As a single girl, I often wonder what married life would be like.
I don't have to wonder too much, though, since I get an inside look at marriage all the time: my older sister is married with two beautiful children. But that's not all.
Seriously, this girl is Superwoman and total #womangoals combined. She has a full-time career she loves and lives in a gorgeous home with a handsome husband who loves and supports her — and even changes diapers (I need a man like that).
My sister is seven years older than me, which makes her almost like a second mom to me.
That being said, I can still talk to her about all those things sisters are supposed to talk about (you know, when I don't feel I can talk to my mom.)
The day she got married, I choked back tears as I did a reading of a poem called "I Carry Your Heart." I was afraid I'd lose her to marriage, and I knew things would change for us.
And things did change... for the best. In fact, watching my sister find love really made me feel like the same is possible for me, and everyone else.
As the baby of the family, I look up to her in more ways than one. Her marriage has taught me a thing or two about all types of love:
Love is a choice as much as it's a feeling.
My fellow hopeless romantics, let's get one thing straight: Falling in love should be a decision made with the heart.
But when it comes to staying in love, you have to use your head a little bit.
That honeymoon feeling will vanish and settle into a calm, collected kind of love. When it does, you have two choices: You can run and continue to look for that honeymoon feeling with someone else.
Or, you can accept the natural course of love and stay with the person who still gives you butterflies, just not in the same way.
True love is unconditional. It's choosing to stick by someone's side.
True love is unconditional. It's choosing to stick by someone's side through sleepless nights with a crying baby upstairs and a mother-in-law moving in with you for six months because her house is being renovated.
Love isn't always easy, but it's worth it.
Being a mom, despite its difficulties, is incredibly rewarding.
I've been there when my sister wanted to cry because she was so overwhelmed with mommy duties.
I remember, one day, when her son was leaving for his first day of school, he didn't want to leave her (because that's how much he loves his mom).
It was the saddest thing I've ever seen, but it was also the sweetest. It made me realize all those tough moments during wifehood and motherhood are worth it in the end.
Having a kid even redefined her relationship with her husband in the best way possible. Having children, it turns out, can bring two people even closer, despite some situations where we hear they can drive couples apart.
But being an aunt or an uncle is rewarding in its own way.
Before my sister had kids, I was unsure of whether I wanted to be a mom, myself.
Now, I know I want to be a mom someday. For now, though, I'm just elated to be an aunt.
Getting a sneak peek into mom life without actually having to be the mom is an awesome thing. (No changing diapers for me — just playing with the little rascal!)
As an aunt, I take the kids off my sister and brother-in-law's hands when they just want a few quiet moments to themselves — because any married couple with kids needs those moments to be sane.
And I enjoy every single minute.
You can have it all.
Every now and then, I have my moments of cynicism, fear and doubt about whether or not having both love and career success is realistic.
Then, I remember my sister's career strides and simultaneous bond with her husband, and I slowly come back down to earth.
My friends, yes, you can have it all.
Of course, you'll have to make some compromises along the way. You might have to kiss your precious eight hours of sleep goodbye and know when to turn down party invitations.
But if you're really willing to work for it, you can have a family you love unconditionally and still feel fulfilled outside your home life, too.
Your big sister will always be your big sister, even after she gets married.
When my sister got engaged, I was over-the-moon for her, but I also felt my heart drop to my stomach.
I was scared of losing her to a man, to the vows of marriage or to a bunch of babies. It was like watching our childhood flash before my eyes
Naturally, it's possible to be a wife, a mother, a daughter, a successful career woman and a sister all at once. The hardest part, however, becomes acing all those roles. But my sis has them down pat.
She always FaceTimes me and responds to my texts within minutes of me freaking out about a guy or a big life decision. #Respect.
So, if your big sister gets married one day, don't freak out. She will always be your big sister.