I have this vague memory of a playground experience which I’ll never forget. I was a kid then, under 10 years old. And I was just hanging out at the playground in my neighborhood with my sister. It’s something we used to enjoy doing in the evenings – after the sun wasn’t so hot and before the it set. We would have fun running around, playing on the swings and slides, working up a sweat before we headed back home for dinner.
Usually there would be other kids in the playground as well, playing amongst themselves. But there was one time where a bunch of kids came over to play with me – or so I thought. I can’t remember what happened or what I did to instigate them, but they came over to me and wanted to pick a fight. I don’t recall what words were exchanged, but before any baby teeth could be spilt and lips split – my elder sister intervened.
She stepped in between me and the group of boys and I think she might have had a stick in her hand (though that could have been the kids in the playground – my memory is hazy). But whatever it was, or she did or said, she got them to back off and leave me alone. That evening was cut short and I followed her closely as we left the playground to walk back home.
Till this day, I’ll never forget that moment. Scared, little-me looking up to his sister for being so brave. For rescuing me from a bunch of savages. It felt great to be taken care of.
Thanks sis. I know that my nephew is going to grow up with the best mom he could ever have.
Fast forward to many years after the playground incident – my little sister had a chance to go overseas for a student exchange trip. However, she had to submit an essay in order to be selected.
My little sister really wanted to go, but she was stumped with the essay (I’m not sure if she was truly stumped or just lazy) so she turned to me for help. At first I was reluctant. I mean, technically – it would be cheating, right? She tried her best to convince me. And so, like any other person who loved writing as a hobby (or a nicer older brother) would, I decided to help her out with it.
I’m not sure if she submitted what I wrote verbatim but a few weeks later when the selected students were announced, she was one of them. She was ecstatic. And she was thankful.
I remember when I found out she was selected; I was feeling just as happy as her. In the past, I had entered slogan writing contests but never had any prizes to show for them. Not that day. I had vicariously won myself a trip to a foreign country by writing an essay. It felt good!
I know I didn’t fend off any bullies in a playground but I felt that I had lived up to the role of being an older brother. Now, my little sister is all grown up and independent. She doesn’t need my help writing essays to win trips. She’s smart enough to do everything on her own. Heck, she’s even moved out from my dad’s place in The States.
But maybe one day, just one day, she might need the help of her brother again – and I’ll be there at the drop of a hat. This time, she won’t need to do much convincing. And maybe one day, I’ll take some badminton lessons from her (yes, she’s still really good at it).
Being a middle child is like having the best of both worlds. I got to be taken care of by my elder sister and I got to take care of my little sister. Thank you, mom and dad for giving me two wonderful siblings to sandwich my growth. <3
Inspired by a story I heard on the RISK! podcast (the story name and episode number eludes me at the moment but I’ll link it when I find it)