Commentary: 6 steps to 6,000 miles


Photo credit: Jana Wallack

As 2-year-old me hugs 4-year-old Sophie, she squeezes my cheeks. Fourteen years later, Sophie is leaving for college in the fall.

By Francie Wallack, Multimedia Editor

When I was 8, my older sister, Sophie, and I shared a room. We played dress up until the sun went down and had a top-secret candy stash in the bottom drawer of my desk. We built stuffed animal-filled forts and played Go Fish until the candy put us into a deep sugar coma. When my dad mistakingly showed me a zombie movie for the first time and I was terrified for weeks, my sister let me sleep with my lamp on for however long I needed.

But, like any great story, the happiness and bliss could not last forever. One day, my sister decided she no longer wanted to share a room with her little (but very cool) sister. So, our roommate-ship came to a sorrowful end. The day she moved into her new room, I claimed that it was, and I quote, “The worst day of my life.” Little did that 9-year-old know that sending her best friend six steps down the hall was nothing compared to the 6,000 miles that would soon separate them.

As the little sister, I was never oblivious to the fact that Sophie would eventually leave for college. I always knew she would some day leave but it always seemed so far away, so why would I think about it? But now, with three months until Sophie and I say our long-awaited goodbye, it is becoming much more real to me.

It’s always been just the two of us. Wherever you saw Sophie, you saw Francie. Birthday parties, bat mitzvahs, family dinners and the dreaded High Holiday services at our temple were all events Sophie and I took on hand-in-hand.

When Sophie got glasses, I, of course, wanted to be just like her, so I snuck into her room and stole her glasses until my mom eventually bought me a pair of “Harry Potter” costume glasses. I religiously asked to go to the elementary school nurse during class because I firmly insisted I could not see the board (I could).

Although it was a lie at first, I eventually wore her glasses one too many times, and I now have quite a hefty prescription. Even though the dozens of contacts sitting on my bathroom counter are surely a bother, they’re just one more thing that makes me more similar to Sophie.

The point of all of these stories and anecdotes isn’t to brag about how amazing my relationship with Sophie is; it’s to postpone the hardest goodbye of my life (trust me, that’s not even hyperbole).

I will soon be forced to say goodbye to our late-night talks, sunset paddle-boards, beach bike rides, dinner dates and night drives blasting Taylor Swift as we dance to our very own self-choreographed routines to every song.

When I was younger, I loved being the little sister. I had someone to look up to, was somehow always immune to harsh punishment and was the one my parents were much more lenient with. But now, I dread being the younger sister. When Sophie goes off to college and starts a whole new life, what’s in it for me? Sophie will be off to a new city with new friends, and I’m stuck at home, living my same life, just without her in it.

In the next four years, I anticipate many visits to her college, countless random FaceTimes and of course, many, many tears.

In all honesty, I didn’t intend for this to be my pity party. I am wildly happy for Sophie to begin her newest journey, but I can’t help but be sad about everything that will be different in our lives. If I was given a chance to re-do our childhood, there is honestly nothing I would do differently. Even though I will always want more time having Sophie at home, I have no regrets and I am so grateful that I don’t because the time really did fly by.

So, to all the younger siblings out there, savor every single second you have with your older siblings. Let go of that stupid fight and grudge because none of it matters in the long run. What does matter is being able to look back at your childhood having no regrets.

Well, I can’t put off this goodbye forever, so, here it goes. Peace out Soph; I love you a ton.