TOWARDS THE end of our balikbayan vacation, I realized that it wouldn’t be possible to meet all the people I had hoped to see, even with around half a week left.
For every person I was actually able to meet, there were around five to 10 people I failed to engage as promised. For every gathering that was thoughtfully organized for me, there was an equivalent event that I declined or had to cancel at the last moment.
I sincerely apologize and plead poor planning and inconsiderateness on my part; I assure you that though the preponderance of efforts to meet tends to your side, the loss is mine to regret. The obvious lesson here is to plan more carefully, set aside more time, and be more solicitous of other people’s expectations, energies and willingness to meet little old me.
*** *** *** *** ***
There was one singular occasion when I felt like a fortysomething kid, and it was because I met people who helped take care of me growing up. These people were with me during the good times, and inevitably during part of the bad times as well, when I wasn’t so easy to be with. Thanks to a fortuitous birthday shindig organized for her by generous Tita Lily, I met last Thursday the 19th Tita (Aunt) Amy and her husband Tito (Uncle) George.
Tita Amy as a young accounting apprentice also brought me to nursery school, helped me bathe, wiped my bum and talked me through all those afternoon naps so my cheeks would grow rosier and my toddler bones would grow longer.
Tito George was her stoic suitor with whom she would play Carpenters 45s on the phonograph, over and over, while I wondered why she ever gave him the time of day. Decades later, when he would become a crafty and extremely successful agent of industrial commodities, and turned out to be not so stoic after all, gave me the hard lessons of life, without much varnish and even less garnish.
Together they were the classic baby boomer couple who almost non-chalantly achieved the Filipino dream, and produced in their brood the Ateneo lawyer, HSBC VP and Montessori teacher. In the process they (again) talked me through the highs and lows, smooth and rough spots, and probably because had some emotional investment in me, were in equal parts concerned, alarmed and proud when I became a husband, dad and middle-ager myself, wondering where all those years went.
It was a chance for me to be a kid again when I recounted all my adventures overseas, and they had to give wry smiles and winks when I introduced to them esposa hermosa for the first time.
Though it had been some time since we last met, it was like we had just resumed a long-running conversation on life and love, and it took off like we had never stopped.
I hope it won’t be too long before we meet again, Tito and Tita. Meeting you was one of the highlights of my trip !