My sister is my person.

She is the first one I turn to in joy and tragedy. She’s the rock required to get through a crisis, the laughter needed on a terrible day, and the perfect closet to shop in for special events.

But even more importantly, she’s responsible for helping me be the mother I am today.

We are five years apart in age, which felt like an eternity in our younger years, while she was off dating in high school and I was that annoying younger sibling trying to tag along and spy.

It really wasn’t until after I went to college and she ventured out to start her life that I realized just how crucial she was to me. Whether it was dating advice, venting about our parents, or help finding an apartment, she was always the constant in my life who was there no matter what.

When my sister had her first child, I was that obsessed aunt. I loved getting to witness my niece’s firsts and seeing my sister transform into a natural, relaxed, composed and loving mother.

Without knowing it, my sister was teaching me how to be a mother myself.

I soaked up her patience, her loving gestures, and her remarkable ability to raise three incredible children while also starting a company and keeping a family running. Unconsciously, I was absorbing her real-life parenting accomplishments, frustrations, and occasional missteps.

When I found out I was pregnant for the first time, she was the first person I wanted to tell after my husband. And I wasn’t even able to deliver the news because my sister already had the intuition that I was pregnant.

Throughout my pregnancy, labor and early days as a new mother, my sister was my sounding board at any hour of the day. Who needs to Google questions about breastfeeding or baby registries when you have a real-life experienced pro on speed dial?

When my baby was less than two weeks old, and I had the first sign I was getting a breast-infection, my sister swooped in to save my feverish, postpartum self who was in denial by getting me the required antibiotics and holding my newborn while I shivered in bed and recovered.

All of my parenting has been directly guided by my sister’s example.

Luckily all three of her kids are older than my three, so I get to use her as a trial run through mothering a child going through puberty, middle school, and young love.

So far she is totally killing it as a parent and her pre-teen children aren’t even embarrassed by her yet. Now that’s an accomplishment.

In many ways, my sister plays the rotating role of mother, sister, and best friend to me. She is expertly able to play the role as needed to me at exactly the right time.

She was the one who had to call on my honeymoon to deliver the news that our dad had died and was the embracing arms I fell into when we rushed back.

She was the one who came with me to the ultrasound appointment that confirmed my miscarriage and somehow made me laugh when all I wanted to do was cry.

She was the one who talked me through my toddler’s terrible twos when I just wanted to throw in the towel.

And for all she gives me, I hope that I return the favor with my own love and support for her.

We each have two sons and a daughter. It’s hard to imagine that our daughters don’t have their own sisters. I mean, how can one live without a sister? I truly cannot grasp the concept.

Yet the connection between us is something we hope serves as a role model to our daughters and that they can replicate that in “cousin/sister” form. Because everybody needs a sister to guide their way.

I surely don’t know where I would be without the light and love from my sister.