Dear Ashley and Amanda,
I always wanted a sister or a brother. The entire first 7 years of my life, I repeatedly argued why I should get one (although at the time I didn't quite understand that I couldn't have a BIG brother or sister!) as quickly as possible. Then came Ashley. FINALLY. Somehow, I became the big sister, instead of actually getting one. :) One of her first words was a distinctively "Heidi" (although I'm pretty sure that just might have been a figment of my proud big sister imagination!) The year of her birth brought with it a complete change of life as I knew it, but I loved having an adorable baby sister.
Then just a little over two years later, along came Amanda. The most precious little terror.... :)
I babysat both of you a whole lot and you both followed me around even more (sometimes to my great chagrin.) Caring for the two of you, who were both considerably younger, was my first taste of what it meant to be a mommy.
I haven't always been the greatest at fulfilling my big sisterly duties. I spent a few years trying to put myself back together and I avoided being around you both because I didn't want you to see what I had become while overcoming my demons. I didn't want to expose you to my overwhelming depression and the chaos that found me in its wake. I missed a lot during those dark years and I can't help but feel as if in a way, despite my belief that I was doing what was best for you, you might have felt abandoned by me. I have tried my very best since I have emerged from the shadows to be the big sister you need me to be, someone you know you can count on no matter what.
I give advice...but I try to only give it when it's asked for. And even then, in most cases, that advice is a delicate balance between what I think you need to hear and what I think you feel. My heart breaks when yours is broken and even is I am your sister, the mama bear in me comes out if someone hurts you. We get mad at each other. We fight. We make up. Sometimes we go for long periods of time without talking and as much as I hate it, I hope you know that my door is never closed. No matter what, I will always welcome you with open arms and be there when you need me most. We're sisters. For life. You will never get rid of me.
I want you to both know that you are beautiful, smart, funny, and absolutely amazing women. Women I have watched blossom over the years into people that I am proud to know. You are loved. More than you could possibly know. And I want you to never for one second doubt how strong you both are. In the midst of the fiercest storm, you still have the capability to pull yourself up by the bootstraps and come out better on the other side. I had hoped that through the mistakes that I have made and the heartbreak I have endured that I could somehow spare you from ever having your heart broken. But I couldn't. While I might not be able to protect you from the hard knocks of life, I am here...always. No one believes in you more than I do (except maybe your mama!) and I will continue to be a cheerleader, a friend, the voice of reason (or madness if it applies!), your own personal Dear Abby, and one of the many people who loves you unconditionally.
Ashley, things are hard for you right now. I have been in similar shoes before. This isn't the end...although it may be the end of this particular road. That just means that you are embarking on a brand new adventure....albeit with the pieces of your broken heart in hand. It'll mend, even though now it feels like there is no way possible for the pain to cease. It will. It will fade away a little each day. Make no mistake. There is a plan in this as well. And we all know that God's plans are better than what we can plan ourselves. You are tough. You are faithful. You believe in prayer (which you better believe you're wrapped in constantly.) You are chosen.....to become a diamond through God's grace and love. I love you so much and I am rooting for you! Now bring your booty home so I can hug all over you!!!!!!!