Jacqueline Vargas, Writer

My life was picture-perfect growing up. I had terrific parents, played with dolls, and watched Disney Channel all day. What more could a kid want? I often have flashbulb memories of different points in my childhood, like when I busted my knee, when it snowed on Christmas, and when I almost drowned in my Barbie car. One would think growing up with one person would mean they have one sibling, clearly not. One day my parents sat me down and told me I had a sister, but I have no recollection of that ever happening. I was probably too young to register it and just brushed it off. It’s not like my parents hid it from my brother and me. We were just too young to understand why our sister wasn’t living with us.

One would think finding out about another sibling would be a monumental moment. But if I can’t remember it, does that make me a bad person? When my mom planned on coming to the USA, she wanted to take my sister. The trip would take weeks, and my mom barely had enough food to take for herself, let alone for a child. My grandmother wouldn’t allow my mom to risk my sister’s wellbeing, and deep down, my mom knew my sister wouldn’t survive the journey to America. My sister was only one when my mom decided to leave her, and for a long time, she resented my mom for abandoning her. If we fast forward a couple of years to now, I feel guilty all the time. I yell at my mom, but I laugh with my mom. I physically have my mother present in my life, but my sister can’t say the same thing. When my mother talks about my sister, I often get reminders of that guilt. She didn’t get to witness her daughter grow into the amazing woman she is today. It’s even worse for my dad. My dad is a shy, introverted man who has always shown me and my brother love. But it’s like that because he is with us. My dad loves my sister, but part of me thinks there’s no emotional connection because he didn’t get to witness her growing up. It’s awkward when they speak, and that’s just because too much time has passed for them to get close.

I often wonder what life would be if my sister didn’t live in Mexico. I imagine her being super popular with tons of friends. She and my brother are very similar; they are both very outgoing and share many interests. She’s also brilliant, and that’s where she and I are identical. I probably wouldn’t be alive if things were different. My parents originally only wanted two kids. But with a child thousands of miles away, they wanted a sibling for my brother. My sister is beautiful. She reminds me so much of our mother. Part of me is jealous of her sometimes, she has her whole life figured out, and she did it independently.

The first time I met my sister was on February 9, 2018. I was so excited to meet my sister in person. We had chatted a couple of times over the phone, but it’s not the same as being in each other’s presence. I practiced my Spanish the whole plane ride so I wouldn’t sound stupid when I met her and the rest of my family. Not only was I meeting my sister, but I was meeting my grandparents, uncles, and cousins. We had to ride another bus after we arrived because it’s a bit rural where my mother’s family lives. Correction, it was. I visited again three years later, and it hardly looks like the place I visited years prior. My legs felt like they were Jell-O. I remember waiting for my family to arrive at the bus station, and it was just emotional hugging everyone. When my grandmother walked in, I couldn’t help but laugh. She is a 4’8 woman in her 70’s who rides motorcycles. I kid you not, she looked like Toad from Mario kart. Meeting my sister was very anticlimactic, don’t get me wrong, I will cherish the memory forever. My brother, sister, and I hugged for a while, just soaking in all the love. We exchanged a few words, but we had to move quickly, or our cab would leave. My family immediately compared us to our mother and said we could pass as triplets. Afterward, we ate, and I had the best tacos ever. I wish I remembered more, but I can hardly remember anything else from that trip.

Unfortunately, my grandfather wasn’t present because he was very sick at the time. My sister and I were very awkward with each other, which is understandable. Part of me despised my brother because he and my sister clicked from the get-go. I was 11 when we first met, and I was so shy. Compared to who I am now, I am completely different. I remember thinking that meeting my sister would be this big moment, but it wasn’t. It got to the point where I had the mindset of,” We’re just two strangers who happen to share the same parents.” It sounds so sad when I put it that way, but it’s true. Three years have passed since our first encounter, and we have grown a lot closer. The age difference sucks because I’m still a kid, and she’s 22. However, because she goes to college in the city, she’s exposed to many urbanized things to bond over, like our favorite Netflix shows. It shows you that no matter how much time has passed, you can always form a bond with someone. So, I’m still holding out hope for my father and sister.