan, always.