An Open Letter to My Sister On The Eve of My High School Graduation

Wow. I really can’t believe how fast the time has gone, or when you stopped being the girl with pigtails, but you did. You changed. You grew up. So did I. Over the course of our young lives you have played an integral part in the shaping of who I am as a person, and I can only hope that I have done the same for you. You’ve taught me how to be reserved, understanding, and level headed in times of stress. You’ve watched me go through meltdowns and extreme highs, all while sitting silently next to me at the table or in the backseat of the car. Thank you for remaining silent, and thank you for voicing your opinion. You are truly wise beyond your years.

So yesterday I graduated high school, and you near the end of your freshman year of high school. High school is like a microcosm for life – you have all your different types of people all mushed into a small building and forced to get along. High school will completely alter the way you think and feel, and although my high school experience wasn’t completely positive, I can only hope that your four years are full of light and conviction . Granted, rough times will I come along, and I seriously wish I could be there to help you through them.

When Domenico left for school, it shook my system. I was used to hiding behind him. Once he left, the harsh spotlight shone all too directly on me. I can only imagine how it will be for you. I know you tell everyone you’re overjoyed, I’m not fooled. I refuse to see through your carefully laid fortress. You, my dear, are terrified. Terrified of failure, terrified of choices, terrified of being forced to understand yourself as anything other than the baby of the family. You’ve spent fifteen years sitting silently in backseats. Now, you are under the sometimes harsh spotlight, forced to voice and battle your opinions.

Now, I have no fear that you will fight strongly and valiantly through the many ordeals that will come your way in the next four years, but I do fear that you will keep them hidden behind a veil of pride. Olivia, high school is not the place for pride. It is the place for humility and understanding, and a place for failure and resurrection. I’m not talking about grades. Sure, you’ll fail a test or a quiz – we all do. I’m talking about the choices you as an independent individual will be forced to make socially, within the family, and within yourself. You have such a strong sense of self already – don’t let others alter that. If you lose yourself, you’ve lost the battle without even fighting the war.

I feel as if I’m making high school out to be this nasty, terrible monster. It’s not. There are high points. Times when you feel overjoyed to be a sophomore or a junior, or even a senior (They’re rare, but they’re there) I wish for you to make the most of these moments. Really live it up. Love life. Be happy. You are one of the most guarded people I know – be trusting. Be Open. Take the risk, go to the party, go on the trip, do something scary. It’s worth it.

At the end of the day, I love you. You’re my little sister, and I feel like now more than ever I have to trust that you will be okay with me 3,000 miles away. You’re so incredibly smart and special and I can only imagine the things you will achieve in the next years, and I wish more than anything I could be there in the day-to-day to experience them with you. Remember – everything happens for a reason. Don’t beat yourself up too hard. Promise me this.

I’m only a Skype call away

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