Family has always been arguably the most important part of my life and indeed every life. Not because it is the accepted “norm” to value ones family highly; not because I was raised in a Christian home; and definitely not because I feel I have, or indeed believe in the existence of, the ideal family. Family is important to me because it is created, exists and is rooted in love. Love and love alone is the core of a family. As such, members don’t even have to be related by blood but by a mutual love that cannot be explained with logic.
I am reminded everyday why I love my family but every so often said reminder catches me off-guard and shakes me to my core. All that being said, this post IS indeed about a blood-relative of mine: My beautiful and amazing little sister, Chichi.
Now to put things into context, Chichi lives in the Caribbean where she studies medicine: a 14hr+ journey I cannot logistically make; wheelchair, full-time carers and all. She is rarely free to make the reverse journey due to the nature of her studies. So her visits, though short, are highly anticipated. On top of that, she once lived in the UK so also makes time to visit as many friends as possible… leaving less time for me L . Nevertheless, the joy I feel when I finally see her is undeniable. From the moment she sets foot in the door everything literally becomes more vibrant. The sounds of cheer can be heard down the street, the immediate and natural banter put’s a smile on the faces of everyone present. Before long she’s in the kitchen whipping up a quick home-cooked Nigerian meal (my family is renowned for food, both cooking and eating 😉 ). Before long my house goes from a dull, instant-noodle filled, typical single man’s place of residence… to a home. And all this before her luggage makes it to her bedroom. At this point the ear to ear smile on my face still hasn’t faded as she is still filling my ears with hilarious stories from the Caribbean and her plans for all the fun and mischief we’ll get up to during her stay, topped off with endless statements of how much she loves and misses me. But most importantly, she still dons the same cheek aching smile as me. This is what the mood in the house is like right until the day she leaves for uni.
The truth is I don’t remember a time my sister couldn’t make me smile. Before I knew what it was to be kind as a child, she was giving up her share of all manner of treats to my brother and I; she would make me proud to be me by simply asking for some advice or fearlessly asking me to drive her to a friend’s only days after receiving my license; at school she blossomed academically as I did the opposite and she still held me in high esteem even sometimes attributing her success to me; in our late teens she would insist on showing me off to her friends be it in stories as an “awesome big brother” or on Facebook as her “handsome big brother” 😉 . I was always an avid video gamer before my disability, now she is an avid gamer, insisting on playing games I like and letting me dictate her gameplay as I would have played them and would not touch them if I wasn’t available to watch and share the experience. She never thinks twice about spontaneously pampering me with gifts, food or intellectual conversation regardless of any inconvenience to her.
I don’t know if it’s clear yet but I think my sister is FREAKING AWESOME.
Her recent time with me in the UK was undeniably one of the happiest periods of existence in recent time. Not just because she was her usual remarkable self but I got the opportunity to make her smile the way she makes me. She expressed this to me in the most honest and humbling words possible. That night, after fighting them back long enough, I went into my room and let out enough tears of joy to drown a fish.
My sister embodies the true meaning of family every second she draws breath, and I can only aspire to one day be like her.
Family Over Everything!
Chichi and I, Christmas 2009