Bittersweet

24 Sep

I have had this post in mind for a little over a week. I have been meaning to post but work has been crazy, and I think because this makes me sad, I have been avoiding writing it.

My littlest sister (I have 3 sisters) spent the summer working at Palo Alto Software. While people might think that she worked here simply because she is my sister, the fact is, we were lucky to get her time. She is and has always been a wunderkind and had her first appearance on national news at age 11, for the Web site  and online community that she built and maintained for children her age.  She just left after her summer internship to complete her senior year at Stanford University, where she has maintained an almost perfect 4.0 average her entire time. In fact, I believe that she has only ever received a “B” once in her life.  So you can see that we were truly lucky to have her working with us at Palo Alto Software.

A little background here for the purpose if this post. Because our company has been growing, Megan, my sister did not have a spot to sit at for her summer internship. She was coming in to help us do online marketing for our newest product, Email Center Pro (she did fantastic work by the way… check out this super cool slideshow on Email Center Pro). So while thinking about who we could shuffle and where she could sit, I suggested she could use her laptop and camp out in my office all summer. I have an office that’s big enough for a small conference table so that I can have meetings. If she was amenable, she could sit on the table and share my office. Lucky for me she liked the idea.

Besides all the super cool work she did for us it was an invaluable experience for me. Not only did I feel that I got to really connect with my much younger sister (we are separated by 14 years — almost a full generation), it was also fascinating to be able to talk to her organically about cutting edge social media. She is, of course, born into the Internet generation. I don’t think she can even fathom what going to college was like in the early nineties for me, when if you emailed at all you used PINE (remember that???) It was interesting to really understand her use of Facebook, and how her friends keep in touch over the summer. I feel old just saying this, but back in the summer of 1994 I still remember sending post cards and real live actual letters to my boyfriend (now my husband by the way).  Megan and her friends don’t even email each other. They simply use email as a notification tool for Facebook messages and Facebook updates.

That being said, it was also eye opening to realize that although I often think that her generation is bleeding edge, most of her friends don’t know what Twitter is. Many of them have never heard of DIGG. It was cool to see that I could actually teach Megan a thing or two about technology and the Internet. Megan actually posted a great entry on her blog talking about this disconnect. At least I feel like even though I am her WAAAAY old sister, I might actually have a thing or 2 up my sleeve!

So why is this bittersweet? Because Megan is gone. Gone back to Stanford to finish her last year. And because of her brilliance and her focus and her drive, I know she won’t be back for another summer stint. She will get many many great offers and end up doing something super cool, probably in the Bay Area. And of course, this is what she should do. I am very proud of her and glad that she will have so many opportunities. But knowing now that life goes by so fast, I feel like this summer with her flew by. I feel like I didn’t have enough time to talk and to really re-connect. It was a fleeting moment in time — and now it’s gone. I finally got that chance to develop a real adult relationship with my youngest sibling, and poof she is off to finish her college career with flying colors and start an amazing adventure in the “real world.”  So yes, I am sad.

But looking on the bright side (which is my forte) — without this summer I might never have reconnected at the level I did with Megan. I might have remained her boring older sister. The one who is always tired, never has time for anything except kids and work, and usually has some child she is chasing around when she is not at work.  Now, as long was we both put in a little time and energy we can keep this connection, build it and become what sisters should always be: best friends. I can do that with my other sisters, because they both live in town. But now I feel like I can do that with Megan as well.  So I will channel my sadness into the bliss I feel for knowing Megan that much better. Of course I have always loved her. Of course I have always been proud of her. But now I actually KNOW her. So Megan, watch out, you may be seeing and hearing from me, your old boring 35-year-old sister, more than you ever thought you would!

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