Everyone who knows my sister knows that she is a pain in my ass. An actual contrast to me, my sister is a family woman. She is a whirlwind of tardiness and unorganization. While I meticulously plan for every move I make, she crashes through life nonchalantly and with a laugh. There was a time when I couldn’t stand my sister, the one who lectured me during my bad moments. Who forced me not to cry when I had an inch-wide gash on my knee. The one that criticized what I wore, who I talked to, what I did. She felt like a pest, a judgmental sibling that I just couldn’t get rid of.
Now that I look back on those moments in my life, I realize I owe my very being to my sister. She may not have been perfect, but she was always there. When I needed advice about mean girls, when boys would break my heart, it was my sister who I would run to. On picture days, when I wanted to slay, and at school dances when I wanted to stay, she always had my back. I didn’t always like what she had to say, but it brought me comfort to hear her say it. Even when I didn’t agree, I just knew her ass was always right. As much as I hated to admit it, I looked up to my sister, my whole life.
You see, it’s not that my mom wasn’t present. No, I very much lived a loving childhood. Yet my mom was cursed with what all single mothers are cursed with: having to work long hours to provide for us. My mom did as best as she could, and although she wasn’t always available emotionally, she was the rock that we all depended on. My mother was great at being our pillar, she provided warmth and comfort when we needed her. But my sister was none of that. She was just a child when it came naturally for her to step in. When I needed a hug from my mother, my sister was there in her place. Something that I didn’t recognize as a huge burden until I grew up.
Many of us grow up with older siblings, but a mother’s love is directly passed down to older sisters. The mother figures when our moms are gone. I never understood how significant it was to have my sister, until I met people who didn’t have one. I would truly have been lost without her. She, who soothed me after my first period. Who handed me my first joint. Who mourned my first heartbreak with me. Now that I’m older, the only sad memories I have of my sister are that she might’ve also needed a hug and I was too little to give it to her. To understand what she went through and how she made it through. It was not her responsibility to be there for me, and though she might’ve been a terrible mom at 12, she was an amazing older sister.
Superheroes are defined as fictional characters, with a cape and huge muscles. My superhero was a lanky Mexican girl who didn’t know what she was doing, but still always made it happen. This same Mexican girl is now a badass businesswoman, and a mother, for real. Now, I see her with my nephews, and I’m genuinely proud. My older sister, who lived through abuse, a broken home, and secret struggles, was my superhero. She was the brave fighter who I only one day hoped to be. I watch other older sisters, from my family, to my friends, and I see the same sense of comfort, the same natural sense of guidance. It brings me back to my childhood. Moments in my life that my sister might not remember, but that I will never forget. I don’t know if I ever helped her prepare for her current role of motherhood, but I do know that I am grateful. To not only be your little sister, but at one time, your first child.