What a Wonderful Life: Graduation Edition

Where in the world has time gone?! Why is he growing up so fast?! I know my parents are thinking the same thing, but as the Big Sister, I have a different perspective.

My baby brother is all grown up. In less than a month, he will walk across the stage with all of his classmates, receive his diploma, and officially be done with high school. He will move out of the house he has lived in since he was two years old. He will begin a full load of college classes. He will officially be an adult. Say whaaaaaat?!

Day 1 of being a Big Sister. I look upset, but that’s probably because it they told me to look at the camera when I just wanted to keep looking at my Little Brother.

You see, it wasn’t very long ago that he was born. It was the middle of July and I was definitely looking forward to being a Big Sister. I practiced holding baby dolls so I would be prepared to hold my new Little Brother. I hugged my mom’s belly so that I could practice giving hugs to my new Little Brother. I was so excited to have him come into the world. Finally, my parents dropped me off at an aunt and uncle’s home so they could go have my Little Brother. I got to see him in the hospital the next day. My hair was in a ponytail and my bangs were curled (thank you, Aunt Sheila!). My mom let me sit next to her in the hospital bed… and I got to hold my Little Brother for the very first time. They told me his name- Austin John Kahler.

When other people came to visit, I would give them dirty looks because I couldn’t hold my Little Brother while they were (all of the grandparents, aunts, uncles, and cousins wanted turns to love on the newest addition to our family). When my Little Brother and mom were able to come home from the hospital, my parents did a wonderful job of involving me in this new baby’s life, ensuring that I still felt important. I took my role as Big Sister quite seriously.

Over the next few years, I jumped at the chance to feed him and hold him, help him crawl and walk, show him how to get in the cupboards to play “waiter” with the Tupperware and how to tie his shoes. I loved being a Big Sister and I loved that I got to teach him all the things I knew.

Austin on his second birthday… yes, he had the classic bowl cut and he was quite adorable!

Before I knew it, he was growing up. He watched me learn how to ride my bike without training wheels… and consequently he was the first one to run to me when I crashed into a row of mailboxes. I watched him learn how to play sports and be part of a team. We were able to chase each other around our yard, run through the sprinkler, make snow angels, play catch with the baseball, and shoot basketball hoops together. For children’s time at church, we walked hand-in-hand to the front to sit on the steps together. He picked me up (with our Grandma Alt) after school and I showed him all the things I learned in Kindergarten that day.

Fast forward to middle school and junior high… we were still best friends and we went through a lot of trauma together. We stayed close, even during circumstances that would drive most siblings apart. We looked out for each other and worked hard to make life better for the other. He was my calm place and I was his rock.

Finally, it was my senior year- he was a freshman! We had a gym class together and he threw dodgeballs at me, all the time. I loved being able to pass him in the hallway and it was even okay with me when we pretended we didn’t know each other (he didn’t want me to embarrass him)… I left for college and he continued to excel.

This was the day he picked out Dymond from the Cedar Bend Humane Society.

Fast forward again and it was suddenly his senior year. I was looking forward to planning his graduation party and I was excited to see him in all of the sports he would decide to play this year. He ended up going out for Cross Country and Track (both of which he hadn’t been in before). He decided to go to prom with a group of friends! He has been living a wonderful life!

Senior Photo, summer before senior year
Photo Credit: Cody Croskrey of Cody Croskrey Creative

I am so proud of the young man my Little Brother has become. Words cannot describe how much I love him. I cannot believe that I am a Big Sister to an almost-graduated high schooler. No matter what he decides to do with the rest of his life, I know that he will put his whole heart into it. I look up to him (and not just because he is taller than me now). I am so proud of him. I cannot wait to be on the sidelines of the rest of his life, cheering him on.

Here’s to you, Little Brother. I love you.

*All of Austin’s senior pictures were captured by the talented Cody Croskrey of Cody Croskrey Creative.*

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