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It’s my sister’s birthday today. And so, a blog post. Blog posts, by the way, are the new love letter. That’s right, I said it: love. I can feel my sister’s stomach clenching from here.

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My sister, Tiiu (pronounced like the letters “T” and “U”) is three years my junior. Growing up, I was put into the position of caretaker and example-setter. They called me her “Little Mommy”.

The longterm effect of this setup was demonstrated to me many years later when the two of us were on a rare shopping trip together. Browsing fancy jeans in an upscale boutique, Tiiu asked what I thought of a pair of [insert famous brand name here] jeans. They looked like regular ol’ jeans to me. I looked at the price tag. “Pfft! I wouldn’t pay THAT much for those,” I scoffed.

My sister expressed frustration in a way that most women are skilled, by expelling air sharply through her nostrils.

“What?” I asked.

“Well I guess I can’t get them now,” she moped.

“What? Why not?”

“Because you just told me not to!”

“No, I didn’t. I just said that I wouldn’t pay that much for them.”

“Yeah…well still…” she trailed off and huffed out of the store.

It was then that I realized how much the Little Mommy effect had resonated. Here we were, both grown women with our own lives, yet she still felt somehow that she needed my approval to do something.

Today, my sister is an extremely successful primary school teacher, respected by her peers and well-loved by her students. Her creativity shines through with the work that she does both at work and at home. The passion with which she teaches her students, as well as raises her two kids with her husband, Scott, is palpable. Everything that Tiiu does is unique and has a specialness that is noticed by all around her. I have been truly impressed by the energy she applies to get things done – and done well too. Her artistic, musical, and culinary talent better mine in many ways. (Not everything , of course. I am, after all, the best.)

Anyway, Tiiu, I’m writing this to tell you that you can buy those expensive jeans if you want to! And you can do whatever the hell other things you want to do as well. Because you are awesome. And it’s important that you realize that. Happy birthday, Mei-Mei.

Originally posted April 20, 2012

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