“You must be Angie’s little sister.”
For the past 35 years, that phrase has followed me wherever I go. From Kindergarten to middle school band, from my first internship to Twitter, I have dodged and ducked, trying to escape being known as anything other than just me. I resented any inference – implied or stated – that people would know me based on my older sister’s achievements and personality.
But as much as I wanted everyone to know that I wasn’t just “Angie’s Little Sister,” I sure got good at following in her much smaller footsteps (That woman has very delicate feet).
In 6th grade, I signed up for band even though 3 years earlier my lovely piano teacher fired me. Because Angie did it first. When I was 17, I got a job as a hostess at a popular beach bar & grill. Because Angie did it first. After I totaled my first car, I got a Fred-Flintstone-Powered Pontiac Sunfire. Because Angie did it first. In 1998, when I moved back to Florida after a failed attempt at being an au pair in France, I quickly chose UCF and moved to Orlando. Because Angie did that first, too.
Each and every time I followed her, whether it was when her friends came over to play or all the way to college, I learned from her.
She taught me that a game of War can last six days and a leg wrestling match can last 30 seconds. She taught me that it’s okay to shop in the ladies department when the juniors made me look like a sausage. And this woman, who still can’t talk about her period, taught me that it’s okay to read smut and like it. But most importantly, she taught me that the person you hoped you’d always stand apart from, can also be the one person you always want by your side.
This summer I’ll move 1,008 miles away – give or take a mile or two – and for the first time in our lives (minus the crazy month I spent in France) we’ll be more than a drive away from each other. But, I know that these miles will not deteriorate the friendship we’ve built since the day she wanted to bring “all the babies” home from the hospital, it will only make us more conscious of the time we are together.
Although she tried to drown me on more than one occasion, she’s the only sister I have. And I love her.
So now when people say to me “You must be Angie’s little sister,” I will proudly answer:
Yes. Yes I am.
Jackie is a former corporate publicist, part-time PR agency VP, and full-time mom to a 4.5 year old wildling and a 2 year old mini-me. She is also Angie’s little sister whose only “did it first” was wearing a bra.