"I am large. I contain multitudes." - Walt Whitman, Leaves of Grass

Tuesday, May 19, 2009


"Look Mamai. I followed you."

"So what else is new?"

This is a recurring dialogue between me and my sister Piglet. Since we were little. And to this day it remains. This exchange took place just last Sunday night when she prepared her salad, which was a mimic of mine.

I think one of the best things to happen in my life is my parents' adoption of Piglet. In one fell swoop, my life was changed. Irrevocably and without warning.

It didn't feel so monumental that balmy afternoon when she was given to us. And for weeks on end it felt more like an intrusion. After all, I was the spoiled rotten youngest child and only daughter who always had her way. That is, till this scrawny baby came along.

It wasn't so much that loyalties shifted. Especially for Pa. He had a hard time adjusting to having another child. Never in his plans had he counted on having a fourth child. And specific plans he had. (You couldn't really blame him. He was the eldest of 12 children and he had to feed all those mouths so he became adamant that he'd only have three kids). But God had other plans. Meanwhile, Mama just took it in her usual stride. We had three yesterday. We have four now. Deal with it.

Having Piglet didn't make me less of a prima donna at home though. Mind you, I still got my way. It did however shift how I looked at things. The presence of a new sibling infuriated me a bit, sure. But it also compelled me to consider her in the whole equation. So I ended up looking after her, really. And because I am - to use my Pa's apt but painful description of me - formidable - no one touched her. No one could bully her. No one could order her around. Except for me.

Of course, things have changed now that we're older. I've realized how little I can really control her and have through the years learned to give her her space.

There are things though. Habits and traits that she's mirrored from me that I hope serves her well. Like her quiet time. She prays in the morning like I do. And reads the Bible I gave her many moons ago.

She's turned into a bit of a health freak - more so than I, I would say, what with the vitamins and the exercise.

She tries to be a reader. I tell her reading is not in the speed, it is in the savoring, so take your time. She wants to read the books I've read. It's actually quite sweet.

When God takes me, I would like to know in my heart that I've served Piglet well. That even if the role of older sister was thrust upon me and I took it up begrudgingly, I would like to have pleased God with how I did my best in that role. I pray that I have, in my own way, led her to Him. And convinced her of His love, even as I doubt it from time to time.

I don't know why but tonight I remember the many evenings Piglet and I shared sleeping in the same single bed. The moonshine bathing our faces while we gazed out the window up to the clear night sky. She would say "sing a soft song," and I would, and she would slowly drift to sleep. I would stop singing and she would awaken and ask me to lullaby her again.

Piglet is still the only one for whom I would sing on demand. What would my life be without that? What a lesser life I would've led.

Thank God for His surprises.

(Photo credit: AdamBaronphoto)


bluggerbug said...

I miss Iris even more after reading this Mai.

It's such a special and unique bond that we have with our sisters no?

Let's relish the fact that we still have "little sisters" who continue look up to us. More so, delight in the absolute truth that we still get to boss them around. :)

Piglet is indeed lucky to have you in her life!

Mayang said...

I cried while I wrote this, Ives. It's true what you said, it is a special and unique bond.

May we continue to delight in bullying them as long as we can and are able!

Seriously though, I *knew* you'd get the post. One of the many things we have in common.


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