I believe 3 is a lucky number; I must confess I am slightly partial to this number. I do not know why God chose to put us together, in one place, at one time, to come into this world.

“Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, and before you were born I consecrated you.” These words in the Book of Jeremiah warm my heart each time I hear them. They offer us a piece of the mystery; why we were created. I often ask myself, “What is the purpose of my life? What am I here to do?” Sometimes I’m confused, as though my soul is searching for something constantly … for a life-purpose that will bring me peace and joy.

You would have experienced this longing as well, dear reader, be it only for a fleeting moment. I believe we are all called to fulfil a life-purpose, a calling, to be the truest and most honest expression of ourselves- in our family, in our work and in our community. Some have found it. You know this when you see the joy these people radiate in their chosen fields- as homemakers, business professionals, entrepreneurs, artists, scientists, the religious and so on.

So, now I know why I was born, one of three, to my mother Anita and my father Jerome. They were so excited, I’ve heard, to expect not one but three beings in my mother’s womb. My mother tells me that she only wanted one child, but I guess God had other plans. In the confines of the brightly lit hospital room with nurses running about to take the three newly formed beings into medical supervision, we were tagged, “Anita Martins number 1, Anita Martins number 2 and Anita Martins number 3.”

Visitors flocked to view the marvel. “They have all ten fingers and toes?” one enquired of my mother, who responded with a polite “Yes.” I can only imagine her anxiety. She was accustomed to raising boys; her experience for caring for her own two younger brothers still fresh in her mind. But girls! This was entirely new and not one child but three. My father was thrilled, as he quipped to his colleagues at office, “The three Laxmi’s have arrived.” My grandmother renamed her local business from “New Prince Dry Cleaners” to “New Princess Dry Cleaners.” Oh, how special we were!

I have fond memories of our childhood. The scent of freshly cut grass takes me back to my childhood even today. Our garden, an endless green abode, where we would run to our heart’s content under the scorching heat of Saudi Arabia, made the desert seem like bliss…the butterflies, grasshoppers and rabbits during the day; the sound of the crickets during the silent, balmy nights, bring me such peace and delight as I think back. I remember watching our childhood videos. My mother, the meticulous woman she is, loved to capture us on video. Lynette and Jeanette are chasing me, shouting, “Run for your lives,” as we burst into screams of laughter; My father is behind the lens, taking a shot of mother’s carefully tended vegetable garden- tomatoes, carrots and watermelon, the myriad flowers dotting our home and our yelps of joy in the background; all these bring a smile to my face.

My teacher once asked, “Tell me Annette, if your sister gets hurt, do you feel the pain?” I smiled sheepishly and replied, “No.” Strange questions I seem to get from curious people. “Do you borrow each other’s clothes? “No, I replied, we have three sets of everything, all in the same color.” I shudder to think back to the day at St. Andrews College, the three musketeers were all decked up in a multi-striped ensemble, striding together for a science class, when someone whispered, “Is there a dance competition today?” This is the day, the three sisters mutually agreed that we would never wear the same color anymore – much to my mother’s dismay. We had won our freedom- our sense of individual expression.

Although we are born on the same day, we each have our own distinct personality, which surprisingly complements one another. While one is fun loving and carefree, the second is reserved and thoughtful, while the third is maternal, compassionate, and meticulous. All share a love for travel, food, music and their own personal freedom. An animal lover, a book lover and a science lover coexist under the same roof. Our passions consume us and bring us together.

Although we are one, each is unique. We respect each other’s strengths and weaknesses and look out for one another. Our parents have never compared one to the other. We all have been allowed to flourish in our respective careers through the wise counsel of our parents and the prayers of our ancestors and loved ones.

I wish the same for you, dear reader!

By Annette Martins