50 wishes for my little sister.

1. The ability to fall in love with herself first.

All photos via iStock.


2. Many nights spent laughing so hard that she can barely catch her breath.

3. A few true friends who will never abandon her or try to change her.

4. Mentors to learn from who provide a remarkable amount of inspiration.

5. Patience to undergo life’s setbacks.

6. Determination to turn those setbacks into further motivation to follow her dreams.

7. Long car rides and plane trips to wondrous places that will open her eyes to the fascinating and incredible world we live in.

8. People to hold her when I am not there.

9. Late nights.

10. Big dreams.

11. Emotionally riveting experiences.

12. Opportunities to step outside her comfort zone.

13. The strength to stand by her convictions.

14. The bravery to overcome all of the fears and reservations that life will naturally work into her brain.

15. The chance to help others and truly touch the lives of the people in this world who need it most.

16. A few lucky guys along the way who will respect her, be honest with her, adore her, and make her smile.

17. Moments when she can feel invincible.

18. Night swims in the ocean.

19. Concerts that bring music into her chest and rattle her senses.

20. Kisses that make her heart stop.

21. Strong cups of coffee for the long days.

22. Tall glasses of wine for the hard days.

23. A career worth falling in love with.

24. The ability to see how powerful she is as a woman.

25. The understanding that she will always have family to fall back on when life seems to get out of control.

26. Plenty of sass.

27. Enough toughness to fight back and to always stand up for herself.

28. A true understanding of what beauty is and where it really exists.

29. Lots of pizza.

GIF via "Wayne's World"

30. Memories and crazy stories that last a lifetime.

31. A place or city that she can be completely enthralled with, where she can spend many of her days living in that magic.

32. A safe place to call home.

33. A multitude of girls’ nights spent out on the town turning heads — or curled up in pajamas watching Netflix with Ben & Jerry’s.

34. The fortitude to keep moving forward after a few idiots break her heart.

35. The fearlessness needed to fall in love again.

36. Enough cold days to make her appreciate the sunny ones.

37. The time and motivation to continue to indulge in all of her hobbies and interests.

38. People she can call when she is feeling lost (other than me, of course).

39. The wisdom to understand a greater purpose in life.

40. The belief that she never has to rush any stage of her life, and that she should be able to enjoy all of them for the wonders that they each possess.

41. Exposure to some of the world’s unique and time-honored displays of artistic splendor. May she read the greatest novels, witness the most acclaimed theatrical performances, and be moved by remarkable artwork. May she always appreciate their brilliance.

42. Immeasurable moments of pride that she can have in herself and in her accomplishments.

43. The faith needed to be able to sustain any religion of her choice that may give her a sense of purpose and love.

44. People who will teach her new ideas and constantly provide her with new perspectives.

45. Knowledge that intellectually challenges her and inspires a hunger for wisdom inside of her.

46. The wedding she has always dreamed of, which I am sure I will be personally aiding in the production of.

47. A man I can confidently say will love her forever and give her all she needs in this world. A man I can raise my glass to at that reception and give my baby sister away to, knowing that he will be a devoted husband and best friend to the most important thing I have in my life.

48. Little children that look just as beautiful as she is, with big sparkly eyes and hearts of pure gold. May her children grow to see the incredible woman they were blessed with, and go on to spread the amazing joy she will teach them.

49. May they have family movie nights, little soccer games, long days at the amusement parks, Christmas mornings awoken by screams of excitement, tear-filled graduations, and enough hugs and kisses to fill my sister’s heart. May they overcome the hard times and keep each other close. May she raise her children to love each other as much as I love her.

50. My lasting love. May she always understand that I will be here forever. I will be there when she moves into a crappy little apartment — to order pizza and eat it on the empty living room floor. I will be there to plan a ridiculous bachelorette party where we are way too loud and think tequila is a good choice. I will be there to toast to her marriage. I will be there sobbing as I hold my little niece or nephew with more love than I can even comprehend. I will be there when our kids are growing and we have to call each other and laugh at the ridiculous things they do. I will be there through career changes. I will be there as we grow old and start to develop smile lines from our years of laughter. I will be there when we have no one in our family left but the two of us.

I held her in my arms the day she was born, and I will hold her forever. That is my final wish and promise for my remarkable little sister.

This is for all of the sisters out there who are loving and hoping for each other. Sometimes we forget to remind our sisters that we are constantly dreaming for them and for the beautiful life they deserve.

Images courtesy of John Scully, Walden University, Ingrid Scully
True

Since March of 2020, over 29 million Americans have been diagnosed with COVID-19, according to the CDC. Over 540,000 have died in the United States as this unprecedented pandemic has swept the globe. And yet, by the end of 2020, it looked like science was winning: vaccines had been developed.

In celebration of the power of science we spoke to three people: an individual, a medical provider, and a vaccine scientist about how vaccines have impacted them throughout their lives. Here are their answers:

John Scully, 79, resident of Florida

Photo courtesy of John Scully

When John Scully was born, America was in the midst of an epidemic: tens of thousands of children in the United States were falling ill with paralytic poliomyelitis — otherwise known as polio, a disease that attacks the central nervous system and often leaves its victims partially or fully paralyzed.

"As kids, we were all afraid of getting polio," he says, "because if you got polio, you could end up in the dreaded iron lung and we were all terrified of those." Iron lungs were respirators that enclosed most of a person's body; people with severe cases often would end up in these respirators as they fought for their lives.

John remembers going to see matinee showings of cowboy movies on Saturdays and, before the movie, shorts would run. "Usually they showed the news," he says, "but I just remember seeing this one clip warning us about polio and it just showed all these kids in iron lungs." If kids survived the iron lung, they'd often come back to school on crutches, in leg braces, or in wheelchairs.

"We all tried to be really careful in the summer — or, as we called it back then, 'polio season,''" John says. This was because every year around Memorial Day, major outbreaks would begin to emerge and they'd spike sometime around August. People weren't really sure how the disease spread at the time, but many believed it traveled through the water. There was no cure — and every child was susceptible to getting sick with it.

"We couldn't swim in hot weather," he remembers, "and the municipal outdoor pool would close down in August."

Then, in 1954 clinical trials began for Dr. Jonas Salk's vaccine against polio and within a year, his vaccine was announced safe. "I got that vaccine at school," John says. Within two years, U.S. polio cases had dropped 85-95 percent — even before a second vaccine was developed by Dr. Albert Sabin in the 1960s. "I remember how much better things got after the vaccines came out. They changed everything," John says.

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In a North Carolina neighborhood that looks like a present-day Pleasantville, a man carries a cup of coffee and a plate of brownies out to his car. "Good mornin!" he calls cheerfully to a neighbor jogging by. As he sets his coffee cup on the hood of the car, he says, "I need to wash my car." Well, shucks. His wife enters the camera frame on the other side of the car.

So far, it's just about the most classic modern Americana scene imaginable. And then...

A horrifying "rrrrawwwww!" Blood-curdling screaming. Running. Panic. The man abandons the brownies, races to his wife's side of the car, then emerges with an animal in his hands. He holds the creature up like Rafiki holding up Simba, then yells in its face, "Oh my god! It's a bobcat! Oh my god!"

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Images courtesy of John Scully, Walden University, Ingrid Scully
True

Since March of 2020, over 29 million Americans have been diagnosed with COVID-19, according to the CDC. Over 540,000 have died in the United States as this unprecedented pandemic has swept the globe. And yet, by the end of 2020, it looked like science was winning: vaccines had been developed.

In celebration of the power of science we spoke to three people: an individual, a medical provider, and a vaccine scientist about how vaccines have impacted them throughout their lives. Here are their answers:

John Scully, 79, resident of Florida

Photo courtesy of John Scully

When John Scully was born, America was in the midst of an epidemic: tens of thousands of children in the United States were falling ill with paralytic poliomyelitis — otherwise known as polio, a disease that attacks the central nervous system and often leaves its victims partially or fully paralyzed.

"As kids, we were all afraid of getting polio," he says, "because if you got polio, you could end up in the dreaded iron lung and we were all terrified of those." Iron lungs were respirators that enclosed most of a person's body; people with severe cases often would end up in these respirators as they fought for their lives.

John remembers going to see matinee showings of cowboy movies on Saturdays and, before the movie, shorts would run. "Usually they showed the news," he says, "but I just remember seeing this one clip warning us about polio and it just showed all these kids in iron lungs." If kids survived the iron lung, they'd often come back to school on crutches, in leg braces, or in wheelchairs.

"We all tried to be really careful in the summer — or, as we called it back then, 'polio season,''" John says. This was because every year around Memorial Day, major outbreaks would begin to emerge and they'd spike sometime around August. People weren't really sure how the disease spread at the time, but many believed it traveled through the water. There was no cure — and every child was susceptible to getting sick with it.

"We couldn't swim in hot weather," he remembers, "and the municipal outdoor pool would close down in August."

Then, in 1954 clinical trials began for Dr. Jonas Salk's vaccine against polio and within a year, his vaccine was announced safe. "I got that vaccine at school," John says. Within two years, U.S. polio cases had dropped 85-95 percent — even before a second vaccine was developed by Dr. Albert Sabin in the 1960s. "I remember how much better things got after the vaccines came out. They changed everything," John says.

Keep Reading Show less