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Tag Archives: Parenting

Precious Moments With Mom

Just arrived from Manila to celebrate Mother’s day with my mom. I never had the chance to change clothes as I was so eager to share  my stories which she took in every word I said. In her hands were my gifts, a Maybelline pressed powder and an embroidered blouse which she liked the minute she saw it. In the bacground were my four daughters whom she helped me raised including the one behind the camera who is my eldest .

Rare moments that I will forever cherish because they are priceless.

 

 

 

(image credits to facebook.com)

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The End Of A Homeless Journey

An old nipa hut renovated, a spacious house filled with kidslaughter and noise, a picture of  home  that now  comes  alive only  in my memory.

We never had our own home.The place where I was born and grew up belonged to my aunt, built from her soldier husband’s pension, killed in action during the Second World War. Since my dad acted like a father to her two kids, she had left her house to his care, a token of love and trust when she decided to build a life with her kids in Manila. No signing of papers. No attorney fees required. Just a  simple act of kindness so that my dad can have a place to  start  his own life.

The house had gone a lot of renovations but there were parts of it as well as pieces of furniture that had remained. It also had weathered a lot of storms and earthquakes, of rains and heat, yet it  had stood still, a sign of its strength and antiquity.

With the people that had lived before and to those who had gone, either to greener pastures or to the other life, the house symbolized more than an edifice. It reminded them of their childhood, of the things they used to do and now only remembered, of the simplicity and the tranquility of life, free of demands and stress. A place where  one wanted to come back over  and over again.

Through the years passersby will admire our house for its uniqueness and space, its wooden floors always inviting one to lie down and retire after a tired day, the sliding windows wide and safe enough to sit on its sills while enjoying a shared story. The dining table, long enough to hold a mini feast while  the adjoined window faced  what used to be a bamboo fence and a star apple tree that had to be chopped down so that a basketball court can be built.

(One of the very few photos left of our old home)

Space. Comfort. Inviting. These best describe the home I used to live.

It was a nook that was enveloped with sadness when my father spent his last days and where his remains would lie before he gets buried, not to the nearby chapel, telling my mom that he had a home to return to. An abode where we heard the sound of his first grandson’s wails a few months after he was laid to rest. And a place that was filled  with laughter, squeals, yells and songs when all us had our own families and get together during the Holiday Seasons, the loudest coming from my seven kids.

I thought it would never end.

But the heavens had  different plans, it seemed.

Our home was built in a place whose inner circle had venoms, jaded people who go way back. Rooted from several generations in the past, incurable even with countless prayers, church visits and novena intentions. I always thought that miracles do happen, even to the most hopeless situations.

I was wrong.

Small talk started even before I was born. Legally it was not rightfully ours. But of what use is the law when one can manipulate it for ulterior motives. When one’s self worth is defined by endless back stabbing, spinning tales enough to believe in and when generosity all too often is masked by getting something in return.

A week after the house had been newly painted and refurnished, we were told we had no reason to stay. My dad had long been gone but that was the less painful part though hearing it directly, literally from the horse’s mouth would confirm it. Sadly, this time it did not come from a horse, but from my dad’s blood relative. We had no choice but to leave.

Our neighbors who had become my parents friends’ were saddened about what they have learned and witnessed. Since our house was located in front of the chapel, nobody had missed that day when we had moved. They still cannot believe that a nipa hut which had been the only home  our family ever had would be the cause of envy and hurt. My mom  kept her emotions intact long enough, until we arrived at our new apartment. It was only then she let the tears and herself go, still finding it hard to accept that we were driven out from our own home.

A few months after we had moved, we were told our house had been torn down. Less than a year from then, three lives were lost and one of them was my brother. It was like watching a tear jerker movie  only this time it happened for real. It was hard to believe that what the house used to represent was now  turned into a tragedy, hurting not just one family , touching not just one’s soul to its very core.

Our lives may never be the same. An old friend once told me loosing ones’ home is like letting go of  one’s roots, the pain goes much deeper. And as I try to shield my children from it all, fate  chose  to do it differently. Though it would be impossible to find the same comfort  that our old home had given us, I know that I will not leave this life homeless. And in time my children and I will again find our lives secured, happy and content in a place we can  really call our own.

Finding Your Way Home

Most of us perhaps feel that one of the most defining moments in our lives was when we braved our way to get home from school on our own. For those who were not well off to have a car and hire the services of a family driver, join the school bus even, and just simply do with the help of a guardian, household help or a kind neighbor, that time will come when one just wished things will be different, that one will be allowed to take care of himself and not continue to burden anybody else. I remembered that day when I decided to take command of such things. Too clearly, that it was one of the most told stories I had shared with my kids.

 

I went to a school where my mom taught. It was an accident prone area were most provincial busses going to Olongapo and Bataan would pass by. During the  70’s , the ratio of the accidents was one student a year but that had grown tremendously through the years. At that time my dad would not even entertain the idea of letting me or my siblings go home on our own. He may have been over protective but he did not care. Until that time when he did not have any choice, that is.

 

My mom was sent to the Division Office to attend a seminar. She asked a fellow colleague who was also an aunt and a neighbor to accompany me home. And since working mothers were good in multi tasking , my aunt went first to the market  which was close to the school before we head home. Since there were a lot of people , she left me  in a stall, told me to wait for her when she was done.

 

A few minutes had passed while waiting for my aunt. Those few minutes lasted for half an hour, then for an hour. I was already bored and worried because it  started to get dusk. The kind lady who was the stall owner happened to be my dad’s relative as well. She told me that she will bring me home because it seemed, my aunt had forgotten me.

 

I felt terrible as one feels rejection easily when you are left out, be it accidentally, worst intentionally. You feel helpless, alone and afraid. And that feeling stays with you for a long time.  Later I learned that my aunt was preoccupied and was in a hurry to get home because one of her kids were sick. I had no choice but to  understand.

 

I told myself then, I will not let that happen again. Strange enough, it did but this time I finally had the guts to decide for myself.

 

When my mom had a miscarriage and filed for a leave, my dad had no choice to trust my mom’s colleagues to see me off, each time I leave and head home from school. I think that lasted for almost a month, until I cannot take it any longer. One day, I decided to take my own route, went home early, and told my dad what I have done.

 

“Why did you do it?” “What had gotten in that stubborn mind of yours again? Have you not thought that something might have happened to you?” Concern was written on my dad’s face. I almost regretted what I have done but I have to tell him the reason why.

 

I told him I do not want to be accompanied when I leave for school anymore. That I want to be with other kids when they walk their way home  That I do not want to be left out again after relying someone will be there for me, only to learn that I am alone afterwards.

 

He became quiet. Trying to understand what I said. Thinking if it was about time for me to take that giant step. Finally he said, “Starting tomorrow, you can go home on your own but  I still cannot trust you to go to school by yourself. I do not want you crossing the street when some drivers think they own the road. I will not wait for that day for somebody to tell me, you are not going home anymore.”

 

Those words had been etched in my mind until now. Now that I already have kids. Now when all of them go to school. Except for my youngest, who still needs my guidance, all of them have to rely on themselves, brave the streets, trusting them enough, that they know what they are doing.The story that I told them many times  was done intentionally so that one day, when they feel that I had gotten used to their independence, when they thought they felt I had cared less because I am swamped with the demands of my work, to always remember  that when they head for the door, and feel their old enough to decide for themselves, that it will always be left open, waiting for their return, hoping finally that they had  found their way home.