I begged my parents to give me a little sister when I was little. Of course, I don’t remember that part very well. I remember my mother being pregnant and I specifically remembering proclaiming we would name her, “Barbie Doll.” I clearly didn’t win that battle.

I remember the day my sister was born. I was woken up by my grandparents and pulled out of my bunk bed to go to the hospital. I remember seeing my mom hold her for the first time. I remember thinking this was the coolest thing in the world to happen. I was a big sister to a little baby now!

I remember bringing home library books from school “for Hunter.” I’d make art, “for Hunter.” I’d do just about anything for this child I just met.

5 years isn’t a large age difference but it isn’t a small one either. My sister is like no one I’ve ever met and she has taught me so much in her almost 18 years of existence, more than I could ever write about. Hunter is a special shining star that I’m careful to share with anyone because she’s my special shining star and she means the world to me.

Here are a few of the many things she has taught me.

Patience

All siblings run into this issue of course. However, mine is different in some ways.

My sister has a speech impediment. It can be very hard to understand her when she gets excited and talks fast without annunciating. Some days, I can understand her as clearly as any other person around me but other days it can be frustrating to try to explain, “I’m not cutting you off, I’m asking you to slow down and repeat what you said because I want to hear what you have to say.”

Her speech has improved in a lot of ways and when she intentionally wants to be heard, she tries her hardest and it shows. But back in the day when we lived together at home, it’d feel exhausting (especially as a self-centered teenager) to have to ask my sister to repeat what she says every time she says anything.

Because of this, over the years I’ve grown more patient as a person. When others around me need extra time, I’m willing to wait and let them do what they need to do to complete that task. Whether it’s repeating a story so others can understand it to something simple like changing their outfit 5 times before leaving. I know now that sometimes you need that extra time. Thanks, Hunter.

Love & Forgiveness

My sister has never been one to hold a grudge for too long. She’d do the passive aggressive note on her bedroom door for everyone to leave her alone but that usually only lasted about 10 minutes and then she was back to hugging you and telling you she loves you.

We’ve been wronged by some of the same people but Hunter has always been quicker to forgive and move on. She’s an emotional being. (Which has driven me to being impatient and snapping at her to quit crying when we were younger…)

Hunter loves church, she loves worship, she loves God. I think that’s a huge part of why she’s able to forgive as quickly as she does. (Other than being raised by a mother who could forgive anyone for even the worst things.)

I’m able to forgive people when I think they deserve it but I’ve been known to hold onto things longer than I should. I believe you should forgive easily but sometimes I also think forgiveness should be earned. Hunter isn’t like that.

Hunter loves everyone she meets. She wants everyone to be happy. When she deals with people who are mean to her, she forgives them. In fact, sometimes she’ll try even harder to friend them and make their lives more pleasant. While I still have my own battles to fight with forgiveness, she truly has taught me to let things go, love those around me, and move on. Life is too short.

Kindness

Anyone who has ever been around humans has likely been made fun of for some reason or another. Or been bullied in some capacity. This is why I ran for the hills from high school. Lucky for me and my sister, my mother was willing and happy to homeschool us.

But even in homeschooling, we encountered people who weren’t too nice. Especially with my sister’s learning differences, there have been some meanie-butt-heads along the way. I think this goes for most people: you can make fun of me and be mean to me but don’t you dare insult my sister.

My mother taught us that we should be nice to everyone, even those who are different from us and may have different thoughts and beliefs. Because of this and other reasons, my sister knows no stranger. She has always been this cute and sweet kid who would approach anyone. My sister is the only person I’ve ever known to not look at or treat someone who is atypical any different than someone who is “typical.” And I admire her so much for that.

Hunter has had her fair share of bullying in her life. It kills me as her sister who lives across the country and can’t do anything about it. When she calls me to tell me about the kids that are being mean, it breaks my heart. But you know what she does? She moves on and is still nice to these little punks. 

“Sissy, they don’t know any better. I feel sorry for them.” Excuse me, what?! She is too good for this planet and I get choked up when I think about it. Hunter has taught me to be kind no matter what.

Thanks, Hunterbelle.

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