SOMEONE said “I smile because I am your sister; I laugh because there is nothing you can do about it”

We have seen siblings stick together as glue, and we have seen siblings bring each other to court because matters cannot be decided within the family. There were celebrated cases where spouses and children of siblings have become instrumental in bitter fights among siblings. In the Philippines, we have political dynasties and the people just allow them to happen for they vote for them. The Dutertes, the Pacqiaos, the Singsons, the Buluts, Binays and more than we can fill this page and at the same time we have political rivals in families like Dominguez, Ortega and more specially in the South.

We are eight siblings in the family and its been fun growing up together in Old Lucban Valley.

We shared memories like going to school in Lucban Elementary School, climbing hills like Aurora Hills, uma and mushroom picking in Quirino Hills, swimming rivers like Parapad and planting tongsoy in Balili River. Then we went to Easter School and continued to explore Guisad Valley and beyond. We had normal sibling altercations but at the end of the day we were best friends. I remember when Lolo Juan was with us, we would sometimes pull out all our beddings and camp out in the living room. When we wake up in the morning, we would already find him sitting in his favorite chair.

Am trying to recapture memories because as they are fading away. We age with our own families and grandchildren and the closeness we shared as siblings will never be repeated. Ingrained prejudices and beliefs, power play and age itself have become excuses in uttering words that cut wounds in the heart. There are now differing opinions and affiliations as to religious sect, political views, cultural orientation, health, parenting and many more. These have become factors in push and pull relations as siblings.

As I grow nearer to becoming a senior citizen my temperaments take different forms. I found that I am more impatient with matters of nonsense display of behavior, in short, drama. I try to resist entertaining unreasonable demands on my time and attention, avoid stress and conflict. I have become more patient with common day talk and treasure moments of togetherness and times of solitude. Daily, I pursue the peace and quiet in the LORD’s presence that gives strength and meaning. It is togetherness with my husband that seems never enough. It’s finding time to be with friends that still needs more effort. It is travelling with siblings and the bigger family that needs to be desired, scheduled and done.

As I look back, this is in contrast to previous years of my burst of hurricane like energy in the far flung areas for community work, teaching in classroom, speaking in auditoriums and church, and in street parliament. Awareness comes that body is taking over the mind, and it matters.

Time was when battles are fought for family, friends, the needy, the suffering and the downtrodden. Younger years spent in persuading the resisting, the unknowing and the ignorant. It was absolutely commitment to teaching and training voracious minds. These has become a time of the past.

I fought battles for my brothers and sisters; they may not be aware, cognizant or appreciative. A brother, I care too much about has even considered it “managing” or maybe “pity.” There is no place of pity or managing lives when care and compassion is being extended. I remember my younger sisters coming to me crying because of their family problems. It’s always been advice and prayers that I have extended. I knew my two younger brothers have always been protective over me and I appreciate that with thanks and returning favors. Today Facebook says my quote for the year is –If you want to be strong, learn to fight alone. Maybe, that is what I can share to my siblings too, fight alone for what matters to you and the future.

With God, fear is gone and His assurance pushes rejection and misunderstanding. Without fear to say “in my veins flow the same blood as yours” and I laugh because I am your sister and there’s nothing you can do about it, and battles are fought.

I see posting of people who died, some old, some young and I have been in several wakes this January now I say a simple prayer for Rose Joy Lagyop, who we were preparing to be a dean by studying in Norway, but she is now in a better place with the Creator. May souls of the departed rest in peace.