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My "Kid"


This is my sister, Anna. She’s two years younger than me and many years wiser. When we were young, we operated like sisters do: bickered at the breakfast table, fought for attention, laughed until we peed, fell asleep cuddled up.


Anna was the cute one. She was silly and energetic and huggable. I was quiet. Observing instead of participating, squirming away when someone tried to touch me. There’s a video of us playing The Snow White Game (a Disney-inspired simulation of our own creation) under the table in the kitchen. Anna is crawling around, singing and laughing. I am pulling her back by her shirt, yelling that she needs to stay where she is and be quiet or the game won’t work. She eventually semi-complies, trying half-heartedly to get me to incorporate her bouncing-singing idea, and the game goes on: her a cheery Happy, me a brooding Doc. That’s how we are.


When Anna joined our high school’s cheerleading team, I was confused about why she wanted to wear a bow and bounce up and down instead of spend all her free time in the library like I did. When she went to college, I didn’t understand how she made so many friends so fast – how everybody knew her and loved her – when I had lived with the same friend since freshman year. When she moved to New York for a job as a paralegal and immediately became indispensable to her team, while studying for and nailing the LSAT, I wasn’t surprised, but I still couldn’t and can’t comprehend how she got so damn smart, while I was a crying mess trying to figure out what to do with my life.


It’s a strange, beautiful thing to watch someone grow into themselves. Everyone who’s loved someone for a long time knows this experience – seeing someone get older and wiser and still be so “them.” We’ve come a long way since The Snow White Game days, and we’ve also stayed the same. This past weekend we were at the hockey game together. Anna talked to everyone, made them laugh, shared a hockey fact they didn’t know; I hung back, hoping no one would say anything to me. It was The Snow White Game all over again. The only difference was that I didn’t make her stay where I was, and she didn’t try to get me to bounce around with her.


Anna is my best friend, my role model, and my little sister. When I end up heartbroken, she’s my steadier. When I need a belly laugh, she’s the person I call. When I have a conundrum she talks me through it. I’ve had the blessing of becoming myself alongside her – learning who I am with her as an inspiration and grounding. That experience and that blessing are the backbone of “Kid.” It’s a song about seeing someone become, and feeling lucky to become next to them.



That’s our older brother John whom I love and admire just as much. He lives in Springfield, MO and is writing a book that will seriously blow your mind. Stay tuned for an older-brother song. Just gotta make sure it’s good enough for his authorial talents.



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ISABELLE STILLMAN