by Amber Gabrielle Fokno
For nine years, I was raised by a single mother. For nine years, I was an only child. However, those few years were some of the best I have lived through with my mom so far. We had our fair share of highs and lows, yet every single second with her was a step in knowledge for me. Later on, my mom met someone who I never thought I would call “dad” and I am happy to say he has supported me through everything from the day I met him. My mother no longer had to raise me on her own.
Being a nurse, my mom’s time was split between being at work and spending time with me. On her days off, her time and attention would be focused on me. From running the shower for me to providing me assistance with my homework, she would be by my side. I was unsuspecting of anything that could have possibly disrupted the personal dynamic I had going on with my mom, but there I was one day, hearing words I never thought I would.
“Amber, you’re going to be a sister,” I remember my mom’s words as they ring in my head from time to time. That was the moment I knew my “normal” was about to change. The house was going to be filled with the sound of cries, and the attention was going to shift to my sibling, but those were matters I knew I would not mind. It dawned on me that in just a few months, our home’s buzzing silence was going to be drowned out by my sibling’s loud wails. That noise meant I would soon have someone to keep me company, and I knew my mother’s divided care was going to help me grow into a more independent person.
I have been driven to excitement by countless experiences, but the elation I felt on that last day of September 2011 remains unmatched. I was in school telling anyone I could that I was finally a sister. The school day was over and everything felt so surreal. The plastic chairs dragging across the tiles as we stood up were louder than ever and the person leading the closing prayer had never been so slow. “Amen,” we said in chorus. Finally! I thought as I swung my bag onto my back and scurried out the classroom. I heard my heart beating as I ran towards our car where my lola was waiting to pick me up. We weaved through the traffic and drove immediately to the hospital.
Familiar with the hospital my sibling was born in, I hopped out of the car ahead while my lola went to park. I skipped steps as I darted to the nursery, which was on the second floor. The nursery had transparent glass panels on its walls for visitors to look through, so immediately I peeked. In front of me was my dad cradling and smiling over a beautiful baby girl. In the short amount of time I knew him, that was the happiest I ever saw him. He came closer to the window for me to see better and that was when I saw her, this ball of joy with a pink tint dusted across her cheeks. I was officially a sister to a sister.
That day, I made a promise to myself and to my sister. To myself, I promised that I would be the best role model I could be for my sister. I told myself I will always be there for her no matter what. To her, I promised that I would be a responsible ate and that I would support her and her dreams as she gets older. The first time I held my sister, I talked to her a lot. I told her about my day and how school went. I knew she could not understand me, but I was too overjoyed to care. All that mattered then was that I finally had someone to tell everything to.
Three years later, our family was blessed with another beautiful, bubbly baby girl. Along with her came more responsibilities for me at home, but I saw these responsibilities as a learning experience. I will forever be grateful for learning to be more tolerant towards them and other people. A big part of my maturity level is also thanks to them, as I spend endless hours being a positive role model to them, which requires a lot of sacrifices on my part for the sake of their own good and development.
My sister recently turned six years old and the other one is about to turn 10. Seeing them grow each year has been astounding to me. It was not too long ago that I would lay by their side in bed to make sure they would not fall off, and now here I am watching them grow to be much more independent than I was at their ages.
Being blessed with sisters has given me so much responsibility and opportunities, and for that I am grateful. It was through this experience that I learned to cradle a baby, and change a diaper; but most importantly, it helped me develop a certain patience and love that could only be felt by a sister. My mother has given me the purest love and care I have ever felt, and as her child, this is the same love I promise my sisters will ceaselessly receive from me.