“Of course it is happening inside your head, Harry, but why on earth should that mean that it is not real?”

J.K. Rowling, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows

My baby sister, Amy Catherine, was literally an answer to my prayers as a 2-year-old. She arrived just two weeks after my 3rd birthday, and to everyone’s surprise, I wholeheartedly accepted my role as her big sister (after all, isn’t someone you prayed into existence kinda sorta your responsibility??).

That sense of sisterly obligation never left. Yes, the girl drives me crazy sometimes, and no, we aren’t that much alike, but my parents’ admonition to watch over her supersedes these reservations.

Amy’s and my relationship has never been very reserved. It’s my fault, really, because I can’t leave things alone. I keep pushing for her to keep up, to find a strong path, to find some purpose and a means to achieve that which would show others what I know are her good qualities: her kindness, patience, and willingness to just be in a world that encourages rushing and busyness.

She is the Mary to my Martha, the Bianca to my Kate, the Yin to my Yang; she is my foil because she shows all the things I couldn’t be, by virtue of my type-A, over-bearing, passionate, can’t-shut-my-mouth, workaholic nature.

And because I have finally grown old enough to understand and accept these things, I find myself sitting on my hands because she has entered a scammy poetry contest, got “published,” and posted her copy of the book on Facebook as a kind of proof that she is going to be a writer.

When I dissect my motives, my gut reaction is to correct (“Amy, that is a total scam. That’s not how real writing works. Go back to college. Write every day. Follow this passion, but follow it with a vengeance!”). My secondary reaction is concern; I, too, entered a couple of scammy poetry contests, but I was fifteen, not twenty-three, and what if she never leaves this phase?

However, the best part of myself wonders if she isn’t onto something, being content with her words on a page as proof of her goals, rather than worrying and diminishing her accomplishments.


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