It’s Friday casual. As usual, I will hide from Mahal after posting this w/o her knowledge. 😉
[ Note : “high definition” : high resolution, greater detail often on a wide format of viewing. “Bonding” : Establish a relationship with someone based on shared feelings, interests, or experiences. Thanks for reading this extra long post! ]
AN ETERNITY AGO, when there were more sons and daughters in my age group than mothers or fathers, I often bristled at the slightest impression that any parent of my contemporaries had a favorite (or worse, favorites) in their brood. Bad enough that the folks had to apportion their affection among multiple offspring, were they that awful that they couldn’t even distribute such affection equally?
Many years later, now to be exact, I know now this inequitable maldistribution of wealth to be an unfortunate but inevitable fact of life. Should you ask, it’s because the naive son has become a naive father (and quite possibly a naive lolo in the near future, need you ask again), and mainly because one, there is simply no way love and affection, spoils and favors can be dealt out in a perfectly symmetric way to sons and daughters. Two, in your brood there is always the one who seeks you out just a little more, appreciates you more and is a little more demanding of your time. The resulting surplus of communication and appreciation, despite what many parents deny, is what manifests itself as a show of favorite/s, the Joseph among the Twelve or maybe John the Beloved among the Apostles.
So it shouldn’t be too much of a shock for me to tell you that whoever among Panganay, Ganda and Bunso communicate, share more of their time and show a little more concern more often is for that particular point in time my favorite. I’m too old now to worry about offending them, they all know that I love them as much as I love myself (which is a lot), but then and now whoever is closer to me is that, closer.
That evening it was Bunso, who on his own asked if he could have dinner with Mahal and me, which of course we obliged as we hadn’t seen him much since he got his first job, and then his second job at a superpopular cafe chain. Engaging with people is a natural skill with him, so we were so happy when he made the move.
Except that between this dinner and the last, I was unaware that Bunso had quickly grown from a laugh-a-minute, outspoken and gregarious individual into a brooding, intense and introspective 18-year old. Sure he was still talkative, animated as life itself, and never shied away from controversy, if it meant defending the things he stood for.
But there was a seriousness with him, a loss of innocence that only a recent milestone of adult life could’ve made possible. Yes Mahal, Bunso had fallen in love. And was fortunate enough to have survived it.
In so many words he told us that it was both an exhilarating and sobering experience, but that was it. No other juicy tidbits. We were privileged to have been part of his milestone, yet respected his privacy enough not to ask further. It was all I could do to restrain myself from asking a million and one questions, for after all could you blame me for thinking that the baby, the youngest of the litter, was now nearly a full-grown man?
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Beyond this, Bunso also told us something we hadn’t expected. Panganay, from whom we hadn’t heard for some time, was down with something, but couldn’t tell us what.
It was high time for me to give Panganay a long overdue call. Overdue mainly because he had been busy with his stuff, but also because the latter didn’t sound too much like he needed any presence other than friends and the current ladylove of his life, who I was also more than a little curious to see. Almost immediately after Bunso left the next day, I called.
Anak, kumusta ka na? Ano na’ng nangyayare sa buhay mo? I wanted to know all about his mystery ailment, but also wanted to give him the chance to open up first.
“Wala Pa, may nabugbog lang akong muscles and full bed rest ang recommend ng doc.”
I knew his condition was a tad more serious than he let on, so I probed a little further.
Kailangan mo raw ng medical procedure anak?
“Oo, pero nagiipon pa ako.” That last statement of independence melted me a little, so I tried a half-joke, half-expression of concern.
Kung barya na lang ang kulang anak, tawagan mo kami agad ni Tita H. I think he knew we were half serious because Mahal reinforced the offer a minute later.
Now, on to more important matters.
May girlfriend ka na raw Anak? At superganda pa according to Bunso? At supersexy? 😉
“Linoloko lang kayo ni Bunso” Panganay stammered, but more out of modesty than anything.
Anak, I semi-scolded him, kapag sinabing maganda ang syota mo, umoo ka na lang. At kapag sinabing sexy ang GF mo, sabihin mo OO NGA.
We both had to laugh at that.
We couldn’t end the call without an offer to cook him and his new girlfriend an authentic, adobo and sinigang Pinoy dinner very soon. Hopefully, while he’s convalescing from his momentary setback.
The moments are few and far between, but when you reconnect with the younger generation, you feel a bit younger again, and the years of your youth come back for a while. It’s even better when the reconnection is with your own kids.
Before I forget, may I just add one more crazy piece of advice for you after reading this blog, from someone who has no business giving advice anyway : try bonding with your chikitings about things they care about, things they do and things that affect their everyday lives. It just might work one of these days.
thanks for reading!
[ Postcript : Just in case you feel Ganda might be left out here, her boyfriend is an above average basketball player, so anytime I watch one of their Pinoy community league games, I can bond with them easily. So there. 🙂 ]