Happy Birthday Gab :)
August 12, 2011 § 6 Comments
“Siblings” is a pretty grown-up word. At that time, I was only 7 years old, and my brother, 3. One fateful day, I found myself stuck in a serious problem of having to come up with a collective noun for me and my brother. I was upset with the fact that my brother and I didn’t have the same gender as I could only think of two words to use then: “brothers” or “sisters”. There was of course the Tagalog “magkapatid” but our games were going to be played in English, much like how they do it in Sesame Street. To my brother’s fortune, I finally settled with “brothers”. Being only 3 years old, and me at the liberty of being the boss of all games and decision making, who knows what could have happened to him if I insisted on using “sisters”? It still escapes me though why I had indeed chosen “brothers” when I had more reason to choose “sisters”. Thankfully, that choice didn’t have any altering repercussions on my sexual orientation. But it was settled as “brothers” as I finally told my brother that from then on, WE were going to be brothers. Our little adventures always had a theme like “the-brothers-who-went-outerspace”, with our ultimate favorite being “the-brothers-who-are-afraid-of-the-shark” (this involved balancing ourselves while trying to push the other off the headboard of the bed and whoever fell was going to be eaten by the shark). My brother and I had too much imagination then and we played games as obscurely named as “may-Colgate-sa-panty” (which for some reason doesn’t involve anything about Colgate or panties save for the fact that we were playing it to avoid brushing our teeth downstairs) and as bizarre as making the most perfect circle of spit on the bed (my brother always wins this and my mom forbade us from playing it again when she caught us in the middle of a competition). We also had this fixation of re-enacting funny commercials we watch from TV and this was when I discovered my brother’s talent of easily memorizing lines and imitating voices. There was also the time after watching “Batman on Ice” that my brother and I decided to put on socks and rehearse routines for our “brothers on ice” that we played on our tiled floors. I swear we rehearsed actual made up routines. We spent most of our free times doing role-playing games (and I am honest enough to admit that my brother is really the creative one when it comes to making up the storyboard. He could make up whole stories filled with twists and explanations which got EVEN ME interested enough to ask questions and follow ups to his tales). The nightly staple though was building a tent on the bed using the largest blanket and stolen pegs from the clothesline. We had divisions inside for our “rooms”, with a small partition as a “bathroom”. We stocked on with our supplies of toys, books and food for the night and barricaded all the possible entry points to our fortress. Looking back, it was probably to the consternation of my parents that upon arriving home tired from work, their bed, which was where our tent was erected, was declared off-limits. My parents got tired of the tent games, and to divert our attention from pitching a tent every night, my mom made up her own game: FOG MAN. As kids, it was the best game ever. As soon as we had changed to our pyjamas, we’d busy ourselves arranging all the pillows and the blanket before my mom arrives to start the game. My mom was the “Fog Man” (notice the inconsistencies in the gender here) and my brother and I proceeded to build more modest tents to protect ourselves. No more occupying the whole bed, as we had to make our fort as compact and solid as possible. We giggled and fidgeted inside the blanket as the Fog Man tried to grab us out to “eat” us. The scariest part was when my mom groped our heads from outside the mess of pillows and blanket and we’d shout our lungs out out of excitement. Sometimes, in the middle of the game, which would go on until we weren’t sleepy yet and my dad hadn’t arrived to make us go to sleep, the Fog Man would suddenly be missing in action. We’d wander out of our hiding place (this is the time our fort has already been destroyed and we have to seek refuge under the bed or inside the closet) to find out my mom was already asleep. Innocent as we were then, we would wake the Fog Man up to continue with the hunt. Now I realize our mom was probably sleepy then, but no matter how tired she was then, the Fog Man would always wake up again and hunt us down until my dad arrives, shows no mercy and catches us from under the bed by our legs, and we were finally forced to sleep.
We no longer consider ourselves “brothers” today. I think it stopped when I finally learned the word “siblings” sometime during grade school. Using “siblings” as a replacement to our themes didn’t sound fun though, so we didn’t bother with putting titles on our games anymore. Gradually, our games and adventures became less and less, turning into more unoriginal activities such as monopoly, chess or computer games. Then the inevitable came and we had games of our own with our own set of friends.
I’m a highly sentimental person, and remembering all this always makes me sigh with so much yearning for the good ol’ days. Tomorrow, my brother is going to turn 19. Nowadays, he is busy living and discovering his own life, just as much as I am. I do understand, but there are still times that I miss those days when we were still “brothers” and we ran a roller coaster ride underneath the dining table. Even though being an older sister I may be in denial that my brother is in fact no longer a baby brother, I have to admit that my brother has grown up into his own person now. Often times, I have to step back and just watch in awe how far he has gone and how long has it been. I am no longer always the boss of the game and he he has earned his liberty to decide on his own how to live his life. Of course there are times that I insist my own thoughts and decisions on him (which would either turn to a constructive outcome or a destructive argument), but eventually I will have to let go and I will. I know he has more to learn and an even longer way to go, but I am proud of him and in my heart, we will always be “the-brothers-digging-worms-while-singing”.