A letter to my sister for her birthday

My sister and I share the same birthday but were born in different years. Last year, she wrote me a letter for our birthday, which I loved. This year, she suggested we exchange letters. Perhaps she felt miffed because I didn’t write her one last year but regardless, I like this newfound tradition.

It’s been a rough year, to say the least. I want to share my letter to her with you all in the hopes that, even in a small way, it brightens up your day like it (and she) does mine.

16 November 2020

Kapatid, kamusta ka?

I haven’t found yet a term that describes siblings who were born in the same day, but in different years. For a while I thought the term was Irish twins, but that term refers to siblings born within the same calendar year or 12 months of each other but that do not share a birthday. I’ve tried to see if there are words for it in non-English languages but so far, nada.

It’s fine, the lack of a term doesn’t take away from how cool I think, and have always thought, our shared birthdays are. These days, when someone asks if I have a sibling, the response goes something like this:

Yep, a younger sister.

We have the same birthday even though she’s six years younger than me.

I guess that means my parents really like Valentines day.

And most of the time, people laugh at the last line. And all of the time, at least in my adult life, I follow up with a variation of:

She’s great though. You’d like her. A wonderful human, truly.

Now that you know that I am constantly trying to recruit people to the Eliza Joy fan club, I expect some sort of compensation. Just kidding. But really though, I’m one of your biggest fans. I think I always have been. As far back as I can remember, I’ve been telling people in some form that you were the best birthday gift ever. Even if it meant I had to share the birthday limelight.

Maybe in some years, like that year I got a ps2 for my birthday gift, the above statement was a smidgen of hyperbole. In this year, one of the most chaotic years of my lifetime, with COVID and familial trials and politics and the general tumult of the world, I really mean it. I am especially thankful for you. I want you to know how grounding and calming that friendship has been for me.

You have come through many times this year. Sometimes, I really needed someone to talk to and you were there. A couple of times we didn’t even have to talk. All I’d have to do is recall things you’ve told me. Things that helped lift me from dark places.

I believe in you, brother.

You’re going to do great things.

You’re a good man.

Your particular brand of thoughtfulness and empathy is a rare, potentially world-changing combination. I’m so glad that you’re studying what you are studying. Occupational therapy seems a perfect vocation for you. Your innate qualities that you wield in your personal life will now be applied in a professional capacity. With how broken this world is, we need more people like you.

I want you to know that I’m proud of who you are and who you will be. You are indeed the best of gifts, sister, and I have the utmost confidence that anyone else whose life you touch will, in their own way, think so as well.

Happy birthday to us.

Love,

Paolo