Goodbye, Amanda Panda

This is a really hard week for me. For my whole family, actually. My little sister has made the wonderful decision to serve as a missionary for the LDS Church, and today is the day that my family and I took her to the airport and said goodbye for 18 months. 

It was so much harder than I thought it would be. 

I cried a lot, and I couldn't help it, no matter how strong I told myself it would be. Even though I know that the time will go by quickly, and that I will get those precious weekly emails from her, it was still so difficult for a lot of reasons. 

My sister is my only sibling, and she's only 18 months younger than I am. Being so much younger than all our cousins, we were always a team. She's always been my best friend, and we grew closer and closer as we got older. Being the older sister, I felt very protective of her, and always wanted to shield her from hurt and pain. I wanted to keep her safe.

Now, she's far away and I can't look out for her like in the ways that I am used to. I can't just text her in crazy excitement about things, or talk to her about literally everything. I can't just show up and hang out, or call her and know that she'll be down to come grocery shopping with me at 9PM. Amanda is my little sister, my best friend, my confidante. And even though I am more proud of her than I can ever say, there's a big part of me that feels a little lost without having someone like that around. 

I am more grateful than ever for my sweet husband, who is more than willing to step into that role. He already has, in a lot of ways, and has been my closest companion. He may not be the best at all the girl talk and fangirling like my sister, but he's pretty darn great and when I was hugging Amanda Panda for the last time in 18 months, I just wanted to go home and be with Kevin. I spent the day with my parents, since my mom needed to not feel quite so alone for a little while. It's not the same as it used to be, though. They are still my family and I love them dearly, but my home is with Kevin. I'm more calm and comfortable around him. I felt happier and more energetic when I got home and saw him. 

I do miss my sister so, so much. She really is an amazing person who is talented, smart, and is actually probably a lot braver than me. I know she is going to do great work and that we will be closer than ever when she comes home. But I am happy to have someone with me that fills that hole and so many more just by smiling at me. Having the right people around makes the hard times significantly less long and difficult.