Monday, September 17, 2012

Letter to Graciela

May 6,2011 12:05 a.m.
Dear Graciela:
Congratulations for reaching another milestone in your young life. High School.
 Now, you are just about ready to step into the college before you usher in full adulthood.
I really would like to applaud your mom for really pushing for this book of wishes and memories. It is such a beautiful mommy idea.
My daughter, your cousin, Marina just turned 8 yesterday....and I also wished that I could have thought of something similar.
  As parents, we wish for you, our children, to do spread your wings and reach new heights, but, at the same time, we want for you to have developed your roots...that will keep you grounded. Memories and links and bonds to your blood relations is one way of establishing this.
Soon, I will be giving birth to another addition to the clan. I am told it is going to be another girl. I prepared the name Ana Marcelina. Ana from my name Angelli Anne and Marcelina from your great grandmother in your mom’s side.
Mama Marcelina, as we call her is one strong character. I do have very fond memories of her. I was I think, 9 or 10 years old. I was somehow, so frail and thin. Result of being a picky eater.
 One night before bedtime, she gently pulled me to the dinning room, and offered me a glass of ice cold milk.
It was such a novelty. It was such a treat. I never took milk in a glass, nor with ice and at that time of the day. Ever.
And you know what, without any fuss, I drank it. And I thoroughly enjoyed it. Maybe, because, I was in a very a rare situation. My grandmother mixing me a glass of milk, giving it to me tenderly...that I could not refuse...If I am not mistaken, I somehow was lactose intolerant until that point. Milk would make me gag and throw up. Wonders of wonders in that crystal did not. It was like those milk ad moments.
Goes to show, that any small act of kindness or love....will go a very long way in making the heart...really be filled with joy. Mama Marcelina did not say much. She just watched me drink the milk. Her presence that time and the lingering memory of that incident has made me feel loved and warm. Never alone. Never forgotten.
Now, I want to share with you a fond memory of your mom’s mom...we call her Auntie Nita. I remember your grandmother, my dad’s sister, as the one who was so careful with her appearance. I will never forget her instructions to us girls...or to the teenagers among us, not me definitely that time.. on how to augment your breast size naturally. She shared to us, how to do it. And, secretly, I did it...when, bra size, started to matter to me. Did it work? I am not so sure. But, it sure made me remember her so much. And there was the time, Auntie Nita, initiated the making of Persimmons jam. I think, if I am not mistaken, she brought a big bulk of tomatoes from Baguio that time. She was raving about how it can be made into jam as similar as Persimmon jams. It was such a by word. It clicked and we all ended up trying to peel soft boiled tomatoes while they were still a bit warm to the touch. She says, it was how it was supposed to be done. I think, I was about 7 that time. All the other Aunties were there, Auntie Lily ( Cid)...Auntie Cora (Paras) and maybe ( not sure ) Auntie Nedz ( the madre)....and most of my siblings. Amidts all the oohs and the ahhs of handling warm tomatoes to peel off....we soon realized, Auntie Nenita or Nita was nowhere to be found. I think, she slipped away unnoticed to do some shopping in the nearby Barter Trade Market ( the equivalent now of bazaars in Greenhills etc.) with great bargains of imported items. People would usually go to Zamboanga City just to do shopping in the then famous Barter Trade Market. This was around the late 1970’s. When her absence was finally noticed....her other sisters were already almost halfway done with the jams, figuring out how it would be done, on their own, without the expert tutelage of the initiator.
I learned early on, that was one of your grandmother’s traits. A trait, which somehow , finds it presence in most of my ways....I start then don’t finish ....most of the time.
Don’t get me wrong, it was such a charming memory of Auntie Nita...who I noted to be a carefree spirit who loved to laugh and enjoy life. I will forever have her memory in Grandma Marcelina and Grandpa Calixto’s 50th Golden wedding anniversary, where her gown was really fetching.
It complimented her really slim and trim figure. It was a halter v-necked gown, bare back with a big rose in between her breasts. I think it was in brown. She was really beautiful in her gown. If I am not mistaken, your mom had a complimenting mother daughter gown with her.
I was still 4 or 5 at that time...but browsing through the albums....always made me so much in awe of her photo. Maybe something, I still have yet to find the guts and courage to put on something similar in the near future. Hahahaha....
I hope....I made you feel good with my short trip down memory lane with your direct ancestors. One thing is for sure, we may be separated by miles and miles of land and water....the bonds of blood will always be there. And they are as thick as we want to make it.
Again, I pray that the Lord keep you in His care, protection and mighty providence at all times. In all your small and big decisions, make your mom proud of you. She is your first and probably biggest cheerleader. I should know....I am a mom too. Do listen and keep her teachings to you in your heart. Always. It is meant for your good and nothing more. God Bless and God speed in all your endeavours. Yours, Auntie Ni-Anne de Leon- Espinoza

Friday, September 14, 2012

Happy Birthday Mom!

It is my mom’s birthday today! I woke up very early with thoughts on her. I looked at either sides of me at my 2 lovely daughters in deep sleep. I remembered my be even just half of what a good mother my mom was to me to them. How could I ever forget what she did for me? It was 1997. A cyst in my right breast area was oozing blood and something else. Mom was with me processing papers so I could have it operated on. All throughout this going about...she was in a most serious countenance. Then when I had to walk into the operating room lost in the billowing thick green curtains, I had to go back out to the waiting room. I felt lost. I felt scared. That is when I caught sight of her. Clutching her rosary, she was in the deepest state of prayer. As I neared her..she opened her eyes slowly and looked at me. Sensing me even when I did not make any sound. She looked at me with such seriousness that made me a bit uneasy. She said, “ Ni, whatever that is, I already asked God to give it to me instead.” All I could muster was a weak, Ma! I wanted to tell her Dont! Take it back Mom! Almost a year after that she was diagnosed with Nasopharynx cancer stage 4. I saw her struggle bravely. She surpassed the time frame set on her. She even told me to hurry up on my wedding date she could still be part of it. Funny, our target was January 28,2001. I vacillated. I hesitated. Well, it was her scheduled time to meet her maker. Many , many times, she has made me feel her love for me, now that she is gone physically from us. Telling me how great and powerful a mother’s love is. It can surpass the barrier of death. Giving me no reason not to love my daughters more and more. And to correct them less and less. Over my hot cup of coffee this morning, as I watched my 9 year old go about fussing with her hair..I admired the curve of her calf and her shoes. I said, Mari, your legs remind me of grandma Lily’s legs. Then, I said, looking back, I have no regrets, Mari. I never broke her heart Mari. Silently wishing and praying that know, the same from her. In Jesus mighty name. We can really come to heads and horns with her a lot like a stubborn ram. Oh...just as well, love more. Correct less. Ma, I know, your are enjoying the distant, verdant sunny hills of heaven now. I just want you to know, that I am grateful...thankful, that God gave you to me. I was your Anna Banana. I now know how you felt, when people admired us for our being ourselves...without doing anything at all. I now know, but oftentimes forget....cause now, I am a mom now too. Twice over. Victoria Marina and Ana Marcelina. Mari and Lilli. Thank you Lord for the gift of mothershood. Greatness in simplicity.

Thursday, September 6, 2012

My Momentary Indiscretion

The K-Stew scandal over the fling with the SnowWhite and the Huntsmen director brought out a backlash of comments mostly centered on the not so naive 22 year old actress of the Twilight saga. A lot of comments and criticism came back and forth in all angles. Liberty Ross, the 4th party in the affair, was quite mum about it. I am sure, she has a lot stored in her chest. I am quite definite as well, she had to explode somewhere or somehow. Imagine!!! Your husband frolicking with a very young actress with the world as an audience, thanks and no thanks to techie cameras. So, did they really throw care and caution to the wind?? Or, did the cheating couple really wanted to get caught, so it may somehow help their movie rating go up? Was it all a ploy to make the box office bell ring? We really wouldn’t know unless we can see through their hearts and minds. Well, since my last health scare of August 4, my mother in law was so kind enough to come and help me care of the kids for 2 weeks. It was a very nice time for the grandmother to bond with her grandchildren. It was also a perfect time to get some things off my chest. I dunno. But, I felt, I needed to let her know, that I, too, in my 40’s almost got myself embroiled in a not so good affair. My husband , bless his soul, was in the know, from day 1. So, maybe, this is just my chance to come clean with myself and anyone who cares to listen and understand. No, this is not my attempt to get my 60 second of fame. Not at all. Like I have constantly said, my writing is my armchair psychotherapy. It makes me sane. It keeps me balanced. So, I write whatever I like too...just to get them out a deep cleaning exhale. And this is how it started... My husband has been working overseas for 2 years already. We were just rounding off his yearly vacation. It was a full packed one. We decided to get pregnant after 8 years planning and holding and deciding. I was going through the rough phase of infanticipating. I was a bit in a hormonal roller coaster ride. Terrible. I was missing hubby already weeks before his departure back to Doha. I was dreading the thought of spending Christmas without him while I was pregnant. Then we had a spat a few days before he left. It really hurt deep. I could not get over the words he lashed out. And so, we brought him to the airport, without a proper reconciliation. On the way back, while in traffic, a text message came in while I was still going through the pain and numbness of the goodbyes. Marina was crying. I checked the cel. I was blinking away the tears trying to figure out who was texting and digesting the message. Whew! A blast from the past. A past flame. A childhood crush. He came into my life with that text message and decided to stay a while. After the text, came an email detailing his life. Then online chats. More text messages. In short, he was searching for a life partner. And, I needed someone to talk to. Someone who is there to listen and who accidentally loves to read my blogs. I pulled up the S.O.S. flag to some chosen friends one of which was my good friend who happens to be a priest. I said, help! Slippery slope to a serious case of an emotional affair. I preferred talking to him than my husband. I told my aunt who happens to be a nun to storm heaven for me. And so, I knew what I was going into. And I knew, that each step I took would take me deeper into the snare of wrong doing. But, as in amazing grace... I was saved and prevented taking the next steps by many instances of grace. Then, I had to make the decision to cut off the communication. He asked me if I was sure. I knew in my head and mind to say YES...but, it was a weak one, since he got hold of some heartstring long long ago...still trying to cut off in those moments. And so, as they say, make the decision first, then everything will follow. Not without struggle of course. And so, it was a lesson learned. I was capable of being weak. But....the grace of God was sufficient. He blocked some avenues for me with blinking NO ENTRY signs. And I yielded. So, thank God, I never got to have coffee or anything else with Romeo Jose. Thank God, I did not expose my unborn baby to my occasion of possible offence. Which may have casted doubt on her conception. Heaven forbid. God is so good. God is so great. So, for Kristen Stewart, I understand how we can become weak in the knees if someone comes into our life giving us the very thing that we need. Maybe, a genuine smile . Perhaps, a steady presence that tells you are special or being thought of truly. Or even just a listening ear or an arm of support that may have been absent from your significant other. Or maybe just a bit of excitement...that make your heart throb faster....makes you catch your breath now and then in awe. So, my temporary indiscretion may not have played out in steamy photos in public...Thank God... But, it was more than enough for me to understand, how one can really get frail...but, the will is still there. Never give it up! Values of family and life are more important. God can just got to let Him.