Ate – Filipino term for elder sister, used with or without the given name
I am an ate to two more sisters.
The other day, after hours of anticipation, I received this message from my younger sister, the one born after me.
My sister and her friend recently flew to Macau for a missions trip and got held up at the immigration. When I received my brother’s text of her being detained, I couldn’t help but bow down on my knees to God. We all know of horror stories of immigration officers preying on first-time fliers.
At that moment I suddenly realized that my 22-year-old sister isn’t a baby anymore. Being an eldest sister I’ve always looked at her as fragile (despite her size) and had always been protective of her, especially after our dad died. It suddenly dawned on me that she is all grown up, having adventures of her own and expanding her territories where ate can’t fight battles for her anymore.
For a minute I shed sad tears of letting go then wiped them away and laughed a great amount of joy and excitement for her and the many dragons she would soon slay.
Today, I woke up and got this message from my youngest sister.
My sister wasn’t an academic achiever until her last year in grade school. My family had always been trying to push her to study harder but it seemed like playing and having fun were enough accomplishments for her. It didn’t help that her older siblings where far away from home and she had no consistent supervision during study hours.
Last summer when I went home we had a very interesting conversation and it stirred her that she might be the only kid in the Lucasi family to graduate from grade school without academic distinction.
It was a big surprise for all of us when she made it straight to number two that first grading period and had maintained that standing for 3 consecutive gradings. I am bursting with pride as an ate.
Being an older sister is one of the most stressful relationship in a family.
It takes years of sparring and spurring to build a strong healthy bond. It’s harder than being in a romantic relationship because when you get sick and tired, you can’t break up with your sister. You can cheat on her but she won’t go away. You can deny your relationship but your surnames will follow you both wherever you go.
Being an older sister means you forgive seventy times seven times and you give without limit.
And after all that’s said and done, the adoration the younger ones give back to you is love that you wouldn’t find elsewhere. I could never imagine a life without these two calling me ate.