Today is my last day before my journey begins.
It’s hard to sum up all of the emotions going through my head.
But somehow, very few of those emotions have to do with the trip.
I’m writing this in bed -- in Huntington Station, New York, 214 miles southeast of my departure point tomorrow morning.
Am I crazy? How could I possibly not be finishing last minute prep?
Well, several months ago, I received a text that I immediately knew would bring me to Long Island yesterday:
My baby sister was (finally) graduating from college.
Now, I’ve been planning this journey for quite some time. I’ve known for a while May 29 was time to go.
But when my baby sister said she was walking in commencement ceremonies on May 28, there wasn’t a single doubt in my mind: I’m there, 150 percent.
And if the ceremony was June 28, or July 12, or August anything, you better believe big bro would be there, too.
Because my sister is an absolutely incredible young woman.
She’s confident, independent, hilarious, loving, smart (as today's ceremonies will reiterate), and tremendously loyal to our entire extended family.
Loyal enough to fly to Kansas City with my Mother and my Grandmother this summer to see our cousin get married.
Loyal enough to continue to spend tons of quality time into her mid-20s with Mom and Dad while I hang at Food & Fire in Binghamton, planning my circuitous journey.
And loyal enough to support a brother who, growing up in the always-awkward “big brother” role, maybe wasn’t always as loyal enough as he should’ve been to her.
Growing up is difficult, much tougher than a simple sentence in a blog post can describe. I received a lot of A’s in school, but if there was a report card for being a brother, I don’t know if my sister would’ve put me on the honor roll.
But as we’ve grown up, and although distance keeps us apart sometimes, I want my “baby” sister to know that I’m always here for her, and that today, there is nowhere I’d rather be than with her, supporting and congratulating her on the biggest day of her life.
We’ve been lucky enough to spend more time together in recent years. In January, we were able to meet up in Orlando to spend my Dad’s 60th birthday party with him and her awesome boyfriend, Pete. The memories we shared at Disney set the tone for a continued relationship that goes deeper than any friendship, or certainly any last-minute prep for a silly trip.
So if I’m a little late getting on the road tomorrow morning, I’m totally cool with it. Because I’ll have plenty of time this summer for me; today, we celebrate my “baby" sister joining the real world.
As the restaurant employees awkwardly sang last night, Happy Graduation, Dear Kerri. Your big bro is unbelievably proud of you.