Little Sister


My little sister graduated from high school this weekend and I still can’t believe it. She is 10 years younger than me, so in my mind she will always be my baby sister. It still surprises me when I first see her that she towers above me.



 I remember the first 5k we ran together. She was only about 6, but she begged to run with me. I warned her that we needed to go out slow and steady. When the starting gun went off, she was off like a rocket. Predictably a few minutes later she was tired and needed to walk. I caught up to her and we spent the rest of the race alternating between sprinting and walking. As we neared the finish line she took off in an all out sprint, and I couldn’t  catch her.  I should have taken that as a warning. Instead of learning to slow down and pace herself, Maddy trained until she could sustain that fast pace through the whole race. Now at 17, she can run a sub 20 minute 5k. She wins her age group, and often first woman too, in many races she enters. She has been to the Junior Olympics for cross country skiing multiple time. She has been the Nordic state champion, gone to Norway to ski the 56 mile Birkenbinder. She has completed a half iron man triathlon. I can’t even dream of keeping up with her.

But I am still her older sister and I do still have that extra wisdom that 10 extra years on this earth imparts. I can see myself at that age in her so much that it scares me. I was driven to the point that I seriously endangered my health. Ambition is a good thing, but it is a double edged sword. It may get you to the front of the pack, but along the way there are a lot of casualties. It is too easy to alienate your friends and family, and end up alone. Successful, but miserable.  I was there, and I see you heading there. So little flip, I love you. Ski and run your heart out if that is your dream. But please know that isn’t all of who you are. I will love you even if you aren’t an Olympian. Life is worth living even at the back of the pack.

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