The best part about the evening was my sister getting to do her final walk. If you aren't pageant people this may seem a little hokey to you, but it was a moment in MY life that I will never forget, and so I know it will be the same for her. She recorded a speech thanking everyone for their help and support over the year and discussing what her year meant to her. During the voice over, Carrie Underwood's "Ever After" from the movie Enchanted (a favorite of ours) played while she floated around the stage in her Miss USA gown. She was gorgeous, looking just like a princess, while a Disney movie song was playing behind her. It literally was the stuff dreams are made of. I was sitting in the front row, with tears in my eyes, in awe of the woman that my sister has become. This is my baby sister--6 years younger than me--so young that we really didn't have anything in common until we were grown up. To see her out there, to hear her eloquent speech, graciously and humbly thanking everyone that has been a part of her journey, made me so proud, and so sad. She isn't a little girl anymore--she is all grown up. Because she is so much younger than me I have always felt a little bit like her mom as well as her sister, and I can't imagine loving any of my children more than I love her, or being as totally dedicated to their activities, hopes, and dreams, any more so that I was with her and this pageant business. I seriously nearly lost all control when she thanked me specifically in her farewell speech (literally, the Miss Alabama Teen USA's boyfriend had to hug me to make me stop crying). Just knowing that I mattered to her in that way was beyond satisfying.
It has been a wild ride,and I hate to see it all go, but I know that all good things must come to an end, and I can't wait to see what the rest of the world holds for my sister (and me).
You can watch her final walk here!