We Are America

Voices of the Nation's Future

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I have known my older sister since I was born. She has always been a part of my life. But looking back on it, I was never really her friend until this year. Living through a pandemic has been extremely challenging for me, but it has not only been a curse. In some ways, it truly was a blessing. 

Going into this quarantine, I was horrified of what that might mean for all of my loved ones and me. One thing that I was worrying about was feeling lonely. For the first few months, I relied on facetime calls with friends, binge-watching Netflix shows, and rereading the same books over and over again. Sometimes we tried to have family time, but we were really all doing our own things most of the time. I was used to being busy with sports and extracurriculars, so this was a huge change. I really did miss my friends, because they were the people who had always kept me company.

Family is important, and I have always believed this. I cared about my sisters and parents a lot, and they all loved me, too. They have been there to comfort me since the time I was born. If I ever needed anything, I could go to them. Still, I would not say that I really had a strong sort of friendship with any of them.

Eventually, without meaning to, we all had a kind of schedule that we followed. Part of this is that we all started eating lunch at around the same time. Because of that, I spent a considerable amount of time hanging out with my sisters. My younger sister, to whom I was always closest, often ended up playing with our neighbors outside. This left my older sister and me alone.

At first, we did not really know what to talk about. She is almost four years older than me, after all. But after a while, she became the person I talked to the most. We bonded over playing Minecraft, our favorite books, and old stupid memes that made us laugh. We would talk about memories from when we were little and remember how crazy we were. We watched cartoons together that we watched as young kids while we ate our lunch together.

It really was a drastic change. Before this virus, I barely knew anything about my sister, and now she is one of the people to whom I’m closest. It turns out that we have a lot in common, and I wonder why we weren’t friends sooner. Now I tell her about everything that happens in my life, and she does the same.

This has been one of the scariest times of my life, and I expected that only horrible things could come out of it. But here we are! I have learned so much this year about myself and my loved ones. But the biggest thing for me has been the fact that someone I have known forever has gone from just being someone who lives in the same house as me, to one of my best friends.

© Molly Walsh. All rights reserved. If you are interested in quoting this story, contact the national team through this website and we can put you in touch with the young person's teacher.