Whether performing it or simply listening to it, a love of music is what shapes the bond between Big Sister Maria Bautista and her Little Sister Michaela. It is their musical appreciation that has opened their eyes (and ears!) to new things and built a common ground for their deep friendship. Since they were matched in May of 2003, Michaela has hit many high notes in her life and several low notes as well, but through it all the steady rhythm has been her Big Sister Maria.
Michaela is already a talented signer and her Big Sister, who plays the guitar, has inspired Michaela to think about adding an instrument to her repertoire as well. “Maria gives me a lot of confidence in my singing ability,” said Michaela. Though Michaela seeks to become a professional singer, this savvy 16 year old realizes that the odds of becoming the next American Idol are slim. Her non-musical career plans include becoming a medical assistant or even an obstetrician. “I always support what she wants to do and I hope that she does try to achieve her dreams,” said Maria of her Little Sister’s career aspirations.
When not performing music themselves, Maria and Michaela enjoy listening to it. One of their favorite activities is downloading music and making mix CDs to sing along to while driving around in Maria’s car. Their varying tastes in tunes have created a mutual appreciation for new kinds of music. Maria, a fan of oldies and classical, has introduced her Little Sister to some of her favorites from those genres, while Michaela has shared her love of reggae, rap, and R&B with her Big Sister. The two have also enjoyed going to see musicals together such as Little Shop of Horrors and Rent.
Having a consistent presence like Maria in her life has not only broadened Michaela’s horizons, it also made her more confident and mature. Michaela is no longer shy about raising her hand in class, nor does she feel that she is not as smart as other students. She is more willing to share her feelings, particularly with her Big Sister. “I can tell her stuff that I wouldn’t tell my mother,” said Michaela. “I don’t even need a diary.”
Michaela knows that her Big Sister will always be there when she needs her most, which has helped her through some very trying times. Little Sister Michaela has suffered several losses in the five years she has been matched with Maria. Through both the passing of her grandmother and the killing of a close family friend, Maria offered comfort and support to her Little Sister.
Yet another “loss” came for Michaela when her biological older sister got married and started a family of her own. Michaela missed her sister’s companionship, but found that her Big Sister Maria filled that void and more. “You could never find another Big Sister like mine. I know we’ll be friends forever!” said Michaela.
Though Michaela may not yet know if her future holds a medical or musical career, she does know that it holds a strong, supportive friendship with Maria-and that is music to her ears.