I'm blessed with not 1, not 2, but 5 brothers - all with different personalities. They are my low maintenance best buds and soul mates. And being the third of six children gave me the benefits of having older and younger brothers.
"You don't chose your family. They are God's gift to you, as you are to them." ~ Desmond Tutu.
Filipinos prefix their siblings' names with "Kuya" for older brother and "Ate" for older sister.
My brothers and I are protective of one another. One of our missions in life is that we make sure that all of us are happy -- in their career, business, family and relationships. We support each other's dreams, criticize if needed, and provide plenty of positive reinforcements!
I remember growing up and my brothers all had comments as far as clothing and make-ups were concerned.
They made sure that I dressed up appropriately. And whenever I experimented on putting on eye make-up, they made sure to tell me that it's not appropriate for teens to wear one.
"Natural beauty is far more stunning!" they commented.
And prospective boyfriends ( or as Filipinos call mangliligaw ), they never stood a chance. NO boyfriends - that was the unwritten policy!
Now that I'm approaching my 50's (I'll be 48 on the 11th) , a mother to 4 of their niece and nephews (pamangkins) and just recently published the book, they are all very supportive and proud of what I've become.
My brothers and I were able to be together this past 2 weeks to say good-bye to our grandma. And it was a gift being together! We even got a chance to ride the motorcycle to StarBucks! We laughed, shared stories, reminisced --- just like we were decades ago!
We were together in the Philippines for my mom - and for the first time since 1997, we were able to celebrate her 69th birthday -- all in one roof!
Our Dad, who had been very ill the past 2 weeks, seemed stronger than ever when we were together. I guess we were his medicine.
Siblings, I believe are God's way of creating similar yet different versions of us. It's a special relationship whose connection lasts forever. As brothers and sisters, we always think of each other the same way as we always have. We know each other's dreams, feelings, way of thinking and what's in our hearts. We never grow old, as far as brothers and sisters are concerned. We'll always be who we are.
My family's been through a lot! We have been living apart -- separate continents, because of a challenging and broken U.S. Immigration policies. We may not have the material wealth or the luxury of being together in one continent, but we are blessed with unconditional love for one another!
Any hurdle can be overcome when family is by your side..." ~ Out of Status, but not out of courage.