I’ve got two little sisters and I adore them both. Beth is eight years younger than me and is the most headstrong, multi-faceted woman I know.  She juggles the two businesses she owns as well as her household and is expecting her second baby this fall. Sarah is 20 years younger than me, a teenager and a mini me. She might be taller, blonder and thinner than, but her personality is all me. Our Mom has said more than once that she had no idea it was possible to have two daughters with the exact same personality.

I’m stubborn as a mule.  When I make up my mind, there’s no budging. I hate confrontation and am deeply emotional. I feel other people’s happiness and sadness.  I’m a little too open about things and much more trusting than I should be. But you best watch out if you push me too far. I laugh and cry at the same time when I’m tired and am compulsive about being organized because I’m easily distracted.  Sarah is all of these things too. Just as I like to play jokes on people, so does Sarah and I still can’t believe that she pulled one over on me with this text she sent over the weekend

While I know that Sarah, who's got such a pure and good heart, was just playing around with me, I thought that now might be a good time to dispense some big sister advice to my littlest sister and while I don't expect you, Sarah, to take these things to heart right this second, I hope that you'll come back to my advice in time and that you'll learn from my successes and mistakes:

  • You are not a princess so get that out of your head. Now. You should not expect to be treated like a princess. You should demand respect and consideration and in turn you should treat others with respect and consideration, but you are not better than or above anyone else.
  • Learn how to say “I’m sorry” and genuinely mean it.
  • Pay attention to what people do. Their actions will tell you everything you need to know. Their words will not.
  • If a guy insults you, demeans you, or brings out your insecurities and makes you feel bad about yourself, he is NOT worth your time. Do not flirt with him and definitely don't date him!
  • Use your favorite perfume every day.
  • This is your life, and you’ve got to fight for it.  Fight for what’s right.  Fight for what you believe in.  Fight for what’s important to you. When you stop fighting, you're basically throwing your hands in the air and quitting. Remember what Mom always says: "our family does NOT quit." There's truth in her words.
  • Make friends with people who are younger than you and people who are older than you. You can learn a lot from people of all ages.
  • Mend relationships as soon as you know that they are broken.
  • You won't and shouldn't have everything in your life figured out by the time you're thirty. You probably won’t have everything in life figured out by the time your forty either.
  • Buy yourself flowers every once in a while.  Even if you don't think you can spare the extra expense. Flowers have an amazing way of lifting a spirit.
  • Forgive and don't keep revenge or hate in your heart. It will only eat away at you.
  • Embrace your quirks and imperfections because you, my sister, are perfectly and wonderfully made.
  • Don’t save your “good” china for “special” meals.  Eat off of it every chance you get.
  • Sometimes things that are “cool” really aren’t.  Wear sunscreen.  I don’t care if all the “cool” people have tans.  You don’t need to risk cancer. Cancer is NOT cool.
  • Being in a relationship will not automatically make you happier.
  •  Love whatever you want to love and love it with all of your might. Don’t not love something just because someone tells you it’s not cool.
  • Light that special candle you’ve been saving.
  • Don’t think you need to hide behind a mask of makeup.  Your freckles and laugh lines are what make you who you are and you are beautiful.
  • Buy good pillows. Trust me on this.
  • Dress however you want, but do so in a respectful way. If I ever see you showing off your body in an inappropriate way, you can be sure I’ll be all over you and it won’t be pretty. Nobody is going to respect you if you don’t respect yourself.  Don’t let your lady parts hang out.
  • If you’re tired, sleep. Depriving yourself will only make your emotions go up and down like a crazy roller-coaster. You and I are very much alike in our need for balanced sleep. When we don't get the sleep we need, we turn into crazy ladies. Nobody likes a crazy lady.
  • Other girls are not the enemy unless you make them the enemy. Build up a strong group of girl friends.You’re gonna need them.
  • Life isn’t fair.  Accept it and move forward.
  • If something doesn't feel right or safe, don't do it. If you can’t tell me about it, don’t do it.  If you’d be embarrassed to show it to me, don’t post it to Facebook.
  • Being a teenager can be boring, frustrating, excruciating and scary, but I promise you that you’ll look back on your teen years and smile.
  •  It’s better to be single than to be trapped in a bad relationship. No matter how old you are, I will never call you an "old grey mare." Take your time (even if it takes a lifetime) and date a lot of guys until you find the "one."

Sarah: you’re very mature for your age in some ways. You’ve gone through things most people won’t face in a lifetime and I wish I could take your place and let you be the teen you deserve to be. Let's face it, I don’t want you to get hurt. I don't want you to have added sadness in your life. You’re a good kid and I want you to be okay. Don't forget that I'll always be standing right there behind you with a baseball bat saying “you wanna say that to her again?” And you know that's a fact my little Mae face. I'll always be here and will always have your back.

Note: after posting this article, my other little sister, Beth sent me some more words of advice to share. This advice was given to her by me, our Mom and our grandmother and I agree that she and I need to be sure to pass this on to our youngest sister just as it was passed on to us:

  • Keep your house clean so that you don’t exhaust yourself before company comes so much that you don’t enjoy your time spent with them. Don’t stuff things under your bed or in your closet.
  • Pay your bills on time.
  • When you marry the right guy submit to him. This doesn’t mean be a slave! It means you take care of him and he will take care of you and your life will be balanced.
  • Eat balanced meals.
  • When you clean your toilet, don’t think about it- just do it and get it done (including the base and the floor around and behind the toilet.).
  • Never be lazy or depend on someone picking up your slack because you will need to maintain YOUR reputation.
  • Obey and honor your parents no matter what age you are.
  • Be thankful for the big and little things.
  • Always give but never short yourself.
  • Speak like a lady and chew with your mouth closed.
  • Don’t do drugs.
  • Take your shoes off when you walk into someone’s house.
  • Stand up straight and smile. And whatever you do, don’t groom yourself in public. This is unattractive.
  • Don’t envy what you don’t have but make it your goal and with hard work and staying focused you will be rewarded.