An Open Letter to My Siblings

It’s been four years since I left Cebu. Four is quite a significant number. There are, after all, four of us – two girls and two boys; children of the same parents.

I didn’t realize that I’ve been gone that long until a few days ago when one of you celebrated her 18th birthday. I’ve also been back home a few sporadic times. And yet, we didn’t spend every minute of those times together, did we?

So I’ve missed out on a lot of moments – trivial or triumphant. I’ve been absent for Christmases, birthdays, Sunday lunches, winning performances, awesome achievements, petty arguments, and unfixable situations. The gap is now more than just geographical, isn’t it? I was surprised and am still consistently surprised at how much you’ve all changed and dare I say, grown (Our youngest brother is now taller than me!).

In attempt to somehow fill the void of space between us and to impart what I have learned so far, I am writing you this. You are free to take or leave my advice. Here goes what I am asking you to consider.

Keep yourself together. Things won’t always turn out as you planned, expected, wanted, or dreamed. Allow life to surprise you. I’ve made the mistake of thinking that plan A, when followed accordingly, will bring about corresponding result A. It doesn’t work like that. Results may range from A-Z. Do not panic when things go awry and you don’t have a plan B. I suggest that you assess the outcome. It may not be (often it’s really not) a crisis; simply a detour. Detours will teach you to be a better version of the person you’d intended to become.

Understand that every action will have a consequence. Consequences may not have equal significance at a given point but “what goes around comes around.”

Love passionately but know that the best way to be satisfied in a relationship is to first be satisfied with who you are. If you ever feel shortchanged (or even when you and your partner argue too much), it’s time to reassess your stance. Do not be afraid to be alone; you’ll be amazed at how much you will discover when you allow the universe to conspire with you. Be patient with the time it takes. It will be worth it.

Independence is not as glamorous as you think it is. You will not be so keen about survival while living under parental sustenance. I am grateful for the intangible things that Mama and Papa have taught us. Although our parents seem unreasonable (and I know you feel this more as teenagers), understand that no matter what their imperfections are, they truly want what is best for us.

Trust your intuition. Pay attention to your surroundings. In this awareness you will figure out how to adapt in your career, choices, and chances. If something “doesn’t feel right” it most likely isn’t.

Zip it when you have nothing good to say. That doesn’t mean that you will allow other people to trample upon you or your ideas. Refuse to engage in petty meanderings and pick your battles wisely. Tact is just as important as speaking your mind.

For now this is it. I could almost hear the three of you unanimously say, “You’re getting old, ate.” This accompanied by similar looking sly grins. And then we’d probably share some laughter and afternoon snacks (I still miss my banana cue.)

I want you to know that I’ve missed you (even if I don’t say it often) and that I hope you will fare well in your life’s journey.


29 thoughts on “An Open Letter to My Siblings

  1. great expressions.

    bless you and your brothers and sisters.

    glad to meet.

    inviting you to join poets rally today, submit a free verse or a poem of your choice, make poetic friends, and get recognized by your peers when you participate two or three rally weeks in a row.

    hope to see you in.

  2. What a lovely letter to your sibs. You have encapsulated a lifetime’s worth of wisdom. I know people twice your age you who have yet to recognize these truths.

  3. Love this: “Detours will teach you to be a better version of the person you’d intended to become.” I am such a planner and need to accept that I don’t have as much control as I’d like. Wise words.

    • Nice seeing you here, Jenina! I, too, am a planner. Planning helps keep things organized. Look at it from the perspective of running, we plan our training sessions and we try to stick to them but we still have bad days. And most of the time those bad days point us to a weakness/or the cause of the weakness – lack of sleep, wrong nutrition, over-training.

      Keep in touch! :)

  4. This is a beautiful post Nel
    I especially feel your words “The gap is now more than just geographical, isn’t it?” Since moving to Portugal our kids have grown up. One is now living in France where our first grandchild was born this year, and one is settled in the UK with a lovely young lady and they have just had their baby in Sept. The other a bit of a batchelor and love them and leave them sort of guy has just found the love of his life. I miss them all so much.

    I wont get to see my little grandson in the UK until after Christmas. HE is already smiling. WEbcams are OK but you can’t feel or touch them and experience the feeling that only “touch” will bring you. I am missing so much as you are with your brothers and sisters.

    Tour post is so heartfelt I am actually sitting here sobbing my heart out I feel so homesick for my family. I hide my feelings as much as I can but sometimes I read a post such as yours and it brings all my surpressed feeling flodding back along with the tears.

    We can never replace the missing moments but only make the most of here and now. (Well that is what I’m tryng to convince myself.

    Take care

    • Thank you for dropping by PiP.

      Fret not for Christmas is just around the corner and I’m sure your grandson in UK is just as excited as you (although he might not be all too aware of that yet).

      Talk soon,

  5. You are a beautifully wise sister, Nel. Your letter reminded me of my brother, who’s given me these bits of essential, subconscious knowledge at different points in his short life. Your siblings are lucky that you’re there to guide them, and to tell them in no uncertain terms that their lives are, in fact, putty in their hands.

    It took me a long while coming to this post, but it made my Sunday. Thank you.

    • I couldn’t help sharing it on Facebook, and did it without your permission! The world needs to read this.

      • Priya,

        I am honored to have made your Sunday; and even more honored that you feel that this piece is worth sharing.

        Have a good week,

  6. Loved this: “Do not be afraid to be alone; you’ll be amazed at how much you will discover when you allow the universe to conspire with you. Be patient with the time it takes. It will be worth it.”
    Very well said. I imagine hearing the ocean waves while you wrote these lines. :)
    What’s with ‘KULITZ’ by the way?

    • Thank you for dropping by, baktin.

      Whoa! You’re the first to notice. Kulitz is a derivative of “kulit”; as in makulit (closest I can think of is pesky in English). It’s what I collectively call my younger siblings – term of endearment and a joke between us four.

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