Happy Birthday Aunt Nikki


Yesterday my baby sister, my one and only sibling, my perpetual enemy and closest friend, turned 21.

Twenty. One.

Two two of us on MY 21st birthday.

One day we were playing Little People, the next we were clawing and smacking and IS THAT MY SHIRT? TAKE OFF MY SHIRTing, and now we're adults. Adults. It just doesn't sound or feel right, not when referring to us as a pair. Because even though we're bigger, older, slightly more mature, a part of us will always be those teenagers in bedrooms across the hall. Somewhere in us there will always be doors slamming and objects thrown and the faint plea from our mother:


We've had good times, don't get me wrong. Like the dress ups, the performances, the family game nights. The giggle-fests over nothing, the belly laughs over everything.

And how about the time she found out I was pregnant, dropped everything and SCREAMED at the top of her lungs? When everyone else was feeling a little (or a lot) of confusion, shock and WTFs, her reaction was pure excitement. And it stayed that way -- sometimes more than I could handle -- until she saw his face.

And now -- now she's more than my sister. She's my son's aunt. She's the one who spends all of her free time and not-so-much-free time with him, playing and laughing and spoiling.

She's the one who makes him


-worthy homemade toys. She's the one who photographs him every month, every week, capturing emotions and milestones I never would.

She's the one who loves him like her own -- and a child can never have too much motherly love.

Happy Birthday, Nikki. Thank you for supporting and helping me, and thank you for loving him. We've been through a lot together --shared secrets, family upheaval, a certain Escalade incident -- and here we are. A mother and an aunt. But once upon a time we were just sisters, and deep down that will always be enough.

I love you.