My baby’s grown up.

No, I do not have a love child. Not that there’s anything wrong with that. Plus, the baby-crazy lady in me wouldn’t really complain about that. In fact, I get giddy at the thought of it. Or not. Not ready. Maybe in a few years.  Ha-ha.

ANYWAY!!!!

I’m talking about my not-so-baby sister, Bettina. A few days back, she asked me if my brother and I could write her high school write-up. While I do love to write and while words come spewing out of me most of the time, I do have some difficulty creating write-ups. It’s the pressure to compress everything into that stupid 250-word limit. (Eh kung marami akong gustong sabihin, eh di paano?? Ha-ha).

Look at how tiny she is here! The cutest little cheerleader ever. Nagdadasal pa o!

Add to that, there was the pressure of coming up with something brilliantly reflective of the person to be discussed. How was I supposed to talk about my baby sister? That is, without sounding too much like a doting mother, amazed at every little step her baby takes. I had 30 minutes to finish it and while it dawned on me this piece of writing would end up getting read and potentially scrutinized by everyone (Think girls snickering and saying “Oh my God, who wrote this? Blah di blah di blah. Tssss…whatever. blah di blah di blah”), I simply told myself, “To hell with that. I’m writing what I want.”

Look at my baby!!!.....I'm starting to sound like a Mom.

So here’s the 250-word… (Okay fine, 274-word write-up) on my beloved baby sister—the blessing I thank God for, every single day:

“Writing this bias-free would be close to impossible. What might even be more difficult is compressing all the wonderful things I have to say about Bettina–into a 250-word essay that’s about to be immortalized into a high school write-up. Talk about pressure huh? Let me begin by saying that Bettina is my mini-me. As her sister, it would be potentially destructive to both our reputations to say that. However, it’s plain and simple fact—she’s much like me, only better. 

An incredible person who continues to surprise and inspire me with her innate maturity and patience, her determination in all things only affirms her rightful place in that beloved blue school that’s infused her with the spirit of magis. Be it leading a class or squad, prioritizing her studies, advising her older siblings, or even patiently comforting friends for hours over the phone, you won’t find a girl with that much selflessness and levelheadedness, and all at the tender age of 17.

And while her deep, hoarse and huskily sexy voice remains to be one of her defining characteristics, I’d like to believe that unique voice was created for a bigger and greater purpose- — Bettina’s voice was created to be noticed, to be heard and to inspire change.

I only have pride and love in my heart when I say all these things. She’s God’s greatest gift to me, as I’m sure she’s also become a wonderful gift to you. As she closes this chapter of her life, I bid her good luck and end with the line I often throw at her. ‘Go on, go ahead, don’t be afraid. Surpass me.’

With my babycakes

Ate loves you a whole lot, babycakes. And while I still have to pinch myself sometimes when I look at you (sometimes when you’re sleeping. Freaky noh? Ha-ha), I just wanted to let you know that I’m so proud of you and God could not have sent me a better gift. Thank you for being the punching bag to my tantrums, the sounding board to my rants, the mirror to my ugly face, and the sister no one can ever replace. Don’t grow up too fast? Sige ka, I’ll get married and leave you na. Ha-ha I’m kidding. See you later, ugly-lator.

Love,

Ate.

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