We are who we are

by Evans Yonson

Cagayan de Oro – I love talking about my family here. I am close to my siblings who have their own families now. Just writing about them takes me forever. I could talk lengthily and describe each one of them when we were younger and growing up under the care of my dear mother. Our father was away most of our younger days. He only became a permanent fixture when we got older and his permanence was no longer a necessary presence. We have already been formed attentively when he was away. But it doesn’t mean that we loved him less. We knew his reasons for being away. And we understood everything then and we appreciate them now even more.

What makes us tick as siblings? Who are we really? Do we define ourselves as others see us? Or are we a unique bunch of distinctive individuals who share a common personality?

My father was a traveller himself. My mom was more of a homebody but she became a traveller herself towards the last years of life. All of us have travelled and lived abroad at sometime in our lives. My two older brothers are seafarers. They have sailed the seven seas and have kissed the earth of the six continents. My younger brother has lived a couple of years in the land down under. My only sister has walked the Buddhist temples of Thailand. We have seen and marveled at Mount Mayon in Bicol. We have walked the cold and lively streets of Baguio. Our individual sojourns make us unique and it enriches our lengthy conversations of the places that we have been to and the education we learned along the way.

We click because we are unique individuals. My brothers are all happily married. Their relationships with their spouses have been through the usual ups and downs of any partnership. I respect and love their wives. My sister has had her share of marital life but sadly had to end it. I have had relationships before but it’s simply not me. We tick because we talk openly and honestly infront of each other. We listen to each other. We argue. We have had our share of physical punches and verbal tirades. But we always end up the best of siblings. We are just being humans when we let out hurting words and expletives. But a simple “I love you” turns everything into roses all over again.

We take care of each other. We support each other. We carry each other’s burden when the load is already heavy. We send each other emails. We call each other wherever we may be in this world. If only there is a direct line in the other side, then we would always call our parents on a daily basis.

We care about others so much. But we don’t care about what they think of us. Our mother always taught us whatever we do in life, we always make sure that we don’t hurt others’ feelings. That we should never belittle anyone. Never look down on others. Never take on the weakness on others. Respect that you get respect in return. Give but never expect anything in return. Give respect and if they don’t give you anything in return then they are not worthy of that in the first place.

We respect our own personality and individuality. When I introduce someone to my family, they treat him with respect. What do we all get in return? All the love. I need not count the many good and best friends that have come to our lives that no matter the distance and time have separated we still maintain good relationships with them.

I would never trade my siblings for the world. I would love to have more siblings but I could never have the whole world to myself. My siblings are distinct. They are one-of-a-kind. I love them unconditionally and whole-heartedly without any doubt. No matter how people try to break us apart, they never succeed. Many did try but they all failed. And it’s the least of our worries.

We continue to walk in this world without treading on others. Because on the grounds that we walk on, each step is carefully considered valuable and honorable.

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