For the Love of Big Sisters

Originally posted at SheLoves Magazine.

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I didn’t really grow up with my three sisters. The age gap between us meant they grew up with each other and I grew up with my brothers.

In my memories, my sisters have always been adults. Even when they weren’t quite old enough to drive, they were old enough to care for me and rescue me and so, of course, that made them grownups.

I often tell people my sister Jennifer was the first adult I ever trusted.

But we didn’t have that relationship sisters often have. We didn’t share or fight over clothes or friends or the TV remote. We didn’t have to take turns using the phone.

My sisters were my caretakers. I didn’t even know what it was like to have a sister until four years ago when I moved in with two of mine.

Mercy.

All the time lost swiping clothes from one another and slamming doors and fighting for the bathroom has been recouped in these four years.

I had never been the sister anyone had a fight with. I was always told where holidays were happening and I was never asked to bring anything.

Then I had to go and ruin it. First, by living with my sisters and then by having this grand idea to open a business with them. The nerve.

I used to be beloved, adored and, at the very least, tolerated.

But now we roll our eyes at each other and argue and bombard each other with group texts. We gossip about each other and then, because we care too much to keep secrets, we tell the others what we’ve been saying.

Our Instagram tagline is “Three sisters trying to open a café and not kill each other.” It’s no joke.

The thing is: now we live.

I always knew unconditional love from my sisters. But now I live it. I live out forgiveness and patience (or I try to). I live out what it means to love beyond what I thought possible and to ask for help and show up even when I don’t feel like it.

Some days it seems like we could not possibly be more different from each other. But scrape off our personal aesthetics and music choices and our ideas for a good vacation and you will find three strong, independent women who want one thing out of life: to love others well.

The three of us disagree at least once every day. We get snappy and snarky and pushy and wounded. But, girl, we love well.

And we learned it from each other.

It is the entire reason we are opening a cafe. We want to love our neighbors well. We have hustled for the past two years to open Red Elm Cafe and it seems this summer is finally when it is going to happen. Finally! A little breakfast and lunch spot right in the Hilltop. A place for community. A place where I can be snarky and kind and comical all the time because I’m the boss.

It promises to be magical. It also promises to drive us all crazy.

Life will temporarily get a little less global soon. My wanderlust heart is trying not to panic when I think about being planted in one place for so long. It is good. It is sacred. It is necessary. And it totally freaks me out.

It is the first time in my life I have considered doing only ONE job. Just one. Just this business that I am going to be the boss of (and by that I mean I will have to answer to two other bosses because they are my bossy big sisters).

I’m the kind of person who fills life to the absolute brim and then adds more. My cistern has been on the verge of bursting a few dozen times.

This is where I tell you I am stepping down from my editorial positions here with SheLoves. At least, for now. I have spent more than three glorious years creating graphics and copy-editing and sometimes managing and always praying.

At my last meeting the editorial team made me ugly cry when they told me all the beautiful things they think of me. As if I am leaving. For the record, I’m not. I’ll be writing. I’ll be in the comments. I might stealthily copy-edit (shhhhh, don’t tell).

Here I have learned to love well. From my sisters who share my genes and from my sisters who share my heart. Lovelys, you really know how to love well.

Now it is time for me to go back to revising a cafe floor plan. As my friend Tina so generously told me, “Sarah, you say you are going to do something and you just do it.” Hope she is right, because here I go.

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