...because you thought Sweden was Switzerland!

Saturday, September 29, 2012

Something to someone

Another month turns to history. The year's almost over, three months to go. Unbelievable.

What's a bigger mystery is that I can't believe that I'm not even turning 30 this year! I feel ancient; I feel at least 35 years old (haha!). Contributing to my “feel-age” is the fact that I mostly communicate and hang around with older people. Many of the people I see on a regular basis are in their 40s. The 20-somethings, they're busy starting their lives. Life in couplehood is a warm cocoon; they have less time to hang out; they're in a world that I'm not. Many times I have more in common with my 40-plus divorcee friends. Mid-life crisis at 28: half jaded and half hopeless romantic.

When I have lunch with my older colleagues and friends, we talk a lot about the logistical puzzle of life with kids. For parents, everything else has to fit in the small spaces of time between driving kids to school, waiting for them to finish after-school activities, going to parent-teacher meetings, cooking dinner, planning kiddie parties, putting kids to bed, settling sibling rivalry, kissing a wound. If they have older kids, they have to set time for practice driving, they have to make sure there's food in the fridge and they stay sober on a Friday night in case their kids get boozed somewhere. Parenthood is a lot about clock-time, and it's a lot about being on stand-by. And we're not even talking about the hands-on stuff, like diapers and checking homework and earning money to buy clothes.

Sometime between talking about parenthood with friends and browsing through old pictures of me from the Philippines, I thought about how my own mother used to say (when we had fights and were keen to point out her faults in the heat of the moment) that we didn't show her enough appreciation for trying to be a good mother, or even for driving us back and forth to places. She's right. So yesterday I wrote her a letter telling her that I now know that the small stuff are the big stuff.

Mom, you think I resent that we didn't have money to send me to ballet. But it's okay. You let me try other things – it's a different story that I never excelled in piano or guitar. You genuinely thought about my childhood happiness even if you had to scrimp. You and dad let me buy any crayon set I wanted for my eighth birthday. You got me one of those cool electric toy cars that I could ride on. You had a pendant made for me when I was ten because you saw how I liked the design in the catalog. You brushed my hair every morning and bought me ribbons for my hair. You took naps with me, and occasionally you took me to McDonald's where you enjoyed seeing me eat a whole burger menu. You let me hang around with you in the car when you had to work in the afternoons, so I wouldn't have to wait too long in school. And because you knew that I was forced to wait long hours in school sometimes, you fixed me a credit account in the ice cream parlor. You sold your childhood jewelry and put the house on loan to let us go to university; yet you let me study what I wanted to without questioning my choices and you never forced me to study anything I didn't want.

Long before “love” for me meant something between a man and a woman, I was always something to someone. I just wanted to say that I know that now.

See you in December! And don't forget, I want to borrow the GTS. Haha!


Anonymous Lara said...

I enjoyed reading this, Joy. Also glad to know your going home in December. Enjoooooy! :D

8:36 PM


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