Today is my sister's birthday.  As a tribute to her, and a sort-of present since she knows I'm hopeless at them, I decided to make her the star of my post today.  Meet Danielle...or Nell as I call her.  That guy?  Her wonderful hubby, Chad.  They are a couple of my favorite people on the planet.  Nell is an extremely hardworking, hilarious, beautiful, kid at heart.  She is an amazing sister and a wonderful Aunt to my kids.  She is my best friend.  I truly don't know what my life would have been like without her. 

We grew up very close in age (only 21 months apart) and we spent almost our entire lives doing things together- whether we liked it or not.  As young children we got along fairly well.  We played barbies and dress up and spent endless hours outside on bikes, our swingset and the playhouse my grandpa built us.  It was when I started school and made my own friends that we had trouble getting along.  I remember endless fighting with her in those years.  Thinking that I just wanted to have time to myself with my friends and without her.  If only I had known how close we would eventually become. 

As we eased into being teenagers, we finally figured out that we got along really well.  A lot of our friends were mutual and we could make each other laugh.  In high school, we became the best of friends.  Spending hours upon hours with each other doing band and spending time with our friends.  We shared clothes (not always nicely), boy issues and excitements, talked through frustrations and problems, laughed and joked and hugged our way through those years.  We were nearly inseparable.

Then I went to college, got married and moved 2,000 miles away.  In those years she really paved her own path, deciding what she wanted to do in life and going for it.  Our lives were busy, and we didn't talk as much as we should have.  But every time we were together, it was as easy as it always was.  We are two of a an opposite sort of way.

When I moved closer, things got easier, we talked more, and our lives started to line up a little better once she married her high school sweetheart.  Nearly a year later, I had a baby and Nell became an Aunt for the first time.  I have never loved my sister more than I did the first time she held Zoe and then Paige.  To see the love she had for my children clearly displayed in her eyes was the most beautiful thing.  Zoe and Paige absolutely love their Aunt Nell.  They are super close. 

Nell was always better with kids and had a general love for them that I never had.  She is the kid at heart that I will never be.  I learn a lot from her about mothering as I watch her love and play with my girls when we are around.  She never hesitates to jump in and help me with them when she can.  I can't wait to watch her mother her own child- who will grace us in just a few short months.

On her birthday, I want her to know that while she suffered from "second child syndrome", it was actually me who looked up to her for the athleticism I never had, for her outgoing and addictive personality, for never being afraid to be herself.  I'm grateful to her for everything she has done for me in the past few years.  She has bailed me out numerous times and in more ways than one.  I am grateful for her constant support and trust in the decisions I make for my life.  I am grateful for the love that she has for my husband and my girls.  Most importantly, I am thankful for the love she has for me, for being by my side all these years, for being my best friend and the most amazing sister a girl could ask for.  Happy Birthday, Nell.  I love you!

Aren't siblings awesome?  I love mine!  I have four more amazing siblings, as well as their spouses and Matt's siblings and spouses.  Don't know what I would do without them!  Tell me about yours!

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