She's four-and-a-half years younger than me and I remember being so happy to see my parents bring home a little sister. Brandon is a year younger than me, Jessica is two years my junior, Keith is nearly six years younger and, of course, Monika is the youngest at 15 years and 10 months younger than her oldest sister.
My sisters and I are almost a paradox in many ways. We share the same ethics and morals. We share the same discipline and respect for our parents. We share the same compassion and dedication to doing the right thing. However, it's our differences which bond us.
While I am the academic; Jessica is the artist, specifying in music; and, as it turns out, Angela is the athletic one. She'll turn 16 in four weeks and she's already participated in tae kwon do for nearly half of her life. During the spring, this freshman girl earned her role as the starting second baseman on her school's junior varsity softball team -- and started each of her team's 16 games.
I take a great pride the accomplishments of all of my siblings and have always enjoyed going to their recitals, games and other events to support them. I often cry when they do well and hold a heavy heart when things are going roughly.
I'm very proud of Angela. She hasn't had the easiest of roads and, despite her assertions to the contrary, I think there have been times that maybe I haven't set the best example an oldest sister can set. I cherish the time I get to spend with the middle of my youngest sisters. We call her Angi.
One night when I was seven and Angela was two, my mother began teaching her to write her name and a few familiar words.
The first was easy. Mom told her to spell her first name: A-N-G-E-L-A. My sister aced that one. Next my mom said since we call her Angie, to spell it.
Mom said something to the effect of "It looks like you forgot a letter at the end. There's supposed to be an "E" there."
Angela paused, and then: "I don't want the 'E.'"
"But Angela, it's spelled with an "E" on the end."
"I don't want the "E," my sister said, plainly.
Mom repeated her assertion and Angela stubbornly refused to write down the "E."
This back-and-forth engaged for at least 20 minutes as my crowd of a family watched in dismay. I honestly wasn't sure who was correct. Angela said only one line, but she must have said it 50 times; "I don't want the "E."
My dad would later tell us that when he got up and went over to them, it was in hopes of ending the futility of his wife whom he married because of her intelligence, and his daughter whom he felt at the time might just become the most stubborn girl in the world.
"So, you don't want the 'E' at the end of ANGI?"
My sister repeated her line and mom gestured to my dad in frustration.
Dad asked another question and told Angela to listen to it extremely closely and to think about it. "Are you never going to want the 'E?' If you say no, you can never have the 'E.'"
"I never want the 'E,'" my sister responded.