A is for Abandoned
– To be deserted, or left.
All relationships between siblings are different, but I can say with 100% certainty that ours is something special. Growing up as an only child for those first years was incredibly lonely. There were cousins, and there were friends, but something always felt missing. I begged Mama and Dad for a little sibling – someone with whom I could share my company, share my toys (and I say this with love, but I would come to regret that!) and someone who would keep all my secrets.
When Mama told me that she was pregnant, it was the happiest I had ever been. Every tiny pair of booties, every children’s book – I wanted you to have it all. 9 months passed by so quickly. I would fall asleep with my hand on Mama’s belly, trying to feel you kick, even before you had developed feet. We didn’t know whether you were a boy or girl, but I knew that I loved you more than my 6 year old heart could bear.
Fast forward to when you were born. I still remember the morning of your birthday. I was getting ready for school and Mama told me that today was the day – you would be arriving soon. I don’t know how she knew, perhaps it was a mother’s instinct. Or maybe it was because you were kicking up a storm in there and she knew you wanted out. Either way, I was too excited that I begged her to let me stay home from school. You can probably guess how that went down.
The day passed quickly, and I’ll admit that you slipped from my mind a few times while 6-year-old me was doing my very best to concentrate on learning my multiplication tables. The school bell rang at exactly 2:50pm and Mama was nowhere to be seen. I did see Lola C, who was there to pick me up. I just knew.
When I opened the door to Mama’s room, I saw the two of you – Mama, with her hair a sweaty mess, her cheeks flushed red and tears in her eyes. And then there was you, the smallest human I had ever laid eyes on wrapped so snuggly in her arms. I ran over to the bed and they put you in my arms. I remember feeling so terrified of hurting you, but you touched my cheek and all my fear washed away.
Your first year was exhausting to say the least! From preparing for your Christening to bathing you and learning how to change your diaper – you were definitely a lot more work than I had bargained for. But every night, you would fall asleep next to me, so incredibly warm and indescribably adorable and I would wake up the next morning ready to do it all over again. You would eat constantly and you always smelled incredible (well, almost always).
Your first few years were a tough adjustment. I would get in trouble when you’d leave your clothes in the middle of the kitchen, and I’d always be left with cleaning up the toys because it was time for your nap. You were braver than anyone, and smarter than anyone and no matter how irritating you could get, I absolutely adored you.
I spent most of my life by your side. As a young child, I didn’t really have anywhere else to be. But I grew up. I spent more time at school activities or out with friends. I got a job and I got… well, busy. You’re in high school now, and so I know that you understand what it’s like to have a life outside of our home.
But I grew up first.
And I grew up so much earlier than you (a 6 year age gap will have that effect). I hope that during those years when I was so occupied with myself, I never made you feel like I abandoned you. I hope you never doubted my love for you, which is as strong now as it was from the second I found out that you were coming into my life, and will continue to be as strong no matter how many times you borrow my clothes and never return them or when you’re pissed at the world and give me attitude that still shocks me. You’re the greatest little sister a girl could ever ask for.
All my love,
* Ate in Tagalog means “older sister”, but could also be used as a sign of respect to an older female who isn’t old enough to be an aunt or grandmother