Today, Aug 5th is my baby sister's birthday.
Instead of imagining her as her present adult self, I always have this image of her chubby baby face, literally as a cute toddler in my mind whenever I think of her.
I guess this is almost as close to the 'my child will always be my baby' mentality, only I am in the elder sister's role.
My sis and I have a funny relationship. We did not really 'click' until our age gap became closer, yeah right, as if we could change the year we were born.
What I mean is: When I was talking about boys, she was still talking about dolls. Then when I entered uni, she was still in school. Then I started to work, and she was still in school. Then I got my Masters, she only entered uni. Then I got married, she was still single and still in uni. You get the drift.
It wasn't until after I get married, and she started working herself, and then she got herself a guy and started a decent relationship, that we started to really click.
Before that it was more of a one-way-spoiling relationship.
I love spoiling her with gifts. Oh, she does give me gifts as well, more so now that she's working (and after me 'complaining' it has been mostly one-way and it's high time she reciprocate accordingly now that she's working as well!)
Heck, the first present I could recall her giving me was from a thrift shop - a cute plushie mobile phone holder, she was in uni when she gave me that birthday present. Then... nada. Cards don't count. hahaha. Okay, I am not gonna record all the presents or non-presents from my sister, I am more magnanimous than that! My point is, I love showering my sister with gifts! There was one year I gave her a gift every single month leading to her birthday. Small gifts, just because.
I repeat, I love showering my sister with gifts! Once, I recalled it was the year I was getting married and our extended family came down to follow the bride during the 'actual' day reception at the groom's side - in Chinese weddings, the groom's side is considered the tradition/ceremonial and the penultimate 'recognition' a couple gets to be recognised as a socially-recognised-married couple. I digress.
That year was 2007. We have a younger girl cousin who is the youngest daughter of my aunt. Oh, if that was the incident, it should be a year before my wedding. In December 2006 or was it 2005, my aunt's family visited us and we went shopping. As usual, being females, we shopped for shoes and clothes. Then, just when I was paying at the counter, my sister casually inserted a few items of her own and told me she wanted them, I agreed to pay for them without any resistence, then she added a few more items she fancied and I did not react negatively at all. Then our cousin Samantha reacted, she exclaimed loudly: "Ah ney hor eh!!! So good!!! My elder brothers never bought anything for me so willingly!" My sister smiled sheepishly and I didn't think much about it but I felt good as I made my sister feel good about it too.
Then when I got married, naturally, my sister became my bridesmaid. Erm... Maid of Honour. As per the customs, if we are to follow tradition, the bride and the groom are supposed to bestow gifts and tokens of appreciation to the Maid of Honour. In Chinese customs, we have a very practical gift, a traditional practice of giving 'red packets' or 'red envelopes' or "Hong Bao or Angpow" with money (usually notes and not coins) inside as a form of 'blessings'. Consider it similar to gift vouchers in the Western culture.
As per my habit with my only sister, I gave her not only a token of appreciation in a red packet WITH MONEY, of course, a pair of yellow gold earrings studs in heart-shape with diamond studs (not sure if I am making sense here), and many other smaller gifts.
She kept complaning she was very tired, having to manage so many things during my two wedding receptions, and I didn't think much about that and gave her more gifts to shut her up anyway.
It was a few months later when her best friend Alicia came for a sleepover where the Maid of Honour tokens of appreciation cropped up in our conversation that my sister shut her friend up immediately when Alicia said: "But you have so many things from your sister! When I was the maid of honour for my elder sister, I got so little...." she was cut short. My sister didn't want me to know that I over-gifted her... hahaha, sis, even if you didn't stop Alicia, I won't ask for the gifts back, I gave them to you because I wanted you to have them in the first place!
Everytime I returned from any overseas trip, I would buy something for my sister. Her collection of plushies (soft toys) from me are uncountable! I even exchange 'stamps' to redeem for cute plushies and thought of her when I shop to get more stamps.
As we share almost the same dress/top size, I know how to shop for her and I remember the first top I bought her was during my first job - I was a reporter and I went to Langkawi island in my first month of starting my job. I bought two shirts - a cream and a pink one and she still wears them till today - I have been working for 10 years up to 2012, so that's how old those shirts are today!
Since then, I have bought dresses, gowns, evening gowns, maxi dresses, blouse and tops or T-Shirts for no special reason, or on special occassion or just because for my little sister. When I got my first VS brassiere from the US, I knew her size and let her try on my whole selection (shopping loot) and let her choose two from the loot. FOR FREE! VS = Victoria's Secret for those uninitiated. We don't have VS over here in our country so it was a real treat!
Okay, this is becoming a journal to chronicle my gifts to my sister!!!
You are my only sister, my only birth sister anyway, and I love you dearly. If those gifts are not enough to represent my love for you, then there is still another half a lifetime (provided I live to my 60s) to make it up to you.
Happy Birthday, Wei (Abby), do know that no matter what happens you have an elder sister you can count on, no matter how sarcastic my remarks are, know that deep down, I really care and will always love you as my baby sister.
Love, Jie (Jie - pronounced jeeyay is Chinese Mandarin word for elder sis)