Saturday, June 12, 2010

Congratulations, Sis

Congratulations to my, now graduated, younger sister! Court, I love you and am proud of you! I can't wait to see what the future has in store for you. You are intelligent, beautiful, and one extremely caring and passionate person. You WILL make a difference!

Last night, my sister Courtney, graduated from High School! She is the youngest of the three of us, and the last one for my parents to go through New Haven High School. It is crazy to think that none of us will be at the NHHS anymore. However, we do still have several cousins still attending.

It's crazy to think that my mom, dad, brother, sister, and myself all have a high school diploma from the same place; I highly doubt that happens very often these days. We can also all bust out our NHHS letter jackets and do a fashion show; which, we have done in the past (kinda embarrassing). Even better than that, all my aunts, uncles, and cousins (with the exception of my two cousins in Georgia, and one cousin that graduated from Heritage) have a high school diploma from the same high school; this IS on both sides of my family, so we are talking approximately 25 plus people. As my sister graduated last night, this to me, ended an era. I do think it is pretty neat that we all have graduated from the infamous NHHS, but I am glad I have moved out of New Haven and expanded my horizons. I know that although neat, the tradition of all of the Saalfrank/Rhoades families graduating from NHHS will not continue, and that is OK.
As for my sis, I really can't believe it! I am very proud of her accomplishments, but to me, graduating from high school is an expectation. Therefore, my excitement for her and congratulatory message centers more around opportunities for her future. As I spent the past week looking through old photos and putting together my version of a scrapbook (thank you shutterfly), it brought back many memories of our childhood and much anticipation for her future.

As I flipped through and placed pictures of our younger days on a scanner, and scrolled through my online albums of our older days, I laughed a lot, cried a little, and felt proud. I could have probably made a whole entire album of pictures of my sister and brother BOTH with their shirt off. Yes, you read that correctly, my sister, as a little girl was always shirtless. This, I believe is a product of being just 18 months younger than my brother, always being his sidekick and listening and believing every word he said. As a result of this, Court was definitely a "tomboy" when she was younger, but as a product of her environment. I am now convinced that this is why she is probably the complete opposite today; girly girl and we love that about her!
It was clear that as the youngest child with two very strong minded older siblings, it was probably difficult for her to find her true identity when she was younger. However, as I scrolled through the pictures, you really started to see her identity come out in her early high school years. Courtney took a much different path than Zach and I, and for that I am so proud of her. As Zach and I thrived on the field, you could see the real Courtney on stage. She is an incredible singer and dancer, and was an awesome showchoir performer! Showchoir gave her the confidence she needed all along to grow as an individual and find her identity; the identity that wasn't her sister's softball & volleyball shadow, or her brother's baseball legacy or choice to be shirtless. Showchoir has made her the person she is today: strong, confident, free spirited, artistic, and passionate. We love her!

I believe that the differences the three of us share is what makes us so close today. Again, as I looked through the pictures, I felt a true warmth in my heart. I am extremely grateful for the relationship that the three of us have. We have grown to be the closest siblings you will ever know. The love we have for each other is unconditional. The graduation of my sister is truly the end of the time the three of us would call "our childhood", and a bittersweet moment it is. As our lives as children end and we truly become adult siblings, I look forward to what the future holds: more diplomas, lots of laughs, hopefully eventually some weddings and nieces & nephews (I know that's a ways away), many more memories, and even more love than the last 20 years.

So Court, here's to you my not so baby sister:
I love you dearly! You have shown me what the true meaning of a "sisterly bond" is. I am so glad to have a best friend in my sister. Although the youngest, you are the heart and passion of our family. I thank God everyday that I was given a sister 19 years ago.

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