One of the most precious, genuine and melancholy relationships one can ever have will be with a sibling. If you attain one of these, your life will be filled with ups and downs but through it all, there is always someone who ‘knows you best’. Having a sister would make most relationships with other women very humdrum. She is always there on a rainy day, always there to see your triumphs and let-downs throughout your life.
My sister Nicole came into my life on December 9, 1976 while I was a 6 year old tomboy. I was so upset when my parents explained to me that they were going to welcome another bundle of joy in the family unit. I knew then that I had to start sharing my toys, offer hand-me-downs and learn how to deal with another type of personality. It was actually a good thing. I remember that I could hardly put her down when my mother allowed me to hold her on the couch. I used to rock her while she was in her bassinet with my foot while my mother was preparing dinner. I loved her more and more with each rocking of the foot. I was well into the year of kindergarten. I loved my family, friends and life.
Throughout the years of having a little sister was a very different experience. While she was just starting kindergarten herself, she was instructed to learn the basics, for instance, counting to 10, alphabet in the English language, color, etc. Our mother was a single parent which in turn, labelled us as ‘latch key’ kids of the 1980s. As the eldest child, I was instructed to walk my siblings home from the bus stop, make sure they finish their homework, clean the house the best I can, make simple dinners for them and (at times) make sure they take a bath and get prepared for the next day of school. Because of my attentiveness to my little sister’s needs, she walked into her first day of kindergarten with the knowledge of being able to count to one-hundred, knew her ABCs, knew how to differentiate between primary and secondary colors and could read and construct a few sentences at command. Not only did she benefit from this experience seeing her grow mentally, but I grew as well.
Fast forward to October 1987. I was in high school while she was in middle school. Our mother was still the glue that held my siblings together. I was still in charge of making sure everyone came home from school with all the other responsibilities that was mentioned earlier. Unfortunately, I was stricken with a stroke at the tender age of sixteen. My siblings had thought they had lost their big sister, especially Nicole. While I lay in bed, she wouldn’t know what to say or how to act towards me. Things were different between us. Physically, I am the big sister and she is the little sister. Unfortunately, from a mental aspect, she was the big sister. Most of the intellect that I have acquired over the years had left me in a vegetated state. As the months and years went by, I slowly regained my intelligence again, because of her. She was the one who would read with me, re-taught me the alphabet, re-taught me how to count, re-taught me how to differentiate between my primary and secondary colors and re-construct a few sentences at command. So if it weren’t for her, I would not be here to tell you my story.