The years are shorter when we’re older.
So I heard from a birthday celebrator today who’s a friend of my sister’s. Her husband was the Elvis fan. Both are Filipinos. But their kids are Dutch or at least raised as such by the environment they were born in.
Now I remember my parents back in Manila. I hope they’ve had a good life, and still do, more so now. I know life has not always been good to them, but I hope they had and are having a blast living it.
My mum is turning 60 in two months, my dad 67 in seven. Ten years ago, my mum was 50, my dad 57. I was 18, falling in love for the first time, cramming my homeworks away, figuring out where I was headed in life.
I don’t recall my parents being in their 40s, or at least maybe I was not aware. That idea makes my eyebrows meet to cause a confused look on my face I can feel it, trying to search my long-term memory for clues on where I was, what I was preoccupying myself with, that I likely failed to notice the youth of my parents back then. A slight guilt beckons.
But I shove the past aside, or more succinctly, I refuse to remember our life of long ago, lest memories of ill family scenes come crawling back. I just want to forget, as I have long learned from it and keep moving on as I, and we, are doing now. It’s not a perfect family. I doubt such a thing exists. But we live a good life now. Each of us. If there are remnants of the dark years so-to-speak, we keep them locked in, consciously and proactively. We thank God and the universe for hoisting us to where we are now.
I overheard the birthday celebrator sharing with my sister that, when her younger child moved out of the house, she was more emotional than when her older one did. She admitted it was probably because he was the bunso (youngest).
Walking home tonight, with my sister, her husband, and the baby lagging a bit behind me (I almost always walk faster than anyone), I wondered if I was a delight as well to my parents, me being the fifth, hence the baby in the family.
Was I extra special to my parents?
Did I cause them more happiness, or more pain, or more pride? Or more of those ache-suffixed feelings: heartache, headache, stomachache, even wallet-ache?
Did I give them a distinguished type of joy?
Did I cause them more sleepless nights than any of my four sisters did?
How many times did I cause them teary eyes?
Did my innocence as a child suffice?
Was my laughter enough to make them smile? Or did my smartassness as an adult irk them?
Did I listen enough to their spoken and action-speaks-louder-than-words life lessons?
Did they really give me more than they’ve ever given anyone?
Am I living my life well enough to prove I’m worth their sacrifice?
How about you?