When I was a child, I used to suck my fingers. I stopped when I was twelve, after my cousin almost ousted me to a whole dormitory of students in school one night. Anyway, growing up “stop sucking your fingers!” and “get you fingers out of your mouth!” were phrases that were quite often thrown my way. One random morning, we had just cleared breakfast, and everybody had left to start their day. I think it was a Saturday because I remember not having to go to school. I turned on the TV and there was a Charles Dickens movie on. My sister, Wanjiku, cleared the table and headed to the kitchen to do the dishes. I waited a few minutes to make no one was coming back in for anything so they wouldn’t catch me sucking my fingers. Just as I started to bring my fingers toward my mouth, I heard my sister yell, “Stop sucking your fingers!” I looked up, startled, but she wasn’t even in the room!
On a completely different day, not sure if it was before or after the finger sucking incident, I was having an argument with my brothers. As the youngest of five children, I was used to getting my way, especially when my parents were at home. But sometimes, my brothers would gang up against me. On this particular day, it was about what we were watching on TV. I used to love the show “Sunset Beach.” Mostly because of Eddie Cibrian and his dimples. He played a character who was cheating on his girlfriend with her mom and her grandmother. Honestly, I don’t know how I was even allowed to watch that show. I watched re-runs that aired everyday around 2 PM. On this day, however, my brothers wanted to watch something else. My sister heard the commotion and decided she had to rescue me. She had a friend who lived nearby, so she took me to his place and I asked if I could watch my show there.
I love these two memories of my childhood relating to my sister because they give a good glimpse into what our relationship is like. When people meet us, or see pictures of us, they say we look like twins. Which is funny since she is nine years older than me. I think it’s more than just the resemblance though. I feel like my sister and I are alike in more ways as well. Sometimes, I feel like she’s the only person who looks at the world through the same lens as me. I guess much of that has to do with the fact that we were raised in the same household but it’s difficult not to notice. Aside from the similarities, I know that she will always have my back against the boys, and against the world. To this day, she still protects me fiercely, even though I am a full-fledged adult, capable of fending for myself.
I don’t think I would be doing our relationship justice if I failed to mention my nephew and nieces. I only call them that in an official capacity though. In my mind, they are my children. My youngest niece is 11 years old now, but I still refer to all of them as my babies. It is wonderful to see how much she loves them and they love her. She rarely goes anywhere without them. I haven’t been there for much of their growing up these last few years, but when I do see them, it’s not difficult to spot her influence on the people they are.
One of the things that really stands out to me about my sister is her strength. She is, quite literally, the strongest woman I know. I hope that as I grow older, I can be as strong as her.