To the Best Big Sister: Thanks for Being My Safe Haven

April 8, 2022

We’re bringing to you letters written by women to women they love, miss, cherish or just remember. To celebrate the support women continue to show each other, this is #ToHER.

From: A woman who should be called her sister’s wrapper

To: Labake, the firstborn

Dear Sis La, 

I’m writing this letter to you because you’ve been the best sister to me. I want you to know how completely unimaginable life would be without you, Sis La.

You know I only call you Sis La to be annoying, so I’ll stick to Sis because I’m here to be sweet.

When mummy had me, you were 10 years, 9 months and 17 days old. I have heard story after story of what growing up was like for you and how things had changed a lot by the time I was born. Our parents’ poverty had reduced by the time I was born. 

You didn’t grow up with much. So even though mum and dad made sure you went to the best schools, you knew what it was like to be an outsider inside. When I was off to boarding school, you made sure I never felt out of place or lacked anything. One time in high school, I got asked if I had parents because of how much of a big deal I made about our relationship. You were so present and still are.

One thing that hadn’t changed by the time I was born was you and mummy’s rocky relationship, but you did your best to shield me. I also tried my best to fight your battles too — especially with mum.  On one of those days she beat you, I yelled until she stopped. We were the kind of sisters that stood up for each other.

RELATED: Mother’s Day Special: Watch two sisters expose all their mums’ little secrets on Mother’s Day

We shared a room even though you were in uni at the time, and I’ll never forget the letter you wrote one day you came back from school and I had left the room scattered. It was a threatening message to warn me to not mess up the room and you ended it with, “The terrorist is back.”  LOL. You were never my terrorist, you were a haven. 

Being a big sister isn’t the only thing you’re great at. When you got married, I cried like a baby, but I’ve loved watching you become a mum. Maybe all those years you put me first prepared you, but you are such a natural. I’m sorry I couldn’t shield you from the grief you felt when you tried to have another child after your son. That phone call made to mummy when you thought the baby was coming is still painful to remember. 

On some days this won’t be enough, but I hope you read this letter knowing how deeply your son and I love you. You have one child of your own and the one mummy gifted you (me). 

Sis, look at how far we’ve come. We now spend evenings in your garden gisting. (I’d call myself your wrapper at this point.) I’m old enough to move out, explore life and be on my own, but I’m scared. Although I don’t say it, I live in crippling fear of what my life is going to be like if I leave the comfort of your house, the comfort of your presence.

Thanks for being the best big sister, Sis. If there’s another life and I, unfortunately, happen to come back to this damn world as an older sister, I want to be a lot like you.

Yours always,

Ibukun

ALSO READ :9 Nigerian Women Talk About Their Relationship With Their Sisters

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