Growing up, I always thought it would be so fun to have an older brother, especially when I was a teenager and realized how easy it would be to have my choice of older brother buddies to moon over and dress up for. Some of my friends swore by the big brother effect, but I didn’t have their luck. I didn’t have a big brother; I didn’t have a big anything.

I was the oldest of three girls.

Not the prettiest, not the youngest, just the one who had to do everything first and pave the way to make it easier for the older two. It wasn’t an enviable position to be in although it did seem to get easier as we got a little older. We became friends and confidantes, fiercely loyal and protective of each other. 

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At 13, I was given my own bedroom and picked out my own grown-up furniture. The small corner desk with all the little cubby holes for important papers became my most prized possession.

It was where I did my homework, wrote letters to my boyfriend in the Navy who became my fiancé, and the place we sisters passed secret notes to each other.

My favorite was the one my youngest sister left for me the night before I was married, telling me to enjoy my last night in the bedroom because the next day it would be hers.

The other night I couldn’t for the life of me remember the name of the meat on a stick we used to have for dinner as kids, and I started the modern equivalent of note-passing to my sisters at 10 p.m., hoping one of the younger two with better memories could help me out.

My husband and brothers-in-law have fondly started calling these late-night chats “sister texting.” 

It always starts off so innocently and inevitably ends up with us texting in the dark, trying to stifle the laughter bubbling just beneath the surface as we finish each other’s sentences before we’ve even sent the previous text and reminisce about our childhood.

“What?” my brother-in-law Jim laughed when youngest sister Donna told him my question of the night. “It was probably just a corn dog,” he offered in a lame attempt to shut down the sister text. My other sister, Gail, didn’t remember either but wondered if it was a version of spedini. I remember hating it and bribing them to eat it for me. 

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And then we were off, reminiscing about roller skates with metal keys to turn the clamps that held them onto our shoes, going to Grandma and Grandpa’s and having vanilla ice cream with Hershey syrup from a tiny little can, watching Dad pretend to read the newspaper every evening as his head bobbed up and down, card games with Mom well into the summer nights even when she had to get up for work the next morning.

And as I held my pillow over my face to try to keep John from waking up next to me because I was laughing so hard, and we said one last goodnight to each other, I realized once again just how blessed I am that God gave me sisters.

Vicki Bahr

I'm a mother of four, grandmother of nine, wife of John for forty nine years, an incurable optimist, word lover, and story sharer. I've worked and played at many careers, from proofreader to preschool teacher, businesswoman to human interest newspaper columnist to medical records clerk. Each path has afforded me the opportunity to appreciate the warmth of humanity and to hopefully spread a lifetime of smiles, empathy, and God's inspiration along the way. My life continues to be one of delight. With experience comes understanding, with understanding comes peace.