(I wrote the following from my youngest daughter’s perspective. When she read it, she said “Spot on,” mocking her older sister who says this when she agrees with what I’m wearing or cooking.)

Seven years is too far apart. It means I’m left here and she’s not. It means I’ll have to figure out all this stupid junior high drama on my own while she’s at college. It means I‘ll have my own room even though she never did because when I came along my parents didn’t have anywhere else to put me. So Em got stuck with me and now I’m stuck without her.

Worse, I’m here alone with Mom. Our father left when I was two. I think I’ve seen him four or five times since then and not for very long, ever.  Mom’s not getting any younger either. In fact, she’s practically ancient. Some kids ask if she’s my grandma. The first time that happened in front of her she went to the store the next day and bought a box of Ms. Clairol, autumn red, 100-percent gray coverage. I helped my sister dye her hair and every few months after that. It’s a good thing, because when Em’s gone, Mom will have to rely on me for her style.

If only Em had been born a few years closer to me, I wouldn’t be so miserable. I like the fact that I was born in 2001 because that puts me in the 21st Century and that’s why I wish her birth year came later and mine didn’t come any sooner.

Seven years is a lot of difference and sometimes that’s been a really big deal – like when she hangs out with her friends and I’m not allowed anywhere near them. And I guess it mattered when I couldn’t even walk and she could ride a bike, but I don’t remember those times, so I don’t count them as bad. What I remember most is what it’s been like these last few years together and maybe it’s because I’m becoming more mature, but we get along most of the time.

I think it’s funny when girls who aren’t related say they love each other like sisters because I don’t think it’s possible to love someone that much unless you’ve spent thousands of days and nights around them. I mean I have about four best friends and I love them and all, but not like sisters, not like I love Em.  And because I love her so much I need to be happy for her to go away to college. Far away to college. Five and half hours away to college. I wouldn’t want to rob her of this opportunity, as Mom puts it. Of course not. But I wish I could go with her.

She had her own room for seven years. She knows how to make it without me.  I’ve never had my own room. She’s always been right there, to hold me when our parents yelled at each other, to tell me if my clothes matched, to sneak into bed with when I got scared.

All of my life, she has been within ten feet of me. I don’t know how I’ll make it without her.