Sister Abby This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine.

Abby is my older sister by a year and seven months. Mom would dress us up like twins when we were babies. In pictures, you’ll often see us wearing matching outfits with our hair in pigtails; we were adorable. Abby was the quiet one, while I was usually ­getting caught in mischief. Abby sat and watched TV while I would filch my sister’s pacifier and replace it with my own. I found this entertaining, and she never argued with me about it.

In fact, Abby never complained to me about anything. Every morning when I was in kindergarten, I would sing her a song that I learned at school. She never sang with me, just laughed and smiled. Abby was my buddy, my best friend and sister; I never saw anything different about her, not the fact that she wasn’t audible or sat in a wheelchair, or had tubes and wires always attached to her, or the fact that she was born handicapped.

When Abby was born my mother went into labor eight weeks early. Abby was diagnosed with a birth defect called VATER syndrome, which prevents normal development of the fetus. A few of the defects in Abby’s case were that her esophagus did not connect to her stomach, there was a hole between the wall connecting the trachea and esophagus, and her lungs were not developed because she was premature. Doctors put in a feeding tube. In the first couple years of her life, Abby would go through many surgeries, hospital visits, and adjustments.

For her first two years, Abby spent the major­ity of her time in the ICU. When I was born she was a year and a half old, and she finally came home when I was six weeks old. Eventually, my sister began to spend more time at home than in the hospital. Many doctors and nurses believed she would not make it past the age of two, but my parents were determined to prove them wrong and ­continued to hope and pray. After much heartache, stress, and medical intervention, Abby would shock everyone.

Today, Abby is 18 – happy and healthy. She hasn’t been in the hospital for eight years, which is a miracle. Though she is currently on full life support, ventilator, oxygen, and a feeding tube, it has never stopped her from having fun. Abby has always gone on family vacations – to the beach and the Grand Canyon – and school field trips. While Mom is at work, she has nurses to take care of her. Abby is always surrounded by family and loves to go with us to the movies or shopping. She specially loves when we play ­music, or when I talk to her. Growing up with Abby has taught me much and greatly impacted my life. Because of her, I have a bigger heart for handicapped and physically disabled children.

Though I have grown to be taller than she, we still share clothes. She’s always been my big sister whom I can talk to, and even though she doesn’t talk back, she loves it when I tell her about my life and what’s going on. Because of her, I’ve always had a best friend.

I’ve learned to get accustomed to the stares we receive when we’re out in public. Though everybody else might see my sister as different, I don’t; I see it as a gift and a blessing to have her in my life. Because of her, I know that good things come to those who wait and to never give up. Abby went through a myriad of challenges and survived them all. My sister is my hero.

This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. This piece has been published in Teen Ink’s monthly print magazine.

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This article has 6 comments. Post your own now!

KnitsandPurls said...
Sept. 3, 2012 at 8:57 am
a story to remember. when I saw the title, I thought it was about a nun! Boy was I wrong. 5/5!
Knifethrower said...
Jan. 9, 2010 at 12:32 am
congrats you made me cry. you really made me feel what you feel. abby sounds like a true friend. i hope you will continue to share the story of your sister
kelly A. said...
Aug. 19, 2009 at 10:53 pm
this is an amazing and touching story! i love the way that you wrote it!beautifly written!always remember never give up!
one2remember said...
Feb. 2, 2009 at 5:21 pm
this is really good, you did a great job boo.
madcruiser88 said...
Jan. 12, 2009 at 7:40 pm
This is a super amazing story. I work with special needs and can identify with your article and what you have gone through and continue to go through. You are an inspiration to all. Our world needs more compassionate caring people such as you. BEEEEEEEEEEEEEEAUUUUUUUUTIFUL JOB!
sonjae said...
Jan. 10, 2009 at 6:42 am
this is beautiful.i love it
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