Like most children, I wanted a million things when I was a kid. Sometimes
it would be toys, and other times it would be a new dress or a new pair
of sneakers. But the one thing that I wanted most was an older sibling.
When I was growing up, many of my friends had older siblings who not
only played and laughed with them, but were always there looking out for
them. And as they grew, those siblings would guide, support, and encourage
them. So, as the oldest of four children, I often wished that I too could
have an older brother or sister. However, through the years, Ive
come to realize that I have something better than an older siblingI
have my cousin Cheuk. Cheuk, who is two years older than me, is the kind
of cousin and friend that everyone wishes for. He is sincere, funny, kind,
helpful, and loyal. He is also a good listener and a person of his word.
Some of my most cherished memories as a child were the times that Cheuk
and I spent together. Although we lived in two different boroughs when
we were children, we saw each other practically every weekend, and his
family also spent many holidays at our house. We often stayed at each
others house during the weekends. We played everything from hide
and seek to tag. We went to the movies and to the park. Sometimes he would
tease me or trick me into doing silly things, but I didnt mind because
we would always end up laughing for days about the incident. Cheuk and
I never went to the same school, so I didnt have him to stick up
for me when I got teased or bullied, but he always looked out for me like
I was his little sister. He would offer words of advice and protect me
when I was afraid.
As the years passed and we grew up and went our different paths, I thought
that we would drift apart. But fortunately we have managed to stay close.
We frequently call each other, sometimes for no reason at all, and talk
for hours. Occasionally, I call Cheuk just to vent and complain, but he
always gives me his full attention and will take all the time to listen
no matter how busy he is. Weve seen each other though personal changes,
such as graduations and deaths in the family. He has shared his knowledge
and experiences with me and has kept me sane when things have become crazy.
He tells me what I want to hear, but more importantly, what I need to
hear. His unconditional love and support have helped instill a confidence
in someone who was once very shy. When no one else can make it to my birthday
party, I can always depend on him to be there to help me celebrate my
special day. He has always been there to console me and to create a smile
from my frown.
But Cheuk hasnt only been there for me. He has also dropped everything
at a moments notice for my siblings, whether it was to help my sister
when she was buying her first car or to cheer my brother on at his college
award ceremony. And, when my mom needs to go somewhere, Cheuk is more
than happy to give her a lift.
We often take for granted the people who are always there. For years,
Cheuk was just one of my many cousins. It took me years to realize how
important he is and to fully appreciate his presence in my life. As kids,
he was a playmate and a companion. Now as adults, he has become a confidante
and role model, but most importantly, the older brother that I had always
longed for. Without Cheuk, my life would have been less fun and definitely
not as meaningful. Sure, it would have been nice to have an older sibling,
but who really needs one when you have a cousin as special as Cheuk.