It all began with a question.

“Hey mom”, I asked. “Do you have any pictures of me when I was a kid?”

My mom, loving person that she is, went through all of our photo albums in her house in Bahrain, and brought a huge envelope of pictures with her when she came to visit. Imagine my surprise when, going through all the pictures, I realized there were only two of me alone. Two of two hundred. All the others were pictures of me with my little sister.

It got me thinking about my childhood. I slowly went through the memories in my mind and laughed. Turns out the oldest one I have is of a funny little baby with ridiculously curly hair: my sis.

In many ways, my little sister is like the other half of who I am. Our friends often say we’re like two people with one soul. We look at each other and each know what the other is thinking. We can read each other’s lips and body language from across rooms. We know each other so well that we can predict movements, actions, and emotions before they happen.

We go a long way, she and I. Twenty four years, to be precise. Our teeth fell out together, and we watched all the same movies, and both learned very quickly to refuse to give our older brothers bites of our burgers. “They have too big mouths and eat it all in one bite!”, she would cry.

She taught me how to dress up, to hug and laugh, and to care about another human being more than myself. I taught her to play Super Mario, to be independant and strong, and to never take shit from anyone (except for mom, because she’s scarier than the bogeyman).

At night when it was dark, and she was afraid, I would hold her hand til she fell asleep. I was afraid too, scared shitless even, but I was brave for her, because she was my baby. It didn’t matter that I was 6 and she was 3, I was ready to protect her fearlessly. “Let the monsters come,” I thought. “I’ll fight them all off.”

When I got M&Ms in a tube, she would come up to me and put out her hand. I would pour them out until she was satisfied, because I had to make sure she ate. When I moved out of our shared apartment 15 years later, I still sent her tupperwares of food, because I had to make sure she ate.

As we got older, we shared some pretty significant events. I was there for her first real boyfriend, and held her while she cried after her first breakup. I bragged about her having a genius IQ, a full 9 points above mine. I was proud when she graduated, more proud when she started doing her Master’s, and even more so when she had the courage to quit and search for her true passion instead.

I’ve always been there for her, and will continue to do so until I’m gone.

But she’s all grown up now, and she has another man taking care of her. A good man, whom I trust with my little baby. She doesn’t need me to take care of her as much, although every now and then she does call when she needs a little help. In fact, nowadays I bring my problems to her, and she knows me well enough to say exactly what I need to hear.

She’s tall, slim, brilliant, beautiful, and an exceptional human being. When most people meet her, they see a radiant young woman that’s going to take over the world.

But she’ll always be a funny little baby with ridiculously curly hair to me.

I love you little sis.

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