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Jessica Dockter Tierney


Of Two Sisters


(voice over for digital story)

Because I have an older sister,
I have never had to do anything first or alone.

My first day of school, we dressed in our finest with matching totes and lunchboxes,
And I followed her lead across a busy street.
My first amusement park ride,
I clung to the ladybug car terrified,
But I smiled because she smiled.

Jessie showing her digital storyI watched Becky to learn simple things.
To lick the frosting from a bowl.
To smile for a picture like you mean it.
To remain stoic in times of pain.

She was always right there.
One arm on my shoulder.

As we got older, Becky continued to do things first.
She was first to graduate from college.
First to marry.
First to have a child.

I have counted on her to face life boldly. Fearlessly.
To explore its corners and ledges.

While I watched.
And learned.

And she did.
With a quick wit, a fierce sense of humor, and a beaming smile.

Whether she liked it or not,
I became the apprentice to her firecracker spirit.

At times, when I was young, I envied her being first.
I wanted to have her courage.
Her excitement for adventure.
Her ability to lead.

Now that I’m older, I realize that being first is scary too.
There’s no sibling to explain how things should be.
No perspective to shape your own.
No guide when life takes a steep turn.

Because I have an older sister,
I have never had to do anything first or alone.

And because I am a younger sister, I have been watching.
I have been archiving her strength,
her grace, her beauty, her heart.
Each stored away inside of me.

So when her courage falters and fear creeps in,
She can just place an arm on my shoulder,
Take a deep breath.
Lean in.
And follow her lead in me.