3 years and 7 months. For 3 years and 7 months I was mom and dad’s world, their favorite (and only) child. And then came you. Now, I don’t remember the day you came home from the hospital, nor do I remember holding you for the first time but I do remember what has happened over the last 29 years. Like most siblings you became my best friend, but also my greatest nemesis…
You were the cutest and biggest tattle tale of all time. You had this way of melting mom and dad and getting them to believe you were innocent in whatever offense you were telling on me for. It looked a little something like this: walk up to mom and dad, make a pouty face while looking at the floor, ONLY look up with your eyes. This was the signature Ashley move. And it worked. Every. Time. I was always in trouble.
Don’t worry though… I too took full advantage of our almost 4-year age gap. I was bossy, paid you to do my chores (10 pennies are certainly worth more than ONE paper dollar right?!), and had you fetch things for me like you were my servant. I made sure you knew that your ideas were simply not as fun as mine… ever. We mostly played the games and did the things I wanted. Clearly, I was living my best big sister life.
Sibling rivalry aside, we had fun. And there are oodles of photos to prove it. We had tea parties with grandma, swam for hours in the pool, played barbies, baked sugar cookies, had Easter egg hunts year-round (sorry about the one that melted on top of the lamp & stunk up the house for an entire month mom!) and even welcomed home a baby brother together 7 years later.
We are different you and me. I am loud and unafraid to speak my mind while you are quiet and more reserved. I wanted to take on the world as a kid (I was certain I would be the next Tara Lipinski or Dominique Moceanu) but you? You wanted a family. Something like 10 kids before you were 20. You were made to be a mommy.
Holding my nephew for the first time 5 years ago is a memory I will not soon forget. Becoming an auntie was topped only by becoming a mom myself. Each addition to your family has filled my heart with more and more joy. Watching their personalities bud and develop has been so fun. They are each so different and so unique.
You make parenting these 3 littles look easy. You let your kids be kids while still raising them to be respectful and kind. I love how you embrace the silliness of childhood and let their individuality shine through. What I respect most about you as a mom is that you have spoken truth into them from infancy. You are the model of Christ in how you parent. Full of patience, love, and grace.
My favorite images are the ones where the kids’ personalities came out to play. Garrett wanting to do his own special “hand on hip” pose, Reesie crushing the “signature Ashley” move when she didn’t get her way, the sheer joy on Garrett & Reesie’s face when they received a lollipop and Addie being completely delighted anytime she was in your arms and extremely displeased when she wasn’t.
You have become one of my closest friends in adulthood and I am proud to call you my sister. This will forever be such a special shoot to me. I love you!