Rachel and Abbie

Today is my little sister Rachel’s 21st birthday.  Unlike most 21 year olds, she doesn’t want a big celebration.  All she wants is to go into the ABC store to buy whipped cream vodka to make a drink called a creamsicle.  since I haven’t had a drink other than wine in a while…I’ll just assume it’s good.  We’ll celebrate her birthday as a family this coming weekend, and it’ll be small and quiet, because that’s how Rachel likes things.

Because Rachel is different.  She’s smart, but refuses to believe it.  She’s shy and has a hard time making friends.  She refuses to take pictures unless she knows exactly how many pictures she’s required to take and is told way ahead of time.  She loves truly and fiercely, and gives the best hugs in the world.  But the fact is, she’s different.

Rachel has Asperger’s syndrome.

(You can’t see her in the photo, but Rachel’s pulling the wagon in this picture from last fall)

In our everyday lives, I don’t see her differences much – I just see my little sister.  The one I waited for and asked my mom about for years (it took my parents a long time to get pregnant after me, and Rachel was born when I was nine).  She’s the one that made me a big sister, the one who taught me what it is to have and be a sister.

She’s also the person who will show Abbie that it’s okay to be different.  That it’s okay to have different talents and abilities, that different isn’t bad or wrong – it’s just different.  That it’s incredibly important to treat everyone with respect and patience, and that you can learn from everyone.

I wasn’t sure how Rachel would be as an aunt, but I can already tell she loves Abbie.  For example, she put a lot of thought into her birthday and Christmas presents.  For her birthday, a big soft fluffy stuffed dog that sleeps in Abbie’s crib every night.  For Christmas, a my first Crayola set with a magic marker (that only draws on special paper) so she could start to draw.  She paid close attention to the recommended ages and picked out great, thoughtful gifts.  She plays with Abbie when we visit and asks to see her on FaceTime, even if she doesn’t want to be seen herself.

She’s a pretty great aunt, and an awesome sister.

So happy birthday, Rachel.  Thank you for making me a big sister.  Thank you for every hug.  Thank you for loving Chris and Abbie.

And Happy 21st Birthday.  I love you!


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About Jess

Jess Beer is a full-time working mom of two girls who writes about motherhood, wellness, easy meals and style.

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12 Responses

  1. This is so sweet. Rachel is lucky to have such a great big sister! HAPPY BIRTHDAY to your little sister – I may just have to make up some kind of whipped cream orange creamsicle martini in her honor, because YUM. 🙂

  2. this is a very sweet birthday post! your sister is clearly very thoughtful and detailed – love the gifts she’s picked for Abbie!

  3. Your sister sounds wonderful and thoughtful. My older brother has Aspergers, and it can be such a challenge to communicate with someone who sees the world so differently. Unfortunately for us, my brother is not as thoughtful as your sister, and does not understand how his actions affect the feelings of other people. Birthdays go by with no acknowledgement from him, which hurts. I have to remind myself every day that his brain is wired differently, and he doesn’t act cold and detached because he wants to. It is challenging. Keep loving your sister and being an advocate for her. 🙂

  4. She is sometimes, but other times she’s the same as your brother. It’s a balancing act. There were many Christmases and birthdays that were difficult for us since she didn’t understand how we were feeling. I think Abbie seems to bring a more thoughtful side out of her, and I’m hoping that trend continues. I really feel all I can do is be there for her when she needs me!

I’m Jess! I’m a working mama of two sweet sisters living in the DC area. This is my space to share inspiration, real stories of working motherhood, recipes, style, and more! I can’t start my day without coffee and always try to show the real side of motherhood – the good and the challenging. I’m so glad you’re here – thanks for following along on my journey!

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