The Thankful Thirty Project. Day 6

March 6.

Today, I’m thankful to God for blessing me with a really good and crazily happy Lolos and Lolas and Titos and Titas.

I’m grateful that God made me born into two families who know very well how to value the importance of ‘family,’ fight for it, and live for it.

My Lolos and Lolas from the father side died even before I could actually appreciate the warmth of their cuddles and kisses. I think my Lola Saling died when I was just 2 months and Lolo Gemeng died way before I was conceived. Thankfully, I have Lola Saling’s brothers and sisters to call my Lolos and Lolas on my father’s side. They’re actually a blend of super serious, slight serious, and very funnily amusing grandparents! Most of them already passed away but at least the funniest of them all is still here with us–Lolo Totoy. He’s the most mapanlait lolo ever but his panlalait never fails to amuse me and make me laugh:-) One of my cousins even told me before that she doesn’t know how to introduce her boyfriend to Lolo Totoy without receiving panlalait from him. But we love him dearly and in fact, he’s always the life of the party during our family reunions. Every time he cracks a joke, the whole room will be filled with laughter.

I’m blessed to be able to experience spending summer vacations with my Lolo and Lola from the mother side. Tatay, as we fondly called Mama’s father, was the most gentle, caring, loving, and generous lolo ever! He would always defend us from Nanay (my lola) whenever she gets mad at us. His death some 15 years ago, was the first heartbreak I’ve experienced in my life.

Nanay Sitang is not your usual gentle and sweet Lola. She’s actually mataray and at times madamot:-) But those things could not discount the times we’ve experienced her unconditional care and love. She wouldn’t be Nanay Sitang if she’s not mataray. Nanay may be extra masungit at times but she never fails to make us laugh whenever she bonds with us over lechon rice or ice cream and sometimes even red wine. Even if we keep on telling her that too much sugar is bad for health because she has diabetes, she would stil insist on eating chocolates, ice cream and even hoard sweet desserts inside her refrigerator. She’s the most makulit and hard-headed lola of all! But we love her dearly:-) She’s our family’s treasure and just thinking about losing her one day really creeps us out. 

I’m extra grateful to God for blessing me with cool titos and titas from both sides. They are at times a paradox of each other. While the other side were more goody-goody and less enjoy-the-night-till-you-drop types, the other side were a more carefree bunch.

But I love them both ultimately. I love that they care for us more than what the normal titos and titas do. I love that they treat us like their own kids, too. I especially love that some of them are really very supportive of my passion for writing and creativity. I love that some of them were very thoughtful enough to really design my home workstation. I love that some of them were sweet enough to buy me my favorite nakakabilaok na mamon from Baker’s Fair. I love that some of the things I have now I got because they blessed me with it. I love that I could sing Eraserheads, Rivermaya, After Image, The Dawn, and even Introvoys’ songs with some of them and never really feel ridiculed. I love that I always look forward to summer family outings because they’re part of it.

It’s not always rose-colored days between us but nevertheless, I super appreciate their existence in my life. They are one of the reasons why I feel that my life is really blessed.

The Thankful Thirty Project. Day 5

March 5.

Today, I’m thankful to God for blessing me with crazy bunch of cousins on both sides of the family.

Not all people have that kind of close bond with their cousins. And maybe there are even some who don’t even have the chance to spend time and share memories with their cousins at all. Hence, I am super thankful that God made me belong to the families where there are different kind of bond between cousins.

I don’t actually consider my cousins as just ‘part’ of the family. They are ONE OF THE SPECIAL REASONS why I love being with my family. They are my happy pills. They’re the source of my heart-filled laughter. I would really trade a night out with friends just to spend crazy night of watching ‘koreanovelas’ or pigging out with them.

I especially love the feeling of waking up in the morning and seeing my younger cousins sleeping beside me. I love that these youngsters look up to me as their ate. That even though I keep on telling them what to do and not to do or reprimanding them for what they’ve done wrong, I know that they still love me and treasure the times I bring them to different places and make them experience new things. They even thought that Mother Nature is my best friend because I keep on telling them that Mother Nature will get mad if they will just throw their litters on the floor.

I love that I found a barkada among my cousins. We plan family events together, we try new things together, we watch movie together, get really out of tune in videoke lounges together, we go to random places together and a lot of various things we love doing together. I love that it’s easier to plan dinner dates with them and our parents wouldn’t mind us coming home late because we’re with each other.

I’m thankful that during the lowest points of our lives, we have each other to cry with and to move on with.

I’m thankful because during my ’emo’ moments and I don’t have available friends to be with me, they’re there for me. Just their presence alone could already lift my mood up. Well they don’t actually always mean to be available…it’s just that most of their houses are just a few walks from our house so I could just go there if I’m feeling down and just seeing their funny antics, especially the little ones, could already make my day.

When I grow old, some of my friends might be too far away or too busy with their own lives to spend time with each other. That’s  a bit scary, though. But at least I know that when that worst time comes, I still have my cousins to have coffee with. We don’t actually need annual family reunions to see each other because we could always set a special date to be with each other and no amount of busyness could hinder that.

Friends come and go but my cousins will always remain as they are until the end. After all, there’s no such thing is ‘disowning’ your cousins.

Really, thank You Lord for the gift of crazy cousins!

Cousins are often the first friends of your life…. Cousins share your childhood memories. ….No one will ever understand your crazy family like your cousins!!!

The Thankful Thirty Project. Day 2

March 2.

Today, I’m thankful for that one man to whom I owe my whole life to–my Papa.  

My Papa wasn’t an ideal father. Our relationship wasn’t perfect at all. We had our own share of father-daughter spats.

There was an episode in me and my Papa’s lives when we didn’t really talk for almost a year. Blame it on both our sky rise prides. Before I accepted Christ in my life, I was a stubborn, self-absorbed, and rude daughter who used to not think twice before answering back to my parents whenever I think that my position is right. Papa even told my Lola back then that my tongue is like a sword because he always feel wounded whenever I answer back at him. 

When Christ came into the picture, a different kind of change happened. Although I still argue with him but there was already that feeling of hurt, guilt and shame whenever I do that. After the arguments, when I’m already alone in the room, i would contemplate on what had happened and how rude a daughter I was to argue with him. 

I didn’t want to have that kind of attitude towards Papa to go on forever and just stop when I can no longer apologize for those because he’s already gone. I didn’t want to be that kind of daughter anymore. Thus, I surrendered that ill attitude towards Papa to God. 

Gradually and surprisingly, I was able to see the changes in the way we treat each other. There were times when I would feel really pissed of his unending ‘utos’ but those were the times when I was really able to see how God could really change your heart if you will just let Him. Slowly, the arguments lessened until such time that I no longer argued with him. When he was irritable, I will just let him and did as much as i could to do whatever her wanted me to do or asked me to.

I could still vividly remember those nights when i came home from the office and I would just lay beside him after I change clothes and we watched TV together. We no longer fought over GMA-7 and ABSCBN during those times. Instead, we settled on watching old funny movies of Vic Vargas, Eddie Garcia and even Janno Gibbs on PBO and we would laugh together at those movies even if we’d already watched it a number of times already. 

I no longer complain whenever he would make  a lot of ‘utos.’ I found myself just following him and I no longer say ‘teka lang’ or ‘mamaya na’ like I used to.

When Papa passed away in March of 2010, there was that unending pain that I couldn’t explain. Accepting his death wasn’t as hard at all because we’ve seen how he battled with his sickness and its complications. We’ve seen his struggles going ton the comfort room with only one foot and with the help of a crutch or whoever was the person near him that time because his left foot was amputated due to diabetes.

Papa fought with that illness for almost 13 years. In fact we felt that God was extending his life every time we cried out to him about Papa’s condition because there were a lot of incidents when he almost died because of too much complications. That 13 years extension of his life was more than enough for us to really serve him and take care of him and we’re really grateful to God for that extension.

When Papa died, there was pain but it wasn’t as heavy as I feared it to be. Maybe because I know that whatever strife we used to have back then, we had already forgiven each other. We were able to make up for the lost times and we were even more connected after that. There was that different kind of bond after the closure. I would wash his butt after he made poopoo and I would no longer feel irritated like I used to. There was that certain kind of satisfaction that any daughter happily serving her father feels. 

The unending pain that I’m feeling because of his death is for that undeniable fact that my father would no longer be there in the next episodes of my life after his demise. He would no longer be there to witness the upcoming changes or celebrate with me in the future happenings of my life. He won’t be there anymore to walk with me in the aisle and give my hand to that man that God will bless me with. My future babies will no longer have a “lolo” to visit during weekends and they would just know him through the pictures and stories we will show and tell them. 

This pain, I guess, will forever be in my heart, for I know that no matter how happy I’d be in a day, that could not discount the reality that when I go home, there will no longer be that Papa I used to lay beside with while watching old funny films. There will no longer be that man who always happily taunt me whenever he sees me trying on different outfits before leaving home and would jokingly remark “ang cute cute mo talaga! Walang tatalo sa ka-cute-an mo!” 

He may not be the best father of all but I’m very thankful that God made him my father. I wouldn’t want any other dad aside from him. i wouldn’t be the pathfinder person that I am now if not for him. Papa was the most street smart person I know. My love for adventures and going to to try new places and different things were some of his legacies for me. I might not be able to appreciate and love walking if my Papa didn’t let us experience the joys and hardships of walking long miles when I was a kid. I wouldn’t have a clear image of God as a young child if not for Papa.The kind of faith I have now is a picture of the kind of faith I’ve seen in my father, that regardless of your religion, just as long as you have God in your life and you have a relationship with Him, that’s all that matters.