|Here be all the women who raised me|
Nayong Pilipino, early 90s
You know what they say -- it takes a village to raise a child. This was the village that raised me -- my grandmother (d. April 1994), my mother (d. November 1997) and her two sisters, who are still raising kids to this day.
This day is for you.
When I lost mom, it was like losing training wheels (here again with the bicycle metaphor), but yeah, you know what else they say about bicycles -- they've got two more wheels, and you just have to keep on going.
So you keep rolling, and then before you know it, it's thirteen years later; you're six years into a job, your sister's already in med school and your brother is already halfway through high school. Sometimes I still wonder how we managed to get through all that.
Here's where I say several hands have kept us sibs afloat, to reuse a horribly overused cliche; how many people have had the pleasure of having more than one mom, right? Hah, I have; we have. We're the downright luckiest set of kids, in terms of having multiple moms. You know what devotion is? All I have to do is look at how much Auntie has done for this family and I say, that, my friends, is what love is all about. Years later, I still don't have the words.
I remember my first college enrollment, it was 2001; I was new to UP, and I was so scared. I didn't commute, I didn't know how to cook, I had amateur laundry skills. In summary, I didn't know whether I had sufficient skills to live away from home to begin with haha. On enrollment day we went to ISSI, completely expecting it to go the way my enrollments had all my life -- me sitting beside Auntie, while she filled up forms and paid. HAHAHAH.
When we got there: PARENTS NOT ALLOWED BEYOND THIS POINT. Sorry, I was already sixteen then, but I was so terrified. Hahaha. Nasabi na lang ni Auntie, Ano ba basta magbasa ka ng instructions, matatapos ka naman niyan nang maayos at tama.
Looking back and trying to remember that absofuckinglutely lost feeling, I feel a mix of shame and pride. (Expanded: Oo nakakahiya akong sixteen-year-old, pero di ba malayo na naman narating ko? hahaha.)
When I got back to Auntie that afternoon, I showed her my form. Sabi nya, "O di natapos ka rin." Nasabi ko lang: "BAWAL GUSUTIN ANG FORM NA ITO."
Anyway, malayu-layo na rin ang narating namin ni Auntie, though technically because of our age gap mas magkapatid ata kami kesa mag-ina. Andun yung tiniis niya yung phase kong angry teenager ("I HATE BANKS! I HATE FORMS! I HATE GOVERNMENT IDs!"--tapos ngayon favorite ko nang tasks ang bank duties o haha), at yung nadiscover niyang nagyoyosi ako, in that absolutely passive-aggressive manner (Nilinis ang kwarto sa Maginhawa, iniwan sa ibabaw ng napakalinis na kitchen counter ang pack ko ng Marlboro menthol). Feel ko rin pinagtsistismisan nila ni Dad ang aking sexual preference when they first found out ("Hamo na't matanda na yun alam na niya ginagawa niya"--I can imagine).
Tapos ngayon... tapos ngayon, yun. Ang galing lang, yung lumilipas ang panahon.
MEANWHILE, kwentong buhay: This afternoon we celebrated the fourth anniversary of the read-along (FOURTH! Kung bata ito, nursery na! Happy mothers day din sa akin anak ko pala tong read-along haha) with a tribute to moms, just in time for Mothers' Day. Ate Dyali read "Love You Forever" and damn, that story's a tearjerker. And then we had VIOLINS. Ito na, ito na ang read-along session na may VIOLINS.