Sunday, January 31, 2016

Grit

In the last few years I've always started the year blogging for 30 days. My posts tend to become mundane and random after a few days, but I keep at it so I don't get too rusty at writing. I couldn't get myself to blog early this month because I was busy working on a solution for my son's schooling and I was still grieving over the loss of a friend to over ambition.

Early this morning I was mulling over the fact that I blogged last night, which means I have to write for the next 29 days. I was also thinking about Titay and the fact that when I go home she won't be around to ask me how I am and to hug me. I was also thinking about her life and how she survived living in the US for over thirty years. She had a very fulfilling career as a banker.

As I was reading through my stream I saw this article about fulfilling your goals. It basically said that more than being able to complete one's studies, one of the most important values to have is grit. And I believe Titay, being the headstrong woman that she was, had a lot of grit. I would like to think that I have a lot of grit as well.

In the last four decades of my existence I've had a lot of challenges and in the last decade I had to adjust a lot since my health isn't what it used to be. When I realized that there's a lot of things I couldn't do because of physical limitations I had to be flexible so I could still fulfill my goals. When I see my colleagues go out to complete physical challenges (i.e. trampoline) or go on tours during the haze I don't feel bad or envious because I've accepted the fact that I have limitations. I could just hope for more understanding from those who don't understand what being limited means.

The physical limitations I have do not keep me back from meeting my goals. It just means I have to be more creative and more open to asking for help where needed. Sometimes though I feel sad that I couldn't fly anymore through a forest on a zipline or jump 3 stories high to a raging river or simply go on the Transformers ride at Universal Studios. God only gives us what we could bear and I find comfort when I pray to Him for help.



Saturday, January 30, 2016

Titay

It is in writing that I find solace after losing another loved one.

When I was a young child I thought my Mom had a twin -- Titay. I remember getting confused at times on who my Mom was. I have many memories of Titay growing up. Singing the US National Anthem and the theme song of Mr. Roger's (neighborhood TV show something) in her living room when I was 4. Learning to cross the street in Chicago when I was just 4 years old. I almost stayed behind with her in Chicago then, but I strangely decided I wanted to grow up in Manila.

Our home was never without balikbayan boxes either from Titay or Mama Lola's trips back and forth to the US. We always looked forward to Titay's homecoming because chocolates were bottomless and she'd always cook her yummy lengua. When I was born Titay was already living in the US. It was only in the last few years I found out how she ended up there. She originally wanted to be a cloistered contemplative nun (pink sister), but she wasn't allowed to since she's the eldest. She eventually found a job in the US and left (amidst a lot of protests). My aunt was a very headstrong woman (this stubbornness is apparent in all of us I think).

My Mom and Titay look so much alike.

Titay was very generous and she always knew what you need. I'm not one to buy jewelry, but Titay always makes sure I'm well accessorized and scolds me when I dress up too simply (I got multiple sermons after a TV interview). All of us, her nieces and nephews, got showered with Titay's generosity. Titay had bailed me out of MBA tuition debt after Mom collected some money for her. I would always remember Titay as my most generous Tita.

She moved back home about a decade ago and that was when I got to know a bit more about Titay. At that time I didn't have a boyfriend and Titay always encouraged me to just go out and date! Dad was still so strict then, but Titay always reminded him that I was old enough to go out and date. If not for Titay I would probably have ended up single until now since my Dad had declared then that he will live forever to take care of me (my Dad is so adorable!).

The last few years have been difficult for Titay especially last year when she had a stroke twice. Mom was away the second time it happened, so I went home from Singapore to check on her. We were so worried since at that time Tito Ben was very sick as well. Eventually Titay was discharged from the hospital, but a few weeks later Tito Ben passed away. We didn't know how to tell her, but she surprised all of us by telling us that Tito Ben had visited her and told her it was his time. She took the news very well and eventually  got better and was strong enough to walk around and would insist going to the mall at least once a week.

Last Christmas, Titay insisted she dress up nicely for my Mom's birthday celebration/family reunion (balidosa pa rin!). We just couldn't afford to buy the PhP6,000 sandals she wanted, but she was very happy to see all of us, her nephews and nieces she dotted on throughout the years. Every time I was there she would hug me and tell me she loved me and she'd always give reminders to take care of myself especially when I'm away traveling.

Titay, I know I was the cause of the huge row you and Dad had because you really wanted me to find the right one. You didn't want me to grow old alone. You eventually patched things up and the goal was met -- Sweetie found me! You even threw an amazing despedida de soltera for me just before my wedding. Thank you so much for being my most awesome Tita and for being a pillar in our family. I love you and I will miss you so much.