8 years ago. I was the same vibrant, cheerful youth as my sister is. I was very excited to get a little bit older than 17. I thought that if I gain age, my whole world (the world of a 17 year old consisted of her family, friends and classmates, childhood sweetheart, foes, etc) will start to look upon me differently. And true to what I thought, my world started to change but not the way I want it to be. I was expecting that my family will give me a little bit more freedom than I usually enjoy; that my mother who is very strict (then) will finally allow me to entertain suitors, go on a date and have a boyfriend; that I could go home beyond 10p.m. without my mother raging because I'm late; that since I am officially an adult I could have my own decisions with whatever I want to do with my life; and most of all, they will stop treating me as a child and the usual pinching, occasional slapping and berating from my mother will cease. I was all wrong!
What changed? Lots of things changed. I had a curfew, I am not allowed to go out with 'barkada', I am not allowed to laugh out loud or giggle outside, in the middle of the street or whenever boys are around. Boring? Yes, but this is the life I was and still accustomed to. My younger life was spent on home cleaning, tending to my younger siblings, listening to music whole day, attending mass every Sunday, writing my journal to spill out everything, which is supposedly a secret. I told you, if you want to keep something from your family, never write it down on a diary. And studying... Despite all those strictness I don't have any resentment towards my mother because I know that with her disciplining method I've been molded to a better person that I am now.
My youngest sister had just celebrated her debut. She was the baby I look after whenever my mother was tending to other important family stuff. She was the cute girl crying whenever soap bubbles entered her eyes when I was giving her a bath. She was the small kid I was defending every time her playmates bullied her. She was the same little girl I hugged whenever she was scolded. She was my living barbie doll. I used to bring her to school and I stood, a very proud 'ate' whenever my classmates swarmed around her because she was a very sweet and adorable child. I smiled, ear to ear whenever my teacher said "ang cute naman ng sister mo" (your sister is so adorable). She was the baby of the family. Time passes by so fast that the once our baby is now all grown up, charming and beautiful. But she is still vulnerable.
Now I understand why my mother did not give me the freedom I was longing to have because of the same reason I am feeling right now towards my sister's turning point to adult life. I am afraid. I am afraid that she might do a wrong decision that would implicate her whole life. I am frightened because now, she will be more expose to harsh realities of life. And the very thing I am afraid of is seeing her fall in love with a wrong guy. I am afraid that I can no longer protect her and snatch her away from any troubles, failures and sadness she might encounter now that she has to emerge out of her comfort zone.
At her age, she already got so many suitors. And Lord knows how many fling relationship did she already have that were unknown to our mother. Once I asked about her recent 27-year old suitor. "Do you like him?" What I got was just a shrug of her shoulders combined with the words "ewan ko" (I don't know).
She could have directly said yes if she likes the guy or a simple no if not. But based on her reaction, she indirectly spelled out that she likes the guy. Plus, I can see that she is enjoying it. Being a protective sister that I am, I could not help but hope and pray she knows her boundaries and limitations and be strong enough to resists any temptations. I've been there, I've seen the curiosity in my young friends before and I know how younger people behave towards something they'd been longing to discover. I know that she too will feel it but I'm keeping my fingers crossed that she will use her head to think first before doing something she will regret for the rest of her life.
I know that each of us have our own time, our own way to discover things and our own intellect to approach things as they are. I could not tie her down and control her every decision. Trusting her and letting her discover things on her own will is also giving her every chance to know herself, to grow into a matured person, and to equip her with lessons that can only be learned from experience. There is something I can offer though, that is giving her valuable advice, guide her and be always there for her whenever she's down. She is no longer the child I used to defend. Even if she still is considered the baby of the family, I need to give her the freedom to fight her own battle. And the best advice that I could give is for her to take life one step at a time, never to hurry and savor every moment of it because she'll gonna miss this when she'd gain age.
As the song goes:
You're gonna miss this