“Today was kind of a difficult day,” he said as we were walking back to our apartment. We had just been to the first get-together at his sister’s new place. She and her boyfriend had moved in a few days ago. They were still unpacking boxes and hanging shelves on the walls. “How old is she, again?” he asked, not quite believing that his baby sister was old enough to be moving in with her boyfriend. “She’s twenty,” I reminded him. “That just seems too young to be getting her own apartment,” he said.
I pointed out that he was actually younger than that when he got his first apartment. “Yeah, I know…but…she’s so young.” Not any more, I told him. She’s all grown up now. And I’d seen her grow up. I’d first met her when she was a girl of thirteen. Now she’s getting a place with her boyfriend. No wonder he was feeling all brotherly and slightly protective over her. Where did the time go?
And I thought about my feelings about my own little sister, ten years my junior. I missed most of her childhood. I moved out when I was eighteen and she was only eight. Even though she’s a now grown woman living with her boyfriend, I still think of her as a little girl. Maybe that’s because I didn’t get to see her grow into an adult woman. She was eight and then she was an adult in her mid-twenties. Likewise, he moved in with me when his sister was just thirteen, so maybe she’ll always be thirteen to him.
But they’re not little girls anymore, are they? They’re young adults just starting out in life, about to make a lot of the same mistakes we made. And it’s so hard to let them.