My younger sister, Jessica was fourteen when she announced she wanted to be a forensic psychologist. After watching Silence of the Lambs, something about Jodi Foster's character resonated with her - and stuck.
It's been a long haul - more than a decade of schooling, innumerable years as a starving student, and countless hours of studying. But her decision has never wavered (except that one year when she considered marine biology, but we won't tell Dad about that...) and yesterday, she defended her dissertation and passed. Which means we can now call her Dr. Ius.
I teased her a lot about that last night after she'd indulged in a little champagne and I mourned the fact I couldn't be there with her to celebrate. I asked how long until her handwriting went to seed, or whether she would be trading in her headphones for a stethoscope, or if I'd have to make an appointment and pay astronomical fees to hang out with her. (Yes, I do know she isn't THAT kind of doctor.)
But really, this milestone for her is nothing to joke about.
I don't know anyone with more passion and drive than my sister. She's tough as nails but has a heart of gold. She's pragmatic and creative, compassionate and honest. Her beauty radiates from within - and she's a knockout, as her fiancee Pete would certainly attest. Jess will be an awesome wife, and is already an incredible role model for her two stepsons, Nick and Chris.
But she'll always be my role model.
She has such limited time, but she'll read anything I send her and provide thoughtful, encouraging feedback. And though our relationship has been fraught with common (and uncommon) sibling angst, her support of me and my writing has always remained consistent. It's not a coincidence my first novel, Absolution, has been dubbed "Silence of the Lambs in a confessional."
When I want advice about friends and family, or being a step parent, I call my sister.
I call her when I need to cry, too.
Jess is the first person to tell me to "suck it up" when I'm having a pity party, but she's also the most reliable person in my world. And she understands me better than anyone in the universe. Who else, but my sister, would have known that on the afternoon of my wedding all I wanted was a cheese sandwich?
Jessica's path has been hindered with many obstacles but through tenacity, hard work, and sheer brute force, she has reached the pinnacle of her career and I couldn't be happier. I'm thrilled the rest of the world can now call her doctor - but I am most proud to call her my sister.
I love you, Jess. Congratulations on realizing your dream.
The book in my bag today: The Devil's Punchbowl, Greg Isles