25

My sister turned 25 years old on September 24, 2020. I should have posted this on her birthday, but better late than never!

My sister and I have had our fair share of ups and downs. From having to bring her literally everywhere I went when I was a pre-teen, to being complete strangers when all I wanted to do was work and she wanted to excel in sports. From having my most fondest memories with her of throwing TY beanie babies from the top stairs of our Novara house while trying to rush down and catch them before they fell to the ground, to saying our goodbyes when she had to leave Calgary after helping us move our life out there. From seeing her curled up in a ball as her heart broke into pieces where the only thing I could do was curl up in a ball with her, and by noticing every day little changes in her that has shaped her to be who she is today.


As many of you guys know, and I'm sure those who probably don't know me but read my blog posts; my sister IS my family. Through all the crap we've gone through in our lives, we went through it together. Even if there are times we don't see eye to eye, without hesitation, we always have each others side. And although she's my younger sister, I am not ashamed to say that I look up to her in so many ways. I value her opinion, her approval, and her advice. And I wouldn't have it any other way.


So since this post is for her. I wanted to share a few short memories I have with her. I hope you guys all enjoy!


Sister Trip to Toronto

I wrote a really difficult post about a year ago about an unfortunate choice I made back then which I wanted to share with everyone. If you haven't read that post, click here.

About 3 weeks after that incident, my sister had booked us a flight to visit Carla, our cousin, in Toronto. It was spontaneous and costly. But looking back, it didn't matter to her. What mattered was getting me out of Winnipeg, and having the chance to do that, she took it and went with it. There were no second guessing ourselves. We took off work and just left.

Turns out, it helped me a lot. I needed that time away from work, friends... Even Ronnie for that matter. I needed to take that time to enjoy what Toronto had to offer. To basically keep myself busy rather than dwell over what I had just done. I thank Jeni every day for that trip - For literally digging me out of this hell hole I created for myself and showing me what more there is out there. We had such a great time - We shopped, ate A LOT, and got to experience their nightlife which was really cool. Best of all, I got to see Carla. We talked until the sun rose on one night as we drank our sorrows away. We laughed and we cried. It was overwhelming yet so so SO relieving!



1:00 a.m. Curb Side Pick Up

When my parents split up, my sister and I also had to split up. Jeni decided it was best to stay with my mom and I decided to stay with my dad. It was hard for a while as the split wasn't the easiest and my mom hated the fact that she had no control over what went down, but most of all, she didn't have control over Jeni. My sister was probably like any other teenager. Rebelling to basically prove a point. She would have never said she was rebellious at the time, and it's not like she didn't listen to my mom. It was just that Jeni was growing up and the conflict was that my mom wanted her to stay her baby.

We obviously had no control over their divorce either so going out of our way to do things they didn't like only seemed fair. So Jeni went and came as she wished, and my mom hated it. Until this day, my mom always had a hard time compromising with us. In her mind, if she gave Jeni everything she wanted, Jeni would never consider leaving. But she missed one important factor which was growing with Jeni and letting her make her own mistakes. They would argue a lot and eventually it became every night where neither of the two were able to hold onto any emotional anger that any tiny argument led to fighting.


When I got the phone call I was still living at the Campbell house with my dad. I had our friends over. We were going to call it a night until we heard from her. Jeni had just got home from a friends after basketball and had told me that Mom blew up and had her stuff sitting outside of the house. She asked if I could hurry and make my way there. Without hesitation, I did. And as we drove up towards the house, I saw her sitting on the edge of my moms driveway in distressed and out of tears. I went in because I knew I had to go and talk this over with my mom. But like I said, she didn't want to compromise and told me that my sister was better off at my dads "so that she can do whatever she pleases". It was sad to hear such words come out of her mouth, but there was no changing her mind. So we left. Jeni sat in the back seat and in my rearview mirror, I could see how torn she was. How much she had been crying before I could get there. How tired she was from the whole thing. That was when I knew I had to be there for her and would always be that person to be there when she needed me most. I realized that then, and it's never changed.



Surprise I'm HOME

Deciding to move to Calgary was one of the hardest choices I had to make especially so early on in a relationship with Ronnie. But I knew I had to take the chance because how would I know I'd be given that same opportunity to do it later? I was torn because I had built strong friendships, I had a pretty good job, and it seemed like we were able to finally put our family drama to rest. Although my parents split up had impacted me in so many other ways than one. I didn't want THAT to be the reason for me leaving. And ultimately, it never was about that. It was about who I'd be leaving behind to deal with that impact - And that was my sister.


It was maybe only 2-3 months in and Ron and I were already on the way back to visit. We wanted to make it a surprise so we only told a couple friends. One person we wanted to really surprise was my sister so when we got into Winnipeg, we called her first thing. She didn't pick up and at the time, she lived with my dad in the Campbell house. No one answered the door, so we made our way to my moms. They were also surprised.


When my dad finally told me he was home, Ron and I changed our plans and made our way back to settle our stuff in before heading over to Rhosan and Johns to surprise them. My mom planned to have people over at her place since she knew I was here so we made our rounds and headed back to my moms place. Jeni was already there and I could remember it like it was yesterday when we opened the door and she screamed. We ran to each other in tears like we haven't seen each other in years!! It was heartfelt to know we missed each other and the bond we had created a whole year before I left was so strong, I felt with distance it would have changed, but it never did.


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These are just a few vivid memories I have with my sister. I will always remember her first provincial championship finals game when they had lost by only a few points, and how devastated she was not realizing she was only in the 9th grade playing with a whole bunch of 12th graders. I will always remember the day I found out she was hiding her first actual boyfriend from me because they were from the same family. And how awkward it was to confront her about it but us being so young, basically yelling at each other from across the room for no reason. I will always remember those days my brother and I would tease her for being the chubby hello kitty toddler only to her growing up and now teasing us for being old. And I will never forget the drive to Calgary when it was just the two of us watching the whole Hunger Games Trilogy, but noticing how deeply hurt and torn she was the whole trip. Seeing her after her last break up will forever be engraved in my mind and I know it's not something to talk about, but it's a memory that cuts so deep in my heart because I was the one to see her grow out of it and seeing her so happy now (and me being a little over protective due to it) makes up for a happy ending. So here's to you, sis!


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Dear Jeni,

Being 25 years old and having the rest of your life to grow, be in love, and learn is only an understatement. You've already shown me your true self, you've taught me how to be compassionate yet independently strong. You never take anyone's shit because, well, who cares! You've always been the one to take those chances and be THAT person. You're unique in your own way which derives from your passion, your personality, and your goals. People see you glow as you set your own standards on how you live and how you'll impact the world.


Wishing you another year of pure laughter, happiness, and wealth. I am and will always be proud to call you my sister. Happy Birthday!


Love always,

Ate


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Jree.

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