Sunday, May 11, 2008

A Fun-Filled Mother's Day

Today is Mother's Day. I had some plans for today. First, me and my wife, Jackie, would go to the wet market for our weekly food ration. This should take at least two hours the most. Then we would dress the kids for church. After which, we would eat out for lunch to grace Mama for her 'day', and keep her off the kitchen for a while. After lunch, we would probably bring the kids to the Worlds Of Fun for a change.

Anyway, on our way to the wet market, Jackie received an MMS from our eldest daughter, Janina. She sent a picture of them three sisters, with the note of their love to their mother. She was moved by our daughter's gesture. She can only smile.

But the more she got surprised when upon opening her wallet to take out some money, there was a folded piece of paper pad inserted therein. At first she thought that maybe it was a trace of a foot as the kids were asking their mom to buy them new sandals. But to her amazement, it was a message from our second child, Joanna.

As she read our little angel's message, I felt a pinch in my heart. I became a bit of emotional. Damn, it feels so touching to receive messages from kids, even as young as they are. That even when the messages were not for me, I can feel how my wife did. There should be a sense of contentment, of gratefulness, of satisfaction. She could only be thankful having wonderful kids, making her heart so filled. I just hope she feels the same with me as her husband.

So upon arriving from the market, she bathed the two younger kids, dressed them up, and fixed herself after. Then Janina and I would fix ourselves too. But as usual, we would always be too slow in dressing up that we left home already at 11:00 in the morning. Jackie was quite angry because we have to skip church. Certainly, it would have been better if we heard the mass first. At least her day could have some spiritual touch.

And so we proceeded to the mall directly.

We used to live near Sta. Lucia East Grand Mall, and we could always go malling everytime we wish to. But since we moved to Antipolo, the kids were confined 'under duress' in our place. So now, bringing them to the mall is almost sending them to heaven. Of course it is also our joy to see our kids happy. And I believe that making them feel that way is our obligation too.

Our youngest, Jia, was shouting and ecstatically screaming upon setting foot inside the mall. She was very joyful running all around. And suddenly she would halt and dance by the beat of the piped-in music. We were all laughing at her. What a joy to see the kids really happy. Jackie and I would smile at each other. We sat on a corner for a while, and let Jia have a kiddie ride. We moved for a bit more, and then we decided to have lunch.

So we held hands going to find a nice restaurant. A sort of a "unity walk" for the family, as Janina had put it. As expected, all foodhouses were flooded. Long queues everywhere. Already sort of starving due to the inviting flocks of whole families, we decided to go to KFC; spaghetti for Jia, mashed potato meal for Joanna, hamburger and french fries for Janina, chicken chops for Jackie, and hot spicy chicken for me. Just a simple lunch. We are always happy with anything anyway. For another, we had a late breakfast. So we really ain't that starving actually.

So after lunch we planned to go to the carnival. Upon walking out from KFC, my wife saw her shoes to be damaged. A leaf was detached. And she can not walk properly. The kids suggested that she buys a cheap footwear so we can still proceed malling. But Mama said she has just got so many shoes and buying another would just be a waste of money. And so without so much ado, we went home instead.

The kids were quite sad, but the feeling of satisfaction having us altogether malling around visibly overwhelmed their glum. We watched TV altogether, and played with Jelai (our pet dog) for a while. We slept for over an hour, and then it was dinner time. Watched TV again, and when quite late, kissed each other good night. It was another great day once again, and just a 1/365-day of a whole year for Mama playing the eternal 'mother' role.

Friday, May 09, 2008

'Em Roofed Campers

Our two kids have to camp at the middle of our living room. Too bad that there is no other place for them to pitch their tent. Our very small place would not allow them to put it up elsewhere. At any rate, they were happy about their play-house with an outdoor touch. 'Em roofed campers, huh...

A million thanks to Mommy. It should be the most loved gift that our two delicate angels got from her package from Australia, aside from the clothes, dolls, a few more toys and other stuffs. Our Mom... she always find extraordinary ways to make her grandchildren happy. Indeed that grandparents are born to spoil grandkids. I have always heard of this since ages. But now it can really be told.

The Labor Of Childbirth At Second Wind

This is now about two weeks overdue, but I just have to oblige myself. For this time, I would be writing about me. I just hope I would not overdo it. Nevertheless, I guess no one is more accurate to write anything about my life, except me myself. It may be somehow biased because I can be selective, but even when someone would do the same for me, they would just pick the items they deem find interesting according to their perception, sort-of. So let me just go on with this and see how it goes. I'll just try to be spontaneous. I hope my mind will work well with my keyboard.

I was born and raised from a very humble family. We were never poor as classified and portrayed over the media. But we were never abundant, or even rich, and not even close to belong to the so-called middle class. We were just some few hairlines above the level of survival. But damn we were fulfilled.

There were not much complains. Just so much to thank for. I am the eldest, and my childhood seem to be so colorful in any sense. I grew up from a normal surrounding, a very peaceful community. I was never socially deprived. It was a very comfortable environment.

Having a perfect set of parents, I was blessed with a sister; four years younger than I am, and a brother; also four years younger than our sister. The quite long gaps was the strategy of our olds. The planned phasing in sending their kids to college would give them a breathing cushion, financial capability wise. But why, the shortest baccalauréat is four years. So our olds must be the thinking parents. With not enough compensation as calibrated to the future needs of us three siblings, our father has even left us to work abroad for a greater pay. Or in the old days they would call it as "greener pasture". That's how they prepared for our education packages. They should be devoted parents, so to speak.

But somehow, the four-year gap each that we have among siblings had tiny drawbacks. As we grew older, we spent time in different age brackets. We absorbed different influences. We learned to think individually. But that should be normal. An inevitable process of growing up. We can not be under one set of wings all the time, for eventually, we will go separate ways. But at least every given Sunday that we are together, we would hear mass from the same church. And most of all, the teachings from our parents remained consistent.

So that even before our father passed away, I and my sister already have families of our own. And a few years more after he died, my brother also had his. At first we were situated just a few blocks apart, and our mother can still expand her wings to cover all three bases. Just a few steps from one strategic location and she can have the next meal with her other child's family. She could play with all her grandchildren any moment she wishes. Sans Dad, we could still go to church altogether. It was a very simple routine for her then.

But as nature would put it, we siblings were bound to live with our own lives according to our own plans. Mommy was in no way in control anymore. She realized that we were going as when she left off her parents' watch too.

It was in this situation that somehow, I must have overplayed my role. In our culture, the eldest child should oversee the welfare of thy siblings, at least in the preservation of family ties, and constant connection amongst. But instead I guess I tried to fill-in the shoes that my father left. I went to my mother's side, sort of telling her how she must divide her time among us. I may have had the purest intentions. Afterall, "we" are family.

And with such show of attitude that I have, and since our mother would most of the time listen to me, not necessary to each and every single word I say, I would hear people say that I am the favorite child. At first I loved it. Until it became irritating. Because I knew it was never true. Mommy may have treated us differently, but must have loved us equally.

Well, there could have been favoritism in some ways, but those were according to the times as the callings would arise. I can say that. After all, I am now a parent myself. This child would be my favorite today, and the other can be by tomorrow. But the love for each child is never lesser for one and more for the other. The volume of love from any parent to each child would depend on the need as required for each condition, but the essentiality shall significantly be always perfectly the same. You may embrace each child one at a time, but surely you would embrace them all in no time. You don't caress a jolly child over the crying one, but at the end of the day, you would certainly caress each and everyone.

And so despite of her declining physical stance, Mommy tried to balance her time binding us all. At one time she would be in my sister's place, and next to my brother's, and then to mine, not necessarily in that order. But every after each juggle of us three, she eventually would go back to our old family house for a breather, enduring a fourteen-hour long trip, with her hurting back due to a slip-disk operation. This became her routine for a while, until my youngest brother have to migrate Down Under. But despite the distance, the routinary cycle must go on. She followed to live with them for a short period. She has to spend time with her youngest son too.

Each stay with each child would bear a different experience to her. All three of us being married, how can I miss to consider that we have brought in new members, our spouses, to the humble family that we use to have. That they were raised differently from the way our own set of parents did us. And they must have different mood swings too. And in no difference to mine, how could I forget that all three of us are old enough to have our own minds too, and so it should not be a strange thing for our mother to have a different condition living with each of us. Either way, we were opposite poles in some ways. But just like the branches of a tree, we still belong to the same trunk.

And so, just like any family having visiting in-laws to live with, our mother became an unwitting element of some unwelcome scenarios. A lot of what-ifs and what-nots to think about, but things are just bound to happen. The wheel of life has to roll over. There is never a reverse gear. Quite sad, but there is nothing much we can do about.

The upside is, everytime a thing or two would come along that would involve our mother, the minds of us three siblings would meet. We discuss things. We dissect each concern. Each one would listen. And we would thresh out applicable solutions that we think is best. No any different situation was treated with a different approach. The gameplan was always the same. And it always worked.

But predestined maybe, certain occurrences had created some spats among us three. And so there came unhappy situations that we have to live by. Each one of us three siblings doesn't have to take sides. We don't have a fight. We just know that deep inside within us, in every which way we do, say or feel, our love for each other will always be there toeing each life's challenges. After all, we were raised properly. We must know how to balance our sensibilities. Or I could be so assuming...

And so this time suddenly it became totally different. Last 26th of April, except from my mother who gave birth to me, it was my very first birthday that I did not receive a warm greeting from my closest kins - which I must have much expected inspite and despite of the dramas that painted our lives. There was this deafening silence that I was never used to. But when everything became calm, and all had sinked-in, I realized that I must understand. Because if life begins at forty, I should be a newborn. And like forty years ago, there was just me and my mother. And so my dearest sister shall come by when I turn forty-four. And my beloved brother when I turn forty-eight. That by the time I turn forty-six, coming from school, I would bring a banana-cue present for her. And when I turn fifty-two, I shall play tex-cards with him again. These two guys, I grew up with them, and they grew up with me. Life was fun having them around. I know one day we'd grow up and have fun altogether again. Whether they are happy about me, to me is irrelevant. To my heart, I should only care of how I feel about them.

But awhiling, I wonder where could be our
Dad is now, and how would he be seeing us today. I believe he should be tight-lipped, just guessing what may happen next.

And Mom? I wish that she come home soon. I guess I badly need some breastfeeding. Also
that she must take care of her health too - for within the next two leap years, she is to conceive of my sister and my brother. And so that even just in thoughts, we could rebuild those happy memories.

Hopefully altogether...