It was 5 in the morning, and to my 16-year-old body, it was too early to be getting up, though I remember leaping out of bed at the first sound of the alarm. (My parents might remember that part differently, “leap” being a relative word.)

We were going to the hospital.

Though I didn’t realize it at the time, my life was about to change. God had answered a little girl’s long ago prayer.

I curled up on the plastic chair and waited, along with everyone else.

And then…I met her. My baby sister. The one I had prayed for all those years ago (13 years previously, give or take).

I went away to college when she was the age my oldest daughter is now. I live far enough away that we don’t quite share each other’s daily lives.

And then there’s that age difference.

How, exactly, do you relate to your sister, when there’s the distance of 16 years between you? Just what do you have in common? How can you keep from being just another adult who asks how school is and what she’s reading?

I found my answer when I had my first daughter, and I saw the light in my sister’s eyes. Who knew? She’s a baby person! (I most certainly am not, though I love my own babies and those of the people closest to me…)

Today, my sister turns 13 and enters the trials of teendom. Today, I remember that day she was born and how I held her small body, terrified I would drop her. I remember the other birthdays she’s celebrated and think of the ones to come.

Happy birthday, sis!

UPDATED: It appears that in my old age, I took a year off my sister’s age. Rather than appreciate this thoughtful gift from me, she has spent much time laughing. Ah, well, Sis, someday I’ll remind you that I tried to give you a year back…