And What My Baby Sister Taught Me About Love, Strength & Faith
Wow, I don’t really know how to write this. How can I sum up my relationship with my baby sister, Bailey, into a digestible Medium article?
I see that picture, and I barely recognize the faces.
Isn’t that how it is sometimes though? Life moves so fast, and as young people, we are always changing. Believe it or not, that gorgeous bride is my baby sister.
I’ve always loved being a big brother
(except for my menace years — tehe).
My mom says she prayed for it. A big brother to protect his baby sister against all the wrongs of the world. We’ve made it through a lot, separate and together. But even if it’s separate, we always come back together, stronger and better. We pushed through a nasty divorce, house fire, deaths, breakups, family drama… the works.
At 28, I don’t know how good I do in the grand scheme, but I do try. I’ve been trying ever since I garnered the social intelligence to understand what a young woman might need in a big brother. When I was young, I just tried to keep her safe from fights between parents. Hold her tight when she was scared. That’s all I knew then.
Things changed when I must have been around 18. She was 15. I went off to college, and she stayed home. I wasn’t around as much, but when I was around, I tried.
I tried to be the big brother she deserved.
My sister is an amazing human. While I was off being a young person in the world, she really grew into herself. She won all the prestigious human awards in high school. Won a softball state championship. Homecoming queen. Groups and bible studies. I couldn’t believe it. Not because I doubted her, but I was just so impressed. She did things I couldn’t even do. It was beautiful.
As she started really becoming a woman, I noticed a couple of things about her. She pushes herself to be the best she can be. She craves real love. She believes in her God, truly.
I watched her maintain her faith as she worked her way through basic training and university, new boyfriends and boys who wanted to be her friend, and the ups and downs of living life. Each year that passed by she became even more and more of catch. She just got better. Stronger. More beautiful. More faithful.
The problem with being such an awesome human is finding someone equally as awesome to commit to in your life. She went through boyfriends what seemed like yearly, sometimes monthly, searching for the one that she felt like was God’s gift to her. I could go on and on about the ones that didn’t work, but today is about the man that did.
I met Dion while visiting Bailey. These visits were few and far between. As we get older, it’s hard to make it happen more than a few times a year, but when it does happen, it’s jam-packed. For instance, on this visit, we were to go trampoline jumping with mama.
When I met him, I had no idea what the next year or even hour of their relationship (and ours) would look like. Not only was he extremely nice and polite, but he also seemed to have a light in him. That matters to me.
One hour after meeting him, Dion tore his ACL right in front of us. He potentially, maybe, probably was showing off for Bailey when a bad landing messed him up.
He took it like a champ, and over the next few months of his healing, Bailey and he started to fall in love. I’m not here to tell their love story, but what I can say is that in discovering each other, they discovered what they wanted in a life partner. They both love God. Athletics. Adrenaline Rushes. Being Nice. Helping People. They just clicked.
And this is where Bailey taught me something really important.
After dating for about three months, they decided they wanted to get married. Well, you can imagine everyone’s… surprise or concern rather. Other than a few familial issues with their interracial relationship, most of us loved Dion and loved them together.
But marriage?? It seemed so soon. How could they know? Why choose to get married when so much could go wrong?? So young?
Despite Bailey’s wisdom team (mostly me and mom), being hesitant and voicing our opinions, we swallowed our doubts and pushed ahead with full support when it happened. Dion asked for our blessing. He proposed. She said an unwavering YES.
See Bailey and Dion knew. They wanted it with each other. They had faith. They loved, and they rolled with what seemed crazy to most.
This inspired the hell out of me. Commitment can be scary. The possibility of someone breaking your heart is even scarier, but they both took it on at full stride, ready to take on any battle — together.
And the battles would come.
But before the battles, they got married. They didn’t want a huge wedding — something small and official. All of a sudden, my girlfriend, mom, stepdad, and I are on the way to Alabama to see my baby sister get married!!
I wasn’t ready. But I decided to just be calm and be in the moment. I watched my girlfriend and mother put on her make-up. I helped her put on her shoes. I saw her in her wedding gown. I even walked her down the aisle. I held back the tears for the most part. Until they were up there holding hands and saying vows. The tears came streaming. I looked at my mom. Her tears were streaming too.
It was just so wild to see that young woman up there marrying the love of her life. All of the memories of the struggles we had been through flooded my brain. All the times we annoyed each other. When she would always beg to come into my room and hang out or go on an “adventure” in the woods around our house with me.
My version of her life flashed before my eyes.
And then, it was over. Now, just a flashing of memories in my head.
I knew Bailey had needed me during this time before marriage. She needed my support. She needed me to trust that she and Dion were making the right decision. She needed me to have faith… in her.
Over 2021, a lot happened emotionally for her. Mostly in the “some family not supporting her interracial marriage” department. It was heartbreaking, truly.
I think she was able to see through the facades a lot of people have when it comes to race, family dynamics, and love. She saw what love is and what love isn’t. My mom and I really had to step up for her. Show her that she is not in the wrong, here. That we support her. That we support, Dion. That we support their marriage.
With a lot of her world crumbling around her while she was trying to rebuild a new one, Bailey showed an incredible amount of resilience and strength. I knew she was strong, but this past year she was both emotionally intelligent and stoic. I am so proud of her for sticking to her guns and pushing through. Because the best things in life are not always easy. In fact, they are usually really, really difficult.
She, again, inspired the hell out of me.
Fast forward a year after their marriage, we had a true celebration of them both together. Dion’s family flew out to my mom’s home, and we had a reception-style luau.
It was the perfect ending to the beautiful disaster of 2021.
Being the people watcher I am, I took several moments to just soak it in. I saw why they were so good together. I heard the stories from our family to his and vice versa. Bailey was right. Dion was right.
I believe they belong together. And I’m glad I did my part in supporting their vision. I’m glad I found the faith to believe in them as they believe in each other.
She’s even got me thinking about marriage. Heavily. *wipes forehead*
Because seeing what they have is beautiful. Watching their patience with their struggles and their continued positivity each day encourages me to do the same.
They make me want to be more like them, and I absolutely love that.
So I guess…
I just want to say thank you. Thank you, Bailey, my baby sister, for teaching me. For inspiring me. For giving me more purpose today than I had yesterday.
I’m your big brother. It’s one of the reasons I’m here. My purpose. And I always will be.
I love you.