The Role of a Long Distance Big Sister

One of the greatest titles I have received in my life is the title of “Big Sister.” I’ve been a big sister since I was four- years-old and it has been the best blessing and worst curse. On one hand, my sister is my best friend. She makes me laugh like no one else and can see through each and every facade I put up to the world to get to the bottom of who I really am. She can also be selfish, inconsistent and cruel, like every other sister in the entire world. Our relationship is far from perfect, but I wouldn’t trade it for anything in the world. I grew up with her practically sewn to my hip and we have done everything together since as long as I can remember. I’ve watched her grow into an intelligent, beautiful young woman and I know I sound like her mother but she is basically my baby. I’ve done more than my share of raising her in countless ways and she looks up to me for solace and comfort. At the heart of things, we are two peas in a pod and it’s great. But I’ve been here at New Paltz for over a year and that divide becomes more and more tangible everyday.

I moved to college in August 2016, just days after her 14th birthday and we sobbed in each other’s arms. The scariest part of leaving home was the idea that I’d be so far from my little sister, and in a letter she left me in my favorite teddy bear she confessed her biggest fear was not being able to hug me whenever she wanted. I was mortified at the idea that we would grow apart and be less connected than we’d been our whole lives. Throughout the course of my freshman year, I was going through so many realizations about who I was and wanted to be. All I ever wanted was to share these thoughts with my favorite person. But she was 90 miles away. Sure, texts and phone calls worked but not being able to have her look me square in the face and call me a “cherry blossom” to remind me of my beauty when I felt sad hurt like nothing else.

The idea that I couldn’t be there for her as she was starting her freshman year of high school and be there for all her ups and downs hurt even worse. I wanted to visit and call and connect with her as often as possible, but that was impossible to keep up. We both had to keep going in our lives and find ourselves separately. We needed to come to terms with the separation while maintaining our relationship from afar. Our relationship through our freshman years was rocky and shaky and painful. But then it got easier. We figured out how to coexist from far away. We learned to love the distance and having our own spaces (after having shared a room our entire lives) and now she can visit me or I can head home and we can pick up right where we left off. We adjusted, despite the fear and worry that plagued us, and found a way to sustain our strong sister bond. She is still my best friend, she calls for advice, she visits me when she can and she will always be the best little sister I could ever ask for.