Today is your 18th birthday. Sometimes I think you could be at least a decade older than you actually are - not because of your deep voice or your affinity for pipes, but because you have such an old and wise soul.
You’ve always been like this. I remember your first day of school, looking as pensive and deep in thought as you do now. And then I’ll think of all the times (around the age of four, admittedly) when you’d steal mine and our sister’s dresses, play with our dolls or let us put make-up on you. While you’ve always been a smart kid, boring you have never been. Cheeky, rather. And mischievous. Around the age of three you had an interesting habit of throwing other people’s property down the trash chute. I particularly remember the havoc caused when you targeted a certain kid’s dearly beloved stuffed Tiger. I think he got on your nerves .And then there was the time when you chucked out our mother’s mobile phone, presumably in an act of defiance at the overuse of this device. Most of the time, however, you’d just throw plants off the balcony for sports.
Back then, our mother had to dress you in alarmed clothing to keep track of you when shopping in H&M. These days you’re a little more docile, and you no longer cross dress, but it only takes a bit of older sibling teasing to provoke that cheeky grin that takes me back to our childhoods. Growing up with two older siblings - both girls - must’ve sucked sometimes (and I apologize for no doubt having been a pest at times). I just hope you know how proud I am to be your sister, and I will hazard these statements knowing that my imminent death by firing squad likely awaits: underneath that hard exterior is the sweetest boy and brightest mind. You taught yourself HTML age 8 to design a website about your favorite band, and learnt fluent German when you were ten. These days you know more about politics than I ever will with a 2.1 degree in the subject, and I genuinely think (and hope) that that says more about your intelligence, inherent inquisitiveness and willingness to learn than it does about me. If you ever doubt yourself, just know that I’m not.
All my love,