Just today I woke up to a facebook photo my cousin posted. I went ahead and looked, I approved the requested tag immediately and felt so nostalgic. I remember that day. I was in my bedroom and papa and mama along with her side of the family all went to visit her uncles and aunts on her mom’s side. I remembered her telling me that she won’t bring me since almost all of her siblings are coming with her as well as nanay (grandma) so there’s no more room. That was fine with me. I was like – well I can sleep in! And then around noon time, ninang (godmother, my aunt-dad’s side) told me to go take a quick shower. We are going to Tagaytay. She never asked if I wanted to go with them, I never asked who will I go with, aside from here of course. I just went straight to the bathroom and showered quickly. If you are familiar with the weather in the Philippines, it is mostly humid and generally hot. But Tagaytay is one of the cooler and comfortable places to go, especially during summer. It is even cooler in Christmas season and that’s when we went (if I’m not mistaken it was around December then). So after shower, I rummaged through my closet and found a warm jacket – papa’s old jacket that is! I don’t even know how papa fit in that tiny jacket, it was just the perfect size for me.
So, we left with my cousins, titos (uncles) and titas (aunts). Unlike most families, I didn’t care if my parents weren’t there, my brother wasn’t there, all I cared about was going with them. I know for sure when we get together we are going to have a great time. Don’t get me wrong, I love my parents and my brother to bits and I love being with them but there’s something about us cousins not caring about who we are with as long as we are with family. Doesn’t matter if our immediate family’s not there, again as long as we are with family – we are happy.
I guess now that we have all grown into old (but wiser) beasts, we came into terms that family isn’t classified as immediate, second degree, third degree – but just generally family. I am beyond happy when family members get together during birthdays, weddings, random Sundays and sad to say even on funerals. But there’s something about getting together that even the saddest of the funerals we’ve been, when family’s together, we are stronger – happier.
I appreciate our elderlies more now than before. I see my aunts and my uncles as my parents and my cousins as my brothers and my sisters. Now that some of my cousins have kids, I hope that the relationship will continue in their generation, the family dynamics, the individual attitudes, the helping hand and just plain love will continue to spread to every family member as we face our demanding everyday.
I am especially thankful to my lola (grandma) for opening our eyes and introducing us to this kind of a relationship, not just to family but people around us. I will forever be grateful for my family and the life I live today. Now that I am half the world away, I want my kids to have the same attitude and principle in life – love strengthens relationships and family comes first.