Last night I noticed another older photo on the family calendar and smiled beside myself; I had to be at most two years old in that photo. There was four out of seven of us siblings and in the center, rightfully, was Eldest Sis. On her right was me, in her arms, and on her left were two little monsters – Third Bro and Second Sis, grasping and latching on to her with wide, toothy grins on their faces. Had the other three of my siblings completed the photo, I’ve no doubt that they would envelop us from both sides.
If there is one person whom I admire with all of my heart and for so long, wanted to emulate and become – it is her, without question. She is the first window through which I saw and learned about the world. For twenty years, it was her perspectives that I repeatedly borrowed and sought out until I was ready to assert my own. I cried when I realized I had grown into my own person; now a separate entity from her. It is her wisdom that I turn to, even today, in times of joy and need. It is from her courage that I learned to build mine. It was her writing that spurred and inspired me to start my own. It is she who carries my heart – from my beginning until today; hopefully for ever.
My mother often said that first daughters are special – especially for the fathers, she’d say, because they never quite know the beauty the world holds …until they unlock it at that moment when they looked upon their newborn daughter. I have no doubt that my sister was that for my father, but I like to think that that wasn’t the only reason; God’s gaze lingered upon her for a second longer, embodying her with added dose of wisdom, grace, and everything beautiful. He made her my soul-sister.
That photo made me smile; not only because of how apt it was that I was in her arms, but also because all three of us placed our death grips on her, while maintaining the biggest grins on our faces. She is, has always rightfully been, the center.
Happy 31st birthday; thank you for holding me in your arms, from 1991 until now.
I love you always.
“I think of you, vast as the ocean blue
Complex and vital, the serenity to my soul
You are the endless waves crashing into my shore
Constant and always present in my mind
No matter which road I travel, it will always end with you”— Amy Black & Roger H. Brightley, Unsung Ballads of Buttered Toast and Jam: A Collection of Love Poems