Being the first born in an Asian family means a lot of responsibilities. I am the eldest and I have two sisters. We were all born two years apart from each other. I remember, when we were kids, one of my main responsibilities is to teach my sisters. My mom expects that I will help them with their homework, teach them how to read, write and help them with their maths. Whenever my sisters do not know something about a topic in school, my mom would always say “paturo ka sa ate mo” (ask your eldest sister to teach you). I hated it because when you are a kid all you want is to play outside or watch TV but unlike other kids, I am there acting as my sisters private tutor.
One of the things, that my mom is so obsessed with, is for us to be together ALL THE TIME when we were kids. There are so many occasions when I wish I can go to school and go home with my friends like most students do. But I never did. Mom wants us to go to school together even it means getting to school late because one of us doesn’t wake up on time. After school, we always wait outside each others’ classroom and ride home together. If there are school activities, my mom always says that we should accompany each other and I should be looking out for my sisters while at school.
My mom also hates it when we fight. She always scolds us and blames me most of the time when I fight with my sisters and tells me that I’m the eldest so I should be patient, understanding and giving to them. One thing she does for us not to fight over certain things is to buy us similar stuff, especially me and Lady since our ages are closer to each other. We both grew up having same clothes, same bags, same shoes, etc. If we are lucky we can have it in a different colour otherwise it is very much alike. That is why some people thinks we are twins. One day, we went to school but grabbed each others bag instead. We only found out when we opened the bag and saw each others names on the notebooks. When I found out about it, Lady is already outside my classroom, frowning and annoyed while carrying my bag. This story cracks us up every time we remember it.
I grew up sharing same bedroom with them. So we always sleep together and talk about things happen in school or about this show we watched on TV. We always laugh a lot before we sleep but sometimes we end up fighting. We were always asked to share each others stuff because we are sisters. I used to think that if I don’t have sisters then I do not need to share things with anybody and I can have my own. I wished I’m an only child.
As we grow up, things changed little by little. Our fights became lesser. They started to read and study by themselves that I don’t have to teach them every time. We eventually had different school times so that we have to go to school and go home alone or with friends. We started to have our own stuff. But one thing is left unchanged: we still sleep together in one bedroom, just with three different beds. We still talk about how our days have been or what mom and dad fought about that day or who has the period and used all the tampons. But because we were used to being together all the time, our closeness did not change. I started to enjoy hanging out with them and and wait at home until they finish school and eat dinner with them. We always laugh about crazy stuff, sing and dance like we are in a concert and nobody’s watching or can hear us. We still fight sometimes like who is much better, Miley Cyrus or Taylor Swift or the K-pop music. Ha.
Our parents are poor and can only give us what they can. I remember whenever we want something that my parents cannot afford, they always tell us to study hard so we can get good jobs and get good salary and be able to buy and do anything we want. That is why we always dream of finishing school so someday we can buy all the things we want. The three of us started to dream together. We dreamt that someday we will be able to eat out in a fancy restaurant, that we will be able to go out on vacation together and ride a plane and stay in a fancy hotel.
I built my dreams with my sisters and they were there when I was starting my nursing school until I finished it. I remember times when I asked them to help me study and ask me questions about a certain chapter in the book. I asked them to pray for me when I was taking my nursing exams so I’ll be able to be a Registered Nurse so I can work abroad. I still think up to this day, all their prayers helped me passing those exams.
Of all the people I know the ones who know me the most will be my sisters. Whenever I think about those old times when we fight and cry and hate each other, all it brings back now is laughter. I might have hated having sisters when I was little but now I am very thankful to have them. I felt like they were one of the best part of my childhood and life will be so tedious without them. I thank my parents, especially my mom for always bringing us closer together and now I understand why she did that.
Now that I am living abroad, far away from them and have my own room and stuff like I always wished, I often miss my sisters. I miss sleeping with them and having those late night talks. I miss going out with them and planning the weekends. I always think my life abroad will be so much better if they are here because I know they are the family I will always have no matter what life brings. The bond I have with my siblings is always an irreplaceable one.