Sometimes being the oldest sibling isn't easy. You have to grow up first. Sometimes, you have to act and think like an adult instead of just being a kid. I was the oldest sibling in my family. My brother, who is four years younger, would tell you some good and some bad stories I'm sure. But I'd like to think he remembers at least a few times when I provided some real help or advice for him. Because sometimes being a good older sibling means making a sacrifice.

Our daughters Carly and Cayleigh are close. Both in age, 13 years old and 11 years old, and as friends. Sure they have sisterly fights, but all in all, they've always gotten along. They both have their own interests too. That is up until this fall. Carly has always loved the sport of volleyball. She got hooked on it two years ago when she played on a club team. She found out that she was pretty good at it too. Cayleigh has always loved to play soccer. She has played for several years and found out she was pretty good at that sport too. This fall, Carly went out for 7th-grade volleyball and was super excited for the season. But during the third practice, she fractured a finger and was done for the year.

After several months of healing, Carly's finger looked good and we got word of club volleyball tryouts the first week of November. This was her chance to play her favorite sport, the one she had to miss earlier in the fall due to injury. During this same time, we also encouraged Cayleigh to try out for the club team. She'd never played volleyball before but some of her friends were trying out so she wanted to give it a try. So for the past three and a half weeks, Carly and Cayleigh have spent hours in our driveway setting, bumping, and serving. Carly trying to strengthen her finger, and at the same time, helping Cayleigh feel comfortable enough to try out. It was truly fun to watch them work so hard.

Tryouts were this week and both girls performed well. We figured that Cayleigh had the toughest road to making a team since she'd never played before. Carly had been on this club team before and we just assumed she'd be there again. But that isn't how life works, is it? Cayleigh got her invitation to join the team the day after tryouts. Carly did not. She went to school and heard that friends got their invites. But nothing for her. We finally got the email last night that all the spots on the teams had been filled.

As a parent, my heart aches for Carly. She hustled and tried her best at tryouts. She loves the sport more than any other. She says that she isn't sad over not making it, but we know she is. Who wouldn't? But she should look at what she did accomplish. Her hard work and dedication led directly to her sister improving and making the team she is on. That is some big-time sisterly love, right there.

Cayleigh came up to me last night and asked what jersey number she should choose. Her birth date? Her birth month? I made a suggestion. How about you choose Carly's birthday. I asked her if she thought she would have made the team without her help? Cayleigh said, yeah, I can go with her number I guess.

Sisterly love. Is there anything stronger?

Palisades-Kepler State Park in the Fall

I took a drive out to Palisades-Kepler State Park in Mount Vernon to capture some of the beautiful fall colors before winter takes over. I hope you enjoy the scenery as much as I did!