October 4, 2002, 10:47 am: the moment that changed the course of my life and my perception of the world. For twelve years, I was the youngest child in my family. I never took responsibility for anything. “Because she’s the youngest…” was the excuse my mother gave the most. I soon came to assumed the mantra as my own “Because I’m the youngest…” It was my excuse for everything. The reason why if I felt even the slightest prick of sadness when I felt left out or alone, I would cry. The reason why my sister, no matter how just she was in doing it, would get spanked for yelling at me. The reason why I knew nothing of responsibility or burden. But on October 4, suddenly I couldn’t use that excuse anymore. My mother had a baby, 12 years younger than myself, and 17 years younger than my older sister. She was not an accident, but a gift. She is why I do what I do. With a dad whom I only saw once every few months, a mother who was busy working as many jobs as she could to support the children she loved to the moon and back, and an older sister currently rebelling against her “daddy issues,” I felt I was the only one left. The only one left she could look up to. I had to shape up. I would be her buttress in life. I would be the one she could call any time and would be there for her. I would be the one she could call 언니 (older sister) proudly. That was 7 years ago.

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