Happy 28th Birthday to my Sister Alexandra

I will try to not get all mushy because she will just roll her eyes, yet secretly soak it all up…

I shared this collage of photos on social media earlier this morning.

Today, 28 years ago my mother gave birth to a baby girl, a few weeks before schedule, but right on time for my sister Alexandra.

I was in high school and excited to FINALLY have a younger sibling—my requests years earlier had gone unanswered, but now I was finally able to look into the eyes of a sibling who would look up to me with anticipation and an expectation that I would always love and protect them—and for 28 years I have never wavered or let her down.

She’s added to the culmination of gray hairs on my head, stress lines on my face, aches throughout my body, and the sometimes rapid beating of my heart. She has cost me money that I didn’t plan to spend, kept me up worrying throughout the night, made me cry in the deepest of pain, and made me wonder if this was some twisted joke God was playing on me to test my patience.

I jokingly-yet-seriously hope that these moments give me a “pass” for when I have my own child, and the rollercoaster is less intense, like seriously [*smile*].

At the same time my sister has brought me many days of joy and laughter, has grown into the woman that I can speak to when I need to vent or bounce ideas off of, can be counted on in case I may “lose it” and “go off” on someone, and a great keeper of memories—easily and vividly recalling the past moments shared with our loved ones.

Although there have been times when I wanted to choke the mess out of her, I wouldn’t trade my sister for anyone. She is a light in my life and in her eyes and smile I see the little girl that first warmed my heart and wrapped me around her little finger.

Even as life has taken her through a few rounds, mostly through her doing, she still has a sense of innocence that hasn’t been captured. I pray that she clings tightly to it for it’s the extra special “sauce” that keeps us youthful, optimistic, hopeful, resilient, faithful, honorable, and loving.

My little sister is a mommy now. I’m so proud of her and her evolution over the past 12 months. My nephew Logan is three months old and when I look into his eyes I see his mommy. When I see his smile and hear that growl, I see his mommy. I make the same promise to him that I made to his mommy when she was born—I will invest every day of my life loving, nurturing, and protecting him as I have his mommy. I will allow him to learn lessons as I’ve tried to allow my sister to learn lessons, without a safety net, so that the lesson can be learned and not repeated.

My sister now is beginning to see, through the lens of a mother, what sacrifice, devotion, dedication, selflessness, and all of the other vital ingredients of parenthood actually means in real-time. As the months and years progress she will see, feel, and experience what our mother and father did, and what our mother continues to see, feel, and experience.

Giving birth to Logan and raising him has been (and will be) the biggest, most important, most challenging experience in my sister’s life. She wasn’t mature enough years ago when many of her friends began families of their own. I’m grateful that she waited. At 27 she discovered that she would be a mommy. Now at 28 she has the opportunity to be the best mommy that she can be. She can be the best woman, worker, and if she wants—business owner or student, that she wants to be.

Her boyfriend Shawn has an amazing three-year-old daughter Giovanna that he is coparenting with her mother Danielle, and my family has embraced his daughter and her mother as members of our family.

Giovanna and Logan are siblings, always and forever, and with that unbreakable bond comes a commitment from the adults involved, which includes in-laws, that states we will all work together to ensure that these children are raised and nurtured in the best environment possible without them ever feeling the stress and strain of life as “half” anything–they are not half-siblings, they are siblings.

Giovanna’s mother Danielle knows that Auntie Tasha loves and treats Giovanna the exact same way as I would if my own sister gave birth to her. Danielle knows that she can count on me, lean on me, and speak to me whenever she needs me—as I’ve stepped in as a surrogate big sister. That’s what family is all about and I’m so proud of my sister Alexandra for embracing this reality, working patiently to make this blended family a healthy one, so that Giovanna grows up knowing that she has extra family members (me and my mom) who shower her with love and support.

My sister helped to make this so. Imagine what else she can make possible through hard work, commitment, dedication, and faith.

There are no limits, except the ones she places upon herself. I pray that my sister listens to the advice and counsel of those older and younger—as God speaks through all of us in times when He doesn’t reach her fully during her moments of solitude.

I pray that she sees and embraces opportunities that can be blessings for her and her new, blended family. I pray that she embraces opportunities that will allow her to shine professionally and socially, for she isn’t the type of person to hide in the shadows. She is a brilliant light that needs to shine brightly as a testimony to God’s loving grace.

I pray that my sister walks in a way that makes her proud but not prideful, confident yet not arrogant, and makes her think of our father and other loved ones who look upon us as our guardian angels. They sacrificed much for us and I pray that each day she reflects upon that fact, and works harder and smarter to overcome obstacles and create solutions when others only see problems—so that those who have transitioned from this life can smile and see their legacy living through my sister, and being passed down to my nephew Logan and niece Giovanna.

I’ve been calling her “Poonka” since she was a baby. I have no clue how I came up with the nickname, but it’s hers, it stuck, and nobody is allowed to call her that but me. She’s the first to say, “you can’t call me that. Only my sister can!”

Today and every day I celebrate my sister’s birth, her life, her triumphs and her struggles. I celebrate the woman that she has become and the woman that she is destined to be.

Happy 28th birthday Alexandra!

I love you Poonka!!!!!!

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