I will never know what it’s like to have an older sister. Not even a cousin I can introduce to my friends as my big sis because I’m the oldest of the cousins. It sucked to be me then. For the longest time, during my kindered years, I envied having one. I was 6 when my brother was born but still that yearning remained unquenched. We played together but it was different because we had different toys. I had barbie dolls and he had monster trucks and even though sometimes I’d share what was mine, he’d detach their heads from their bodies and that’d make me hide them away from him. I knew I loved my brother but I just wanted a sister – someone like me. A girl. Someone to call sis. Someone to share my dolls with. There was just something I knew was missing and 6 years later she was born.
I remember when she was brought home. I was 12. She was swaddled in a yellow blanket with Winnie the Pooh animations on it. I have vivid details of the blanket because my sister was attached to it up until her primary school years. Had my mother not given it away, she’d still be wrapping it around her tiny self and press her nose against its mink coat and savor the Sta-soft smell. I don’t know what it is with babies and blankets but there’s a bond that exists between them that can potentially last a life time if it’s tolerated.
We eventually stopped dealing with the blanket but there was one habit of hers which was of great annoyance. That habit was sucking two of her fingers- the index and the middle.
The day she was born, everything about her was pink. Starting from her cheeks, her strawberry shaped lips, her tiny nose which was like a button and her dainty hands. She fixed two of her fingers together and searched for her lips until finally she figured out how to insert them in her mouth and sucked away. I thought it was cute and clever but one day she started pre school and teachers complained that she was lagging behind because she was sucking instead of writing. She was always last to hand in her work also. I thought it was funny and cute, but my poor parents had such a hard time putting an end to it. I think when my sister was in grade 4, she felt too too old for her habit and told herself it was time to stop.
I look back now and I wonder where the time has gone. We are dealing with new things now like Nike and Adidas sneakers because Fila is wack and she has never heard of Air Force 1s. She thinks I’m really boring because I can’t differentiate between Xxxtentacion, Lil Pump, Lil Uzi Vert and Kodak Black. To me they sound the same so I don’t get a seat at her cool kids table. I’d ruin her social status if I even mistook them for each other in front her friends. “You’re so embarrassing,” she’d say. And I’d do it again on purpose to give them something to laugh about. I make sure I record the BET, MTV and Billboard Awards for her while she’s away in boarding school so that when she’s back home she doesn’t feel left out.
Sometimes we fight and when she’s wrong she makes sure to say sorry to me. That’s one of the things I really really admire about my sister because she doesn’t shy away from expressing herself. As the older one, apologizing is something I’ve actually learned from her. You know there is this sense of entitlement we have as older siblings, that the ones after us owe us the respect and not vice versa. She taught me that respect is mutual regardless the age.
She also taught me that friendship is ageless. There is a twelve year gap between us so we didn’t get to share barbie dolls, but I had and still have the responsibility of styling her hair, picking and matching her clothes, taking her to movies and advising her about the correct company. My sister is my friend. For the time being we are not exactly BFFs because she’s a teenager and she has become a little bit withdrawn from me, but she’s my friend. We have the longest conversations about everything and anything yet we also embrace moments of silence and tension. Friends have such moments. We also ask each other meaningful and silly questions and laugh at each other’s answers, or ponder on their meanings.
There is a humbling feeling that overtakes me when we open up to each other because there is trust. I never had anybody to ask the confusing questions about my body or why I felt silly towards a certain boy.
Of all the things, my biggest wish is that I’m a great big sister.