March 13, 2012
I’ve always believed that one of the best gifts you can give your child is a brother or sister. When you grow up with a sibling you learn about love, contempt, compassion and forgiveness. You learn how to share, how to compromise and how to compete. Your sibling is your only friend who has known you nearly your entire life. You love the same parents and are influenced by the same upbringing.
My younger sister, Christine, turned 30 this past weekend. While she is third in the Kang children line, she is the middle child amongst us girls. Stereotypically she fits the perfect mold of a middle child. She is the peacemaker of the family. She doesn’t create too much drama nor does she experience heavy altercations with other people. She’s a listener and often provides sound advice. As a registered nurse, business owner and mother of 3 children and 1 stepdaughter, her days are often packed with work, driving and extracurricular activities. Regardless of her stress, she always picks up her phone. She always listens to my stress. And because of her unconditional support and love, I decided to make an impromptu trip to celebrate her birthday in Vegas.
While I flew to Vegas to celebrate Christine’s birth, I also went to reconnect with my youngest sister, Angel. While I love Christine, in our youth, she was often independent and unloving. To this day I would jokingly remind her of when we all attended the same high school and Christine would always walk ten steps ahead of us and never say bye. Her solemn personality didn’t match mine as well as Angel’s vivacious persona did. When Angel was little, she had a toothy grin you could see a mile away. She was the tomboy, the baby and the ‘little Maria’. She was the first person to play with me and the last person helping when I cleaned the house. She always valued loyalty, respect and family.
Knowing what I treasured about my sisters then and now, is what carries me to be more open-hearted about what they do that hurts me today. There are days I struggle to maintain composure in a five minute conversation. Some days I look at myself and contemplate an ugliness they happily revealed. Regardless of the daily disdain and damage, I know that in the end, we are blood.
We are sisters until the end.
I based my decision to have children close in age by my special experience growing up in a family of four children close in age. I see replays of my youth when I watch my sons play, fight, argue and make up. I know they will grow together and also grow apart. However, despite the distance, I know they will unconditionally love and care for each other. That unconditional love will stay with them even as my husband and I die one day.
When my mother gave birth to my sister Christine exactly 30 years ago they gave me gift. A year later, they gave me another gift named Angel. I don’t know who I would be without having played with them as kids….cried with them as teenagers…or even fought with them as adults.
Love requires continuous work – and nothing manifests that truth more than your relationship with your sibling.