"ATE" Duties

Bakit ikaw “A” sila letter “J”? 

I’ve answered that question many times. My mom and dad got married in a not so early age. They thought I would be their only child so my dear parents went for a name with A at the beginning and L at the end (A for Alberto and L for Lolita) preferably a character in the bible – ABIGAIL.

“Ahhhh kaya pala” sabi ng isip ninyo… (I can read minds)

So much for being an only child because after 3 years my baby brother was born and was named after the prophet Jeremiah. After 3 years again my father told us that we’re having a baby brother, again. Jeremiah was so happy that time and I am so happy too because I’ll be their UNICA HIJA, their only princess and the prettiest among the 3. Oh well for some twist of fate they went home carrying a baby girl. I never really got the chance to confront them about this. I was taught of ACCEPTANCE at a very early age of 6. Just kidding. My dad prepared the name Joshua but was changed to Jessica – Mary Jessica to be exact.

Being an “ate” was easy for me. My mom will just ask me to prepare milk, and make sure that they will not fall out of the bed (hmm…Jeremiah fell twice and Jessica fell out of the crib – once.) Honestly I was not trying to kill them it is just that I’m still a kid – watching TV and minding my own business. After a good scolding from my mommy – I changed. I took the “ate” responsibilities seriously. From then on I will put them on the middle of the bed and put pillows everywhere even on the floor. Prevention is better than palo.

Through the years brother and I fought like I am his brother. There was this one incident that we accidentally removed the bedroom door from its hinges because of our fight. Then my daddy told me over the phone “Abigail, dadating ang panahon na mawawala kami ikaw ang bahala sa mga kapatid mo tapos ganyan kayo mag away? Ano papamigay mo sila?”  I should have said, “YES!” with an S. But I didn’t. I don’t want to get busted with my future plans I always think ahead.

My brother is the shy but artistic type but he scores 1000 in the last videoke session (10 songs 100 points) and he always amazes me with his artworks. Jem is our silent protector. Jessa is half-Abi and half –Jem. She is a very fine stalker. She knows what we are doing then she’ll tell mom or dad – sumbungera.  Jessa is the heart of the family. She cares more than anyone else. She is expressive and very loving amidst all the irap and mood swings. They both know my “unleash-the-fury” and the “di-ko-kayo-matitiis” personalities. They know how hard working and how lazy I can get. They know how to hurt me and they know that they will pay for it. I know if they are tired or if they are hiding something. We have our secrets and old habits to hate. Every laugh, hug and even “kulitan” means so much.

 My love for my brother and sister grows on a daily basis specially when I came to my senses that being their “ate” is a big deal. I went to Dubai not because I want to earn more money, not because I want to get away from something or someone but because this is part of my “Ate” duties. I can influence them one-way or the other. I show them what it is about growing old, working, being in a relationship and other stuff. For some reasons, I don’t want to see them getting hurt. I want to give solutions to their every problem and I want to give them everything as long as I can.  I know that this time, pillows are not enough to protect them from a certain hurt but I can’t stop them from living their own lives. I am just here to guide them and share with them everything that is worth sharing. I will always be proud of Jem and Jessa.

Bakit ikaw “A” sila letter “J”?   Maybe that “A” is there not to tell me that my name is different but to remind me that I am Jem and Jessa’s “ATE” and I have to live the part.

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