The Twentieth Year on being “Ate” Maica

If you don’t understand how a woman could both love her sister dearly and want to wring her neck at the same time, then you were probably an only child.

—-Linda Sunshine

My life turned differently twenty years ago. I was only exactly three years old and four weeks yet I have been through a lot. When I was born, I was shortly bombarded with criticisms from my aunts. One aunt commented that my nose is “sapad na sapad” or very flat. The other whispered to my Dad, “Angelo, you must save money as early as now. You might need to have your daughter’s nose operated when she gets older.” My paternal grandmother was even asked if she thinks her newborn granddaughter is pretty and she replied with, “Well…she’s charming.” It was a very tough first day on earth but I survived it.

If you really known me since I was a child, you would most likely say that I never changed. I’m talkative, bubbly and friendly as long as I could remember. When I turned one year old, we were living in Cubao, Quezon City when suddenly leftists group headed by Gringo Honasan wants to overthrow the Aquino government. Bombs flew very near our apartment and everyone was scared to death except the little old me. According to my parents’ and nanny’s story, I was dancing and singing all the time they were very much confused on where to take me for shelter. Probably, I thought that there was a party or it was New Year’s Day. It did not bother me at all. After a year, the Great Luzon earthquake occurred. It also did not bother the little old me. I was still singing and dancing under the table where they kept me. I probably thought that it was fun feeling our apartment dancing as well.

Almost a year later, I saw my greatest challenge yet. I saw her behind that glass. There was this baby girl in her crib surrounded by other baby boys. She was sleeping. A little later, my pediatrician said told my mother, “Mas maganda [ang anak niyo] ngayon.” And I was like, “Oh, alright…she’s prettier and you’re so bald.” After a few days, we bought her home. Her name was Lea Dianne otherwise known as Le-Anne.

And that is how I obtained the first “title” before my name. From that day on, I’m someone’s Ate Maica. Today, fifth day of June 2011, I celebrate my 20th year of bearing that title.

My mother said that she did not see me having manifestations of jealousy of having a younger sister after being an only child for three years however she is annoyed how we fight all the time. It was not clear why we always fight but it was clear that it wasn’t easy growing up with her. Le-Anne is a quiet child. She’s used in playing alone and she seems to ignore me when I was a baby. She’s a picky eater and she sleeps all the time. She’s my opposite in a way because I’m really an outspoken and curious girl. I eat whatever too and it’s a big chore having to put me to sleep because I just love being awake playing. There are several petty reasons why we fight and it’s either I was seeking for her attention and she ignored me to death; or she destroys my toy and did not bother saying sorry; or I bother her while sleeping or playing for no reason at all. Our petty arguments grew more and more intense as we grow older. Sometimes we were given knives by our nannies so that we could just “kill each other”. Of course, that’s the time where we would stop but there are very few instances when I am so willing to stab her.  She’s cranky, short-tempered and no fun.

I questioned every day that we became sisters.

Probably being a sister to another is the hardest relationship in the world. You choose your friends and you choose your spouse but you can never choose your own siblings. It is permanent and no matter what happens, you’ll always be one’s sibling no matter how oil and water you two can be. That was a bit unfair if you think about it. You could easily sever friendship and by court action you can separate a spouse no matter how close your relationships with them was. However, there is no remedy when you are siblings. No matter how annoying your sibling may be or no matter how far apart you two may be, you’ll always be siblings.

But fate proved me wrong. It was so cool having her in my life. When we outgrew our childish ways of thinking, we realized that we are each other’s best friend. When there’s no one else to turn to, she’s always there to listen and accept you for who you are. It’s also fun bullying our younger brother together. You may do her wrong over and over again but she’s always there to forgive you over and over, too. It’s also wonderful seeing her save her gift money right away and spend it months later for her much-awaited, “sisters’ day out”.  She’ll even be on your side even if she knows that you’re already wrong. Yes, we still fight, but there is no such thing as a perfect relationship and we know that we are both born as very ‘competitive’ individuals.

God must have loved me a lot for giving her to me every day. On your 20th birthday, my dear sister, I just want to affirm my love and gratitude for you.  I want to say that there is no friend in the world better than you.

And there is no sister for me that could ever be better than you.

Let’s have more happy days together! 🙂

"Having a sister is like having a best friend you can't get rid of. You know whatever you do, they'll still be there." ---Amy Li

8 thoughts on “The Twentieth Year on being “Ate” Maica

  1. Hmmm ganyan din kaya ang ate ko.. hahahahhahaha…..but yep..your right… as you grow older you become closer… and best of friends… you’ve been best of friend ever since.. but you only knew it for a couple of years when you got matured….just love to have an ate….hehehehe and it also nice to be an ate…

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