In the middle of the night when I’m lost in my feelings and need a voice of reason, she always picks up. She calls me three times a week, even if I can’t answer the phone. And despite my age, when I visit her in North Carolina, she tucks me in.
I’m blessed. For much of my life, my big sister Mitzi has been my other mother. She has grace, humility and faith. She gives me the courage to be myself. Even before she had my beautiful niece and nephew, I would think of her on Mother’s Day. Mitzi, assistant mom. So many big sisters play that part.
J Helton, 27, says his big sister, Brittany Waugh, 30, is a fearless leader and inspiration. The two grew up in Lebanon, Mo., but now he’s a Kansas City insurance claims adjuster and she’s a new mom and wife in Springfield. Still, they haven’t missed a beat.
“My sister mothers me by going out of her way to listen to my problems and provide thoughtful advice,” J says. “We girl talk about boy trouble, share recipes and have too many inside jokes to count! She always makes room for me in her life and her home, and makes me feel like a special part of my new baby niece’s life.
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“I followed her footsteps into the insurance industry, and she taught me that sometimes the best way to grow professionally is to volunteer to improve your community. I am inspired by the philanthropic work she has done in the fields of mental health and LGBT at-risk youth.”
Taelar Stevens of Kansas City says the 13-year age gap between her and her sister Monica automatically gave their relationship a different weight.
“She pushes me just as hard as my mom does, if not harder at times,” says Taelar, a 19-year-old Missouri State University freshman. “I can go to my mom and my sister for anything. My sister doesn’t baby me. She gives me her complete advice but lets me figure things out in my own way. I love her and she is my role model.”
“Her drive? She is not like an ordinary person to me. She takes the smallest things and with her determination makes them the biggest things. She is unique, she stands up and says how she feels and she picks her battles wisely. She makes me want to have that kind of passion. She can do anything and knowing that shows me I can do anything.”
Val Cartwright has a joke about big sisters: “The main difference between older sisters and moms is my older sister can hit me without it being called child abuse.”
He’s just playing. At 16, things can get tense between him and his 18-year-old sister Phoenixx, but he says he admires her smarts and confidence.
“She knows her self-worth and she shapes me by keeping me in check. Whenever I say something I’m not supposed to, she is there to scold me. She keeps me out of trouble and makes sure I do well in school. Although she does get on my nerves, I know it’s for my own good.”
Big sisters have all the best parts of a best friend and a mama. When they love you tough and force you to face hard truths, you’re better for it.
So on Mother’s Day this Sunday, as we celebrate our mommies, let’s also give a round of applause to the big sisters — the mini moms in our lives.