For years, I was the only female grandchild on my dad's side of the family, and I wanted so desperately for another girl to come along and join me, at all family functions! In 1991, when I was 7, my little cousin Hailea Rachelle arrived, and I haven’t stopped loving her since the day I saw her! I love her more and more everyday, in fact!

From the moment she was born I would carry her around, force her to wear the same outfits as me, and convince her to play all of the games that I wanted to. She would listen, as she was quieter and reserved, a girl who was only looking for a peaceful relationship. My grandma still tells of times when I would cry, or get upset and ask “Why doesn’t Rachelle like me?” All I wanted was for her to show a little bit of love in return, or at least ACT like she wanted to be around me.

As time passed, we spent every summer vacation together, because I became her babysitter! I am sure at times she wanted to run away, especially when I was making up pet names for her and her older brother, Eric. But, there were other times where we think back, now, and laugh because of all the fun we had (right guys?)

When she got old enough to realize how cool I was (I knew she would eventually figure it out!), she wanted to be around me more. We would go shopping together, and she would buy the same clothes as me, at a point in time when I just wanted to be “original”, and not be twins with my little cousin. I would attend her class trips as a chaperone, and she would come and hang out with me, just because. It was nice to know that she finally liked me!

In the last couple of years we have only become closer. I love her so much, and I am so proud of her. I see who she is as a person, and at such a “young” age, I am envious of her maturity, and ability to take life for what it is, and people for what they are. She is smart, outgoing, compassionate, creative, beautiful, and a pleasure to be around. For so long I wanted her to look up to me. I wanted her to follow me around, and tell me how wonderful I was. Now, all I want to do is turn around and share all of those things with her! I love being around her, and hearing her opinion and insight on things. I ask for approval of my fashion choices, and most of all, I look up to HER. I want her to know how wonderful she is.

Last year, she emailed me and told me that she was going to get a tattoo in honor of me. When she told me, I was shocked, excited, nervous and flattered. Originally she was going to get two angel wings, with my initials in the centre of them, because she said, “Angels are in the up in the sky watching over us, and I look up to you…” Yep, I shed a tear. Anyways, after a bit of rearranging she designed this tattoo herself, and it is on her wrist, for all to see!

It is symbolic for my name, Taigan Rachelle, and the year I was born. It makes me so happy to know that God brought her into my life, and gave me a companion to grow up with, and learn from. I know that as the years go by, we will only get closer.

I love you Rachelle!

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