today is my littlest sister’s birthday.

she’s on the left in that second picture.

i just spent twenty minutes looking through her facebook photos, tracing her last year in college back to pictures that were taken on her 21st birthday twelve months ago.

i realized she’s probably a little jilted by the fact that she’s turning 22.

she’s at that age during which she’s not quite sure what it’ll mean to be an adult, and although she’s more ready for it than i ever was, she’s in a dear, intimate relationship with her life as a college student and future adult.

what’s always impressed me about her is how aware she’s become of who she can be right now, the kind of life she’s able to take part in.

oh, and the fact that she’s the only photogenic person in our entire(ly huge) extended family. oh, and she can literally talk to anyone.

my little sister is a senior down at st. louis university, where she’s fallen in with the sweetest, most genuine group of young women that i think exists in college right at this moment. her clan is the reflection of a girl who seemed only to need a bit of space from the parental pressure and sheltered environment of a cookie-cutter hometown in order to blossom into this inspiring, shiny version of what once was.

each one of them walks around with this glow of intention and purpose, fully owning their insecurities and fully aware of their fortunate place in the time line of life.

what will i do when i graduate?
i certainly don’t know…but i sure would like to make an impact.

we can all look at our newest young adults and jest at their naivety.

but we all know we stood in that sand.

and when you look closely, like i look at my young little kin and her friends…well, the truth is you find the hope we all have for our own futures. you find your own motivations and desires to really be who we’re meant to be.

ten years ago i’d have said my kid sis was a non-issue.
i thought i won fights even if i didn’t.
i had high school things to worry about…she was a grade school afterthought.
when we teamed up on our middle sibling, great. most of the time i was a self-involved twit.

today i look at this wonderful young women like i’m watching the play-by-play on the birth of a snowflake.
there’s just one version.
it’s a one time thing, baby, and if you blink you might miss something.

you don’t know many people their whole life. you don’t remember the day everyone came home from the hospital cherry red and screaming bloody murder. for me, that list is two people long, and because she’s the last to show up, she’s the one i remember pretty damn well.

and now she’s making the world vibrate.

she’s traveling the world like no one i’ve ever know.
she’s circled the world in a boat!

she’s knee deep in experiences that everyone i know talked about experiencing.
she’s smiling and befriending you and your parents and your friends without introduction or hesitation.

she’s placing her mark on the room.

and on the world.

and the love i feel for you, my dear little sister, literally brings a tear to my eye.

happy birthday, baby sis.

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