i look at our family now and try to remember the last time we even resembled a "typical" family -- one that, for instance, gathers together for dinner and hearty conversations at the end of the day. or one that we can go home to for cheers and support everytime life gets a tad too harsh.
i remember the first one: for a few years during my elementary days, we were together like that -- waiting for everyone to be home so we can have dinner together. it started when my parents decided to live together in aklan. prior to that, i was living with my mother in manila, my sister was with my father in batangas, and my brother was with my grandparents in aklan.
we grew up hardly knowing that we have siblings. the pictures of us together as infants meant so little to me. in short, back then, all i know was that whoever these kids are, i must call the girl "ate" (big sister) and the boy "manong" (big brother). other than that, they mean nothing to me.
and so all hell broke lose when we were united in 1981.
i was 6 years old, my sister 8, and my brother 9. in those young, impressionistic age, we finally got to meet each other. we were strangers suddenly thrust together by circumstances we can't even understand back then.
the power struggle was horrific. not a single day would pass without one of us getting hurt. my brother would assert his authority, which my sister and i simply refuse to recognize. my sister wished that she never had brothers, and even tried running away from home, while i simply could not understand why i should yield to these two kids. the fact that we don't even look alike only worsened the situation then (my brother took after our mother-side lolo, my sister our mother-side lola, and i my father).
we fought over toys, books, pens... anything and everything! we scratched, punched, kicked, and wrestled ourselves to exhaustion everytime our parents were not around.
those were horrible years, indeed. i can still see the faint scar in my right foot where my sister stabbed me with a ballpen. haha! *shudder*
but slowly, we accepted and tolerated each other. the scratching, punching, and kicking slowly lost their appeal.
and finally, we started caring for each other.
my brother fought off anyone who bullied me around at school, and my sister helped me with my assignments. i would give my brother's bicycle its regular washing and oiling, and bring home my sister's favorite fruits and give her pet dog his weekend bath.
by the time we reached highschool, we were friends. we would invite each other to our respective school's events, even if they're rivals. my brother and i made sure we get to meet all of our sister's "manliligaw" (suitors), just so we can threaten them bodily harm should they try anything stupid on her. in my lowest and darkest hours back in highschool, i remember them rushing to my aid.
we see so less of each other now, but i guess that's the natural way of things.
sigh! i miss my family...
ah! christmas season does conjure a lot of memories.