My Sister’s Journey of Babysitting Me

A Sacrifice of a Sister (A True-to-life Story)

This story was narrated to me when I was around 7 years old. The time I could better understand who I was when I was a toddler- the most trying time for me and my sister.
“Help! Manang Oding collapsed!” This was the screeched of terror that had echoed our neighborhood, She was the only witness of my mom’s struggle for life.  My mother just suddenly collapsed, lost her consciousness and eventually died. This happened last September 7, 1982, around 5:30 pm, two days after my father’s 33rd birthday. I was just two years old at that time. My mother died in the arms of our neighbors. My father and my siblings were in the nearby town. They were delivering some farm products my father had bought from the farmers in our small barangay.  Edilberto, my brother, was 13 years old and my sister, Melecia, was 12.
The sudden death of my mother opened the door of bitter suffering my sister needed to go through to keep me. The beginning of the whirlwind journey of being my baby sitter. The day began, with everyone in a gleeful spirit as my siblings and my father started their way to deliver the goods to the nearby town. That was the best part of my siblings’ life growing up. The best time to eat some candies as a reward for helping carry a chicken or watch the lazy and fat pig make its way to the town. While my siblings were out with my father I was in the care of my mother and maternal grandmother in the home. Those were the times where no modern types of machinery were used in the farm. The people used traditional stone mills to ground the corn for food. I don’t know how it worked but I just saw some people would hold the handle of that mill and push hard on the handle in a counterclockwise direction. For sure it was a hard, and difficult work.

My mother did the milling that day while I was in my grandmother’s care. When the milling was over she went straight to a small store bought and drank a can of soft drink to satisfy her thirst, got me from my grandmother’s arms, and brought me home. When my mother had just walked around 50 meters, a shout of terror was heard.  People nearby came rushing toward us. They did their best to revive my mom’s lifeless body. While they were doing their best to revive my mom, I was also busy trying to protect my mom and bit every single person close to her body. I never had an explanation of those actions I did. My behavior forced the rescuers to stop reviving my mom. A 2-year old guarding her mom it was impossible to imagine. Many times I had blamed my behavior that time for my mother’s death. How come nobody stopped or even bravely got me for them to continue reviving my mom. This remained a mystery to me until today. I just thought I was really that stupid and stubborn as a mule.
That day had changed our lives forever. It was that day we experienced the bitterness of life. When my father and my siblings arrived, instead of joy, there was extreme pain ruling everyone’s heart. They came near the lifeless body of my beloved mother, cold as ice. The wailing was unexplainable, the grief was unbearable in the darkest shadow of our sorrow. That was the beginning of somewhat the hardest and most painful picture of our life’s history.   My sister, 10 years older, became my instant babysitter. She was grade six when she accepted her new role. For six years, this was her routine. The morning routine included getting up so early in the morning to cook, bathe me and prepare herself for school. While eating breakfast she would also feed me as well. Her school bag included not just school supplies but also my milk bottles. She never had neglected to bring a pot of hot water for my milk. When these things are prepared she would carry me in her arms and walk straight to school. My brother did some assistance but it was my sister’s main responsibility. I could not imagine how she managed to be a babysitter and at the same time, a second top student in her class with my brother as the top 1. She and my brother were classmates. According to her, she wanted to quit schooling and be a full-time babysitter but her teachers didn’t allow her. Instead, they helped her babysit me especially during my tantrums. She prepared my milk while listening to her teachers, got me sit on her lap and I sometimes slept in her chair. She didn’t have time to socialize herself. No time to play with friends and classmates because she said I would easily get jealous. I would threw out stones to anybody who would get near at her. Looking back, my sister and I could not even imagine how she was able to manage me. For many people to testify, I was the most difficult child to handle. I would just cry for many hours without any reasons. I believe I made my sister’s teenage years really miserable having me to take care.   One night when all our neighbors were sound asleep, and was quiet as a mouse, I screamed so loud and demanded my sister to wash my favorite shoes using drinking water. Drinking water at that time was so precious. Every drop of it was as precious as gold. They needed to climb up some steep hills on a slippery dirt path. My request did not make sense but just to put a stop on my tantrums my sister obeyed my request. With my terrible discontent I added to wipe the shoes to dry with my white blanket. It was so horrible of me but my sister had the million dollar worth of patience. 

 

Another incident marked my terribly annoying behaviors was when I got infected with scabies. This is a skin disease common to children that will fill your skin with all the tiny blisters. These blisters got really very itchy and eventually became wounds. My sister patiently washed me with boiled guava leaves and applied some mashed penicillin on every wound. My wounds were almost healed when I had another tantrum. I just screamed and cried so loud and threatened my sister by saying in our Cebuano dialect, “Paksion ko ni ang kugan sa akong samad ron.”, which meant, “I will tear the scab of my wound now.” My sister became impatient and did not expect that I would to it and harm myself and so she just blurted out, “Hala? Paksi ah”, “ok,  go ahead, do it!” and with that very strong spirit of rebellion inside me, I did what I told her. My wounds started to bleed and again my sister took my legs and dressed it again just like nothing happened. I was known in our barangay as being “palahilak”, a whiner, a crybaby and unpleasant toddler. These weren’t really lovely description of me growing up but it was the reality.
Just after a year of my mother’s passing away, my father met another beautiful creature. He adored her so much and eventually married her. She was also a widow with 4 children from her first husband. So, another 5-people added to my family. It was a big adjustment for all of us, especially to my sister. She had additional plates to wash, additional laundry to do and not only that, and additional baby to take care. My stepmother gave birth to my half-sister a year after their marriage and another sister followed. The family got bigger with 9 children and 2 adults in the house.
She missed the opportunity pursuing a professional career.  My father stopped her from achieving her dreams to finish schooling. She stopped after finishing her elementary. If only she had the chance, I believe with all my heart that she could be now a very effective teacher. She was a bright student.  Her passion towards small children ace them all. My dear sister continued taking care of us until she was 18 years old.

Life with having a second family was not that easy and happy. We experienced so many bitter nights wishing for our real mother to be around. Our father became so fascinated with his new family that I and my siblings were left out and our needs to go to school was neglected. So, my sister and my brother decided to go to our aunts in Davao City and a year after, I also followed them. We became working students but fate was unfavorable to them. They were on their second-year high school when my brother got so sick that my sister decided to stop schooling and worked full time to meet our needs. Not long, she met the man of her dreams and she decided to get married.
My sister did not stop taking care of me even though she already had a family of her own. She continued monitoring, guiding, giving me an allowance, and showing me with her sisterly and motherly love. She’s the person I think of when I am sad and lonely.
Now, I have my own family. I get to experience managing my own children. Having finished college I am now a teacher. A teacher that I could never become if my sister did not do her best to take care of me. A teacher I could never become without the selfless devotion of my sister for me. A mother I could just be dreaming of without the Godly examples she had set before me. A family I could never have without the family I had with my sister. My sister is an angel, a hero, a comfort, a provider, and a mother to me. I am feeling more than grateful for all her sacrifices, unconditional love, and concerns toward the unruly, stubborn, and hot-tempered me. 

 

Medz Cardeinte writes from Thailand

Write a comment

Comments: 21
  • #1

    Emily A.S. (Wednesday, 26 June 2024 01:01)

    What a precious real love from a big sister.

  • #2

    James ohuru (Wednesday, 26 June 2024 04:30)

    Thanks �

  • #3

    Joel Winau (Wednesday, 26 June 2024 04:31)

    How could I help?

  • #4

    Nyuot (Wednesday, 26 June 2024 04:38)

    Love that is lead by Jesus

  • #5

    Darlene Memafu (Wednesday, 26 June 2024 04:40)

    God bless your sister. What a beautiful woman.

  • #6

    Prisca (Wednesday, 26 June 2024 04:52)

    I wish I have same support from my siblings when our mom passed on,but here I am still struggling to find my way out of poverty

  • #7

    Norah (Wednesday, 26 June 2024 05:09)

    She had the live of Jesus Christ

  • #8

    Onyinyechi Chimezie (Wednesday, 26 June 2024 05:15)

    What a life touching story. Your sister is a rare gem, may God continue to keep all of you alive in Jesus name amen

  • #9

    Phylis (Wednesday, 26 June 2024 06:40)

    Love in action indeed.

  • #10

    Patricia (Wednesday, 26 June 2024 09:11)

    God bless your sister. She's a true Christian.

  • #11

    Freeman Sunga (Wednesday, 26 June 2024 09:11)

    A wonderful lesson my sister

  • #12

    NANCY CHEMUTAI (Wednesday, 26 June 2024 09:39)

    God bless your sister and her family abundantly. Indeed she is a heroin.

  • #13

    Cassandra Haughton-Clarke (Wednesday, 26 June 2024 10:56)

    Your sister is a true character of what a child of God should be like.

    I trust she will still be able to finish her education.

  • #14

    Narcisa (Wednesday, 26 June 2024 17:21)

    GOD bless your family

  • #15

    Erick (Wednesday, 26 June 2024 21:40)

    Praise God,what blessing to be.

  • #16

    Edwina (Wednesday, 26 June 2024 22:53)

    A very nice story,I really admired how your sister sacrificed too much for you.May God's abundant blessings pour out hundred folds on her..
    Thank you for sharing your spiring story..

  • #17

    Tau M (Friday, 28 June 2024 03:00)

    A very intriguing story which touched my heart in all its depth. May your sister be forever blessed

  • #18

    Thea Swart (Saturday, 29 June 2024 07:07)

    Dear Mrs Cardeinte, I enjoyed reading your testimony. Like you I have an older sister who took care of me when I needed a mother. She is still my hero, and I thank God for giving her to me.
    God bless.

  • #19

    Esther (Saturday, 29 June 2024 23:22)

    God bless your sister. She has Christ's heart of love and sacrifice. That's a good lesson to other siblings. Be your brother's keeper.

  • #20

    Joy (Monday, 01 July 2024 12:47)

    What a wonderful, real life, love story that knows no bound. ❤️

  • #21

    Ruth (Tuesday, 02 July 2024 01:11)

    God blessyour Angel Sister!