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Friday, October 05, 2012

The Most Beautiful Woman In My Heart

Memories of my happy childhood were not with other kids. I don't have that many moments with playmates to reminisce but more with bullies in school who tried their luck with me but failed. But if one can call word war and tarayan as things to remember of ones childhood, okay, I'd recant my earlier statement and say I have a book of those moments to tell. But let's leave my bratty days for another time. Instead, the happiest days of my childhood were those spent with my maternal grandmother and my aunts.
 
I was barely a month old when Mama started taking care of me and from then on were inseparable for 8 years.


I stayed with my grandparents on weekdays when my parents need to work and then I get fetched on Fridays to spend the weekend with them in Quezon City. I felt like a ping pong then, but in a very nice way as I got spoiled rotten in the process.

Since my grandparents live in Malabon during my early years, I had my share of experiences with flood. It floods after heavy rains, during high tide and worst, when it rains while it's high tide! The 'abundance' of water didn't make me miserable, but in fact the exact opposite. I had grand times swimming inside the house (eeewww? yeah, it's eeewww), sailing around the living room aboard a giant styro, or wading in panic pretending a shark is after me.

I didn't play with other kids in the neighborhood. I didn't need to because I've got my aunts, all three of them, to keep me amused. I can't recall much of the toys I played with but can narrate in detail how my Tita Maris, my mom's youngest sibling who is only 7 years my senior, and I played 'market-market'. We'd take leaves of various plants from our backyard and pretend they were fishes. I would then buy those fishes with paper money cut out of old newspapers.

I knew all my aunts' crushes and their suitors who would bribe me with chips and Coke so I'd pass their love notes and messages. I was also witness to their strength of characters - hair pulling sessions and shouting matches during their adolescent years. All these sealed my bond with my aunts for good and for life.


When Mama suffered a stroke when I was 8, she had no excuse anymore not to allow me to live with my Mom and Dad. I transferred school and the weekly routine got reversed. I stayed with Mom and Dad on weekdays and with Mama on weekends. Alternately my uncles and aunts would fetch me from Quezon City every Friday. They would take me to shopping first before going home or to Jollibee.

I am not sure when they stopped doing the ping pong arrangement with me, all I know was after a year or two, the weekend visits gradually came to a halt and I found Mama staying more and more frequent with us due to our home's proximity to the hospital where she's having her therapy. As the years passed by, my aunts got married and built their own families. Our Mama then moved from home to home to spend time with her other grandchildren.
 

One of my fondest memories was when she asked me to wear to church a brown dress custom-made by our neighbor/seamstress. It was the feast of St. Anthony and boy, oh boy, my dress was exactly the same as the rebulto's robe!

She loved us all but I will not deny (because no one will believe me, anyway) that she loved me the most. I was her superstar, the center of her universe, the incomparable one. Whenever I come over to spend the weekend with her, she would pamper me like a queen; cook all the dishes that I like, brush my hair, hug me and kiss me (and hug me and kiss me some more).
 
When I watch my children now with my mom or my mother in law, I am reminded of Mama and how she was to me then. I thank God that my kids are given a chance to be cared for, loved and sometimes disciplined by their grannies. It's a necessary and wonderful part of a person's life - to enjoy the presence of grandparents. In my heart I know that I will not be who I am today if not for the overwhelming love my grandmother have showered me with.

Today is my Mama's 12th angel birthday and as I pray for the eternal repose of her soul, I also reminisce and celebrate her beautiful memories.
I love you, Mama.
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