My Big Sister

baby sisMy big sister was my best friend from the day I was born. Legend has it that when she came to visit me in the hospital and the nurse wheeled me back to the nursery, 2-year-old Heather yelled after the woman, “Hey LADY! You take good care of my baby!” For the first months of my life, she nearly smothered me with love and then she started taking care of me herself.

She played games with me. She helped me learn to imagine.

She was Leia. I was Luke. (I was younger and had shorter hair)

luke and leah

She was the Princess. I was the Prince. (shorter hair excuse again)

She was Sandy. I was Danny. (yep. Shorter hair.)

She was Mary. I was Laura. (This one I liked. Mary was always the boring goody-goody who cried all the time and threatened to go tell Pa. Laura was the risk taker, the one who could kick Nelly’s trash. Laura married a guy named Manly. On the other hand, every bad thing that could possibly happen to a person happened to Mary. She even went so far as to go blind and, as if that weren’t enough, the blind school burned to the ground.)

Okay. End of tangent.

She swung higher than me. I looked to her to teach me.


I was the “brave one” but she was the one who let me sleep with her until I was 12 because I was so scared of the dark.


She was the voice of reason and I was the mischief. She was ladylike and I liked to jump out of trees to see if I could break my arm and get a cast.


She read great books and told me the stories at night because I was too lazy to read them myself. Besides, I still believe she told them better than the original writers. Eat that L.M.!

light brite

We went on a game show together, lost (darn you blue team!) and still remained friends.


She did my hair like THIS for the first day of Junior High.

crazy hair

We were, and still are, silly together.


Although we went through periods where we divided our shared bedroom with tape and even occasionally with a cardboard wall, when we got to college we chose to room together. We graduated at the same time because she had taken 2 years off to serve as a missionary.


She spent the summer with me in Quebec and told me I had a great French accent. She translated for me when I needed help. One thing I know – If someone shouts “Vive Quebec!” on St. Jean Baptiste Day, you’d better shout it back!


She dressed like a tween with me and went to see the Backstreet Boys in concert because, “They’re so lame that they’ll break up any minute now. THIS MAY BE OUR LAST CHANCE TO SEE THEM IN CONCERT!” She was a High School teacher at the time and me a Librarian.


When I found a new best friend and moved out of our apartment, she celebrated with me, although I know it was hard.


She cried when she held my baby for the first time, so amazed that her baby sister had made a person and so instantly filled with love for Laylee.

baby laylee

When Magoo was born and my world fell apart, she got on a plane.

We’re learning how to be mothers together. I guess we’ve been learning for a long time. I do hope we’re nicer to our kids than we were to my brother. 🙂

little mothers

When I describe Heather to people, I always say, “She’s a lot like me, only nicer.” And it’s true. She is the truest friend, the most loyal and compassionate person. She is talented in so many ways. She works hard and she is hard on herself. She is vulnerable. But her very vulnerability and her willingness to share her insecurities makes her more likeable.

And no, she’s not dead. This is not a eulogy. I just like her. (Besides, her eulogy would talk more about how wonderful she is and less about Laura Ingalls Wilder and the Backstreet Boys.)

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34 Responses to My Big Sister

  1. carrie says:

    That was sweet. When I was growing up, my best friend and I would play Diana and Anne (from “Anne of Green Gables”) and she ALWAYS insisted on being Diana because she was prettier. AND, we formed ourselves a little “Mystery Club” that was totally lame, but SHE got to the president and I had to be the secretary. I guess she thought she could push me around because she’s older.

    Your wedding looked beautiful! 🙂

  2. Heth says:

    That deserves a big AWWWWWWWWW. Very fun. Sister are awesome.

  3. Grammy says:

    Those are some of my greatest memories as well. I have always loved that you kids had each other. After a lifetime of wanting a sister, I was so glad that my girls each got to have one of their very own. (Sorry about the brothdr situation, A.)

    and…legend my foot. That whole thing actually happened. I can still see Heather in her tiny little red flannel hospital gown yelling into the nursery, “Lady! Hey, Lady. You take good care of my baby sister.” The nurse was completely cracked up.

    The 2 of you have been cracking me up and filling my heart ever since. Love you!

  4. Jenna says:

    I think everyone’s eulogy should mention the Backstreet Boys. And perhaps feature an interprative dance to “I Want it That Way,” but that’s just me.
    What a sweet, sweet post. Sibling relationships are screwy and wonderful and close knit and sometimes obnoxious in a way nothing else can ever be.

  5. Peter says:

    You had me thinking she was DEAD… I am glad she is alive and such a good friend.

  6. Papa says:

    And this folks, is what makes it all worthwhile.

  7. I agree. Heather is awesome. Well said, Kathryn!

  8. kfk says:

    Sisters are the best! My life without my lil’ sis would be oh so horrible. I’m sure you two keep each other solid just like my sister and I do. That was a nice tribute.

  9. MommyMaki says:

    That’s really nice. I’m sure she’s very happy to have a sister like you too.

  10. Reading your story was like reading my own. Only backwards!

    I’m the big sister! We did almost all of those things and we still love each other too…only across almost 900 miles.

    Are you guys still in physical proximity? It’s so hard when you’re not!

    Great story…I think we need more! (of the sister thing)

    ps…sorry…I’m gonna have to follow your lead at the risk of copying (not your format just the idea) i now have the need to eulogize my sis too,,,how else will she know what I’ll say when she dies!!!

  11. blackbird says:

    you are both lucky –

    and blessed.

  12. Susie Q says:

    Can I just say that I love that you went to a BSB concert! I met those boys back in the day on a Wal-Mart tour. Crazy memories! Anyway, thanks for sharing your stories! They brighten my day!

  13. That is such a sweet sweet post about your sister. Moving, I hope you share it with her!

    I love it!

  14. jessica says:

    I love a good sisters post. And that was a good one!

  15. Caryn says:

    How sweet. I always wished I had a sister; now that feeling is especially strong.

    I have to say, too, it’s amazing how much Heather looks like the pictures of her as a child! I think it’s mostly in the eyes. I don’t see as strong a resemblance with you, but then, I only know you both through pictures & blogging anyway, so maybe it’s there.

  16. Queen Beth says:

    I just loved that. It brought tears to my eyes. I’m such a cry baby. What a precious thing you both have in each other!!

  17. Peach says:

    What a fitting tribute, Kathryn, and it is so much better to do while the person is living and can enjoy it! You are a precious younger sister.

    I only hope my two daughters will be able to look back and appreciate each other that way.

  18. Emily says:

    thanks for sharing that with us; it was such a sweet post. brought back many memories of me and my sisters growing up.

  19. Addie says:

    That was BEAUTIFUL!

  20. Karen says:

    Ok. Words don’t describe how much I love this. The pictures, the memories, the tribute. So wonderful. It makes me want to get in the car and hunt my sister down and smother her with hugs. Sisters are a wonderful gift.

  21. HLH says:

    What a sweet thing to do, and how great that you have such a bond. I just watched “In Her Shoes” last night so it was very appropriate to read about the bond of sisters!

  22. Goslyn says:

    What a lovely tribute to your sister. The two of you are very lucky to have each other.

    Nice redesign, by the way.

  23. Lauren says:

    That was very sweet, can I be your much older sister?

    It’s so cool that you are so close and that you both blog! I wish more of my family blogged like yours, almost guaranteed linkage. Kidding, with my family it wouldn’t be guaranteed anyway. 🙂

  24. Lei says:

    That is so sweet! My girls are going to be 7 years apart, but I hope they have that connection. I have no sisters, but got a great sil, so have had a taste of sisterhood. You sound very lucky!

  25. Lee says:

    What a great post. I hope my kids get along as well as you and your sister.

  26. bowersita says:

    I loved the pictures! Heather is one of the greatest isn’t she?! Boy am I glad I met her, by meeting her all the rest of you! And you my dear, I have never met anyone so freakishly intelligent, funny, witty, and talented. I still have that striped sweater you gave me and I still feel cool wearing it. You introduced me to wearing the color orange. Love ya all.

  27. Your Big Sis says:

    Thank you so much. That made my day in a very tough week. I love you so much. I will cherish this post, and keep it in my journal forever!

  28. Really neat post, I love the picture of you two snuggled in bed, it reminds me of my kiddos. I’ve been enjoying your blog for a while now and finally got the courage to start my own when I realized my step daughter and I doing the great parking spot dance, might qualify as good blogging. 😉

  29. emlouisa says:

    Awwww. Great post. She sounds like a great sister!

  30. Liz says:

    That was so sweet. It makes me want to go see my little sister right now. Actually, everything right now makes me want to go see my sister!!

  31. Margaret says:

    Hey! _I_ like your sister a ton, too! And I was the 2nd girl, and had the shorter hair and always played the boy. But those games were with my younger sis, and I was SO PROUD of that boy-ability.

    LOVE the junior high pictures! 🙂 Did we ALL do that bang thing?!

  32. Add me to the cry-baby list. I could barely read anymore, my eyes where full o’tears. I’m just so glad I was able to wipe and blow my nose, and finish reading This is not a eulogy. AAAAWWWWW, that was awesome, thanks you so much for sharing all those wonderful pictures and the stories. You are both very blessed.

  33. surcie says:

    I am the big sister. After reading this, I wish I had a big sis!

    BTW, reading about your difficult time after Magoo’s birth brings back so many memories of my own experience.

  34. YOu two are so blessed to have each other! How I wish I had a sister!

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