The Coolest Girl I Know

Since the very beginning of Hello Friday my little sister, Haley, has asked me many times, “When are you going to write about me?” To which I reply, “Good things take time.” You can just imagine her reaction, when a few weeks ago, I wrote about my dog, Riggins. She certainly was less than pleased that Riggins got a post before her. Although she can be quite persistent, and I joked that an alternate title for this post could be “She Made Me Write This,” truth is, I could write all my posts about her, she’s just that special. But then it would be a totally different blog—Hello Haley?

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Last weekend, Haley came to visit me in Chicago. She’s probably been our most frequent visitor since we moved here five years ago. I love having her here too. Actually, I usually call my husband as soon as I drop her off at the airport and whine, “I miss her!” This weekend the main agenda of our visit was the One Direction concert/stalking Harry Styles. We were successful in the first mission, but Harry was hard to find. I’m just going to put it out there, Haley and I are 1DAF. (Also, not sure if you’ve heard the 1D hiatus news, but we are very fragile right now, so please respect our privacy at this time.)

Devon and HaleyDuring our Chicago visits, and really every other time we’re together, we usually eat way too much. We love all the food. One time we even went on an unofficial donut crawl. I’m just now able to talk about it without gagging. I couldn’t look at a donut for about 6 months after. Round things in general, that even vaguely reminded me of donuts, made me feel sick—which is saying a lot. (Side note: Haley was not affected this way—oh, to be 21!) This visit was no different. We covered most of the bases: pizza, burgers, thai, nachos, brunch and even boozy sno cones. There may have been a salad or two in there, not that they’re worth mentioning. Basically, my diet needed to start a week ago. Our eating-styles are very compatible too (is that a thing?). We both agree that eating on-the-go is just unacceptable. When I told Haley that I once saw a woman walking down a Chicago street while eating a burrito, she was just as appalled as I had been. A burrito is not walking food. We both like to sit down, take our time and enjoy our meals. If this seems intense, it is. We start planning lunch and dinner while we’re eating breakfast—must prep those taste buds!

Expat_HaleyIMG_3596I’m 9 years older than Haley, so growing up, our relationship felt different than just as siblings. I tried hard not to “parent” her—though she’ll probably say that I didn’t try hard enough. And, on the same page, because of our age difference, I think it was difficult for her not to compare what I was able and allowed to do, to what she wasn’t. It was difficult sometimes for me not to interject my opinions when I thought she was making the wrong choice. I guess in my mind, my additional nine years of life experience made me wise enough to tell her what and how to do things. Really, I promise, it always came from a place of love.Wedding-408Now that we’re older, the age difference doesn’t seem so big. That is, unless we’re at a 1D concert and then I’m painfully aware that I’m 30…just not enough to care. It’s been a unique experience watching her grow up, because I’ve been old enough to remember all of it. I remember getting to tell my dad and our extended family that my mom was pregnant and I was going to be a big sister. I remember my mom being pregnant, and watching her growing belly with so much excitement. I remember how Mom couldn’t stand Mexican food those 9 months and how sometimes in the middle of the night she would get up and throw away leftovers because she could “smell them through the refrigerator door.” I remember that on the day Haley was born, it was pouring rain. I remember the very first time I got to hold her at the hospital. I remember her very round, tiny face and that she had lots of hair. I remember the sign I made to welcome her home. February 7, 1994, is one of the clearest days in my memory. And, from that day on, I decided she was way better than any American Girl doll. I would dress her up and she even fit perfectly in the tiny brass bed that was once meant for Samantha.Baby HaleyGrowing up, Haley pretty much excelled at anything and everything she tried—-basketball, track, dance, cheerleading, etc. She’s even a spelling bee champ. Things just seemed to come easy for her. I hope she still realizes, even now that she’s older and there are no more track meets or cheerleading competitions—that in life she’s truly capable of doing anything she wants. But I would also remind her that not everything will come easily, and that’s ok. The stuff that’s worthwhile and exciting comes with hard work. Because, really, I think once she discovers what she loves, and puts all her effort and energy towards it, she’ll truly be a force to be reckoned with. Remember how I said I try not to “parent” her? Yeah, well try is the operative word in that sentence.

She may not be happy that I’m telling you this, but when my family drove me from our home in Marietta, Georgia to Indiana University to start my freshman year of college, Haley cried most of the 8.5 hour drive. (That’s when I knew she really liked me.) And although we certainly fought growing up (mostly because she took my things without asking—ask her, she’ll admit it), leaving her to go to college, when she was only nine, was hard on both of us. Haley, you agree, right?Haley and a puppyIMG_4161

Haley encourages me to stand up for myself and not be so sensitive—which seems a little backwards considering she’s the “little” sister. But that’s one thing I love about her, she doesn’t take shit. She has an opinion and she’s not afraid to share it. And, I think that’s really important for a young woman. It makes me proud, although I don’t think I had anything to do with it, that she knows her value and worth. She’s confident and bold. She says things that I would never dare say, but sometimes wish I could. On my wedding day, when I was feeling overwhelmed or stressed, Haley was the only one who could calm me—she gave it to me straight, but knew exactly what I needed to hear.

It actually throws me off when I see glimpses of her insecurities—-like worrying about how many Instagram likes she has (although, she’s quick to tell me it’s her generation!). I want to reassure her that the number of likes and comments she gets should in no way be related to how she feels about herself. But, really, I’m not sure what it would have been like to have Instagram in college, because I didn’t. Back then, Facebook was just getting started and it was all a level playing field then.

Devon and Haley2To say Haley is full of personality, would be a complete understatement. And I think that everyone who knows her would agree. She’s my authority on all things cool: music, clothes, can I still quote Mean Girls?, celeb gossip, what “going up on a Tuesday” means—I consult her on all of it. And, in return, I try to return the favor by saving her from picking terrible nail polish colors, which might be her #1 flaw. Other than that, she’s close to perfect.

Monday is her first day of classes at a new college, so everyone reading this please send her positive thoughts and vibes. You got this, Hay!

So, here’s your post, Baby Girl Boo. I hope you like it. (Insert lyrics from Barney’s “Sister Song.”)

3 thoughts on “The Coolest Girl I Know

  1. As mother to both you and Haley, my heart is full with the love you 2 share. I am happy that even though you are nine years apart, adulthood is an equalizer that has worked in your favor. I don’t look back and regret that I didn’t have more children because of Dad’s travel schedule; rather, I am grateful that God gave me the 2 daughters I was meant to have. I love you both equally and totally!

  2. Another brilliant blog, written by one of my favorite people about one of my favorite people. Love you both!

  3. That was so perfect! Love the two of you! Thank you Hayley for keeping me -somewhat- cool by all you teach Dev and she then teaches me!

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