|The brothers Lago then|
I have two brothers. They are my only siblings. Two tall, messy, sometimes stinky, unaffectionate boys who tease me and tower over me and eat all the cookies and forget to lift the toilet seat in the mornings and leave our shared bathroom in an overpowering cloud of aftershave and Axe or something more foul-smelling, depending on the purpose for which they used it.
That is all I get.
As a little girl and even through high school, I bewailed the fact that I didn't have a sister. I was secretly jealous of my friends who had ates and little sisters. I wanted what they had: someone to borrow clothes from, practice make-up on, share secrets with, talk to unabashedly about girly issues like periods and bras...
Growing up in between two boys was a strange thing. I guess it breeded in me the feeling of never fitting in, never belonging. By our very biology, I was the odd one out among my siblings, and I reacted to it by emphasizing the difference. I donned the itchy dresses and wanted everything in pink and begged for Barbies and put ribbons in my hair like the annoyingly girly little brat I was almost as if I felt obligated to. At the same time, it always made me feel rather awkward and self-conscious, as though people might find out I was being an exaggerated version of myself .
|The brothers Lago now|
Mom always told me that I was lucky though, that I was the only girl. I got my own room, and didn't have to share my toys or my clothes. My friends told me I was lucky too -- no one to compete with or be compared to. But at 7 years old and 12, and 16, I wouldn't have it.
I imagined how amazing and colorful life would be if one or both of them had been girls. I imagined we'd all go shopping together, and borrow each other's dresses, and do each other's hair. And we'd share notes and go to school together and hate on the same girls and be plagued by the same schoolyard issues.
I imagined we'd talk in to the night about this thing or that, unlike my brothers who don't like talking or sharing secrets. I imagined we'd accompany each other to the salon before prom or grad ball. I imagined wherever we walked, we'd walk abreast, and rays of sunlight would come down upon us and people would look at us and say, "look at the Lago sisters." I also imagined that the bathroom would be much cleaner, and sweeter smelling.
But somewhere in the middle of my sisterhood fantasies, I realized that as lovely and perfect as my imagined sisters would be, they wouldn't be my brothers. They could be girl versions of my brothers, but they wouldn't be my brothers exactly. (That said, I wouldn't be me either, because part of who I am was shaped and formed because of the fact that I grew up in between two boys.)
As soon as I realized this, I decided, I wouldn't have it.
I'd take my brothers over any alternate-reality or even reality-reality sisters any day, even if it means choking on men's perfume smell every Sunday morning.
So now, for the "appreciation" bit.
This should be easy to say to my baby brother as I have made it my personal mission in life to be his annoyingly affectionate stage ate at all times until the end of time, so here it is baby bro, i appreciate the fact that you are my brother, and Ate Loves You!!!! kiss kiss hug hug
Now for my kuya, with whom I have a no-affection policy, salamat and I L*ve y*u.
And to the two of you, you both have to appreciate each other also. Go, appreciate.