Last week, I gave my senior speech at KLife. I told myself I wouldn’t cry, and I actually held it together for a solid five minutes, almost making it to the very end. Then I made eye contact with my sister, Emily. As I watched her bawl, I couldn’t stop myself from crying as well. Tears streamed down my face as I talked about our relationship over the years, struggling to get the words out.
Two years ago, if you had told me the only reason I would cry during my senior speech would be because of my sister, I would have laughed.
For our first 16 years together, Emily and I never quite saw eye-to-eye. We just never seemed to really “click.” I felt that I was very mature for my age, while she was still a little immature, so I always thought I was too cool for her. Sharing a room never helped our relationship either. Instead of bringing us closer, it drove us apart. We were constantly fighting over clothes, the lack of cleanliness on my side of the room and our mutual need for our own space and alone time.
In fifth grade, Emily and I thought we finally caught our break. Our family completely rebuilt our house, so of course we thought, “new house, new rooms.” Soon after, we found out our parents thought it would be super cool to create us a custom room built for two. At the time, we were devastated. But looking back, I can’t thank them enough for refusing to separate us.
Our relationship consisted solely of fighting and hating each other until she finally started high school. Suddenly, I realized she had grown up, was more mature and actually kind of cool. She started coming to KLife with me, and this became the first thing we ever truly had in common. Her friends were becoming my friends, and strangely I was okay with it. During her freshman year, I stopped seeing her as my annoying little sister, and instead realized she was best friend potential.
Two years later, I’m about to graduate, and I can honestly say my sister has become my best friend. Growing up, I would have never thought the girl I refused to acknowledge in elementary school would end up being the most important person in my life. It took us 16 years, but it was so worth the wait. Now, I can’t stop bragging about her incredible talent — I love to just lay on her bed and listen to her play guitar and sing (check her out on SoundCloud). She’s also become my personal stylist; I can’t remember the last time I left the house without first consulting her on my outfit. We’ve learned we have the exact same taste in music and we seem to always crave fast food at the same time.
Don’t get me wrong, our relationship isn’t suddenly perfect. We’ve recently started sharing a car, which causes even more fights than the room. But looking back on my high school career, I won’t picture my biggest accomplishments as academic successes, Harbinger awards or extracurricular involvement. The best thing that happened to me in high school was becoming best friends with my super sweet, super stylish, super cool little sister.
Emily recently moved out of our room to see if it would help us fight less. Not surprisingly, it did, and I think it was a smart decision. But I’ll admit, I found myself crying in my bed as I laid there falling asleep without her next to me for the first time in 16 years. I’m unsure of a lot of things about next year, but the one thing I am sure of — I’m really going to miss my original roommate.