I’m the middle child in a brood of 10, now all “over the hill.” Our parents passed on quite early to the Great Beyond, a few years before they reached 60. Thus, we consider it a milestone and a good reason to celebrate every time one of us turns sexagenarian, or becomes a senior citizen.
It’s our bonus years, having outlived our parents and surpassed their age. We siblings have fewer children than our parents had—6, 5, 4, 3, 2 and 1 — which could have meant less stress for us, and longer lives.
I turned out lately to be the most outspoken and straightforward among six sisters. I call a spade a spade. I think my past jobs that needed exercise of authority or control of proceedings could be attributed to my strong, tough demeanor. Not mincing words, and not necessarily meaning it, I sometimes end up getting involved or dragged into conflicting, opposing stands on some personal, political, controversial, ethical or professional issues.
Through the years, this characteristic has been taken against me by some people through direct or indirect ways, or through veiled attacks on social media. I lose nothing when I choose to ignore bashers, or stoop down to a lower level. I’m preoccupied with better things to do and attend to.
No two individuals are exactly alike, not even twins. I learned that in general psychology decades ago. It’s no wonder, then, that even blood relatives have different personalities, different strokes, with varying tastes, moods, likes, dislikes and interests.
In our ever-growing clan, there are many activities that we share interest in and make time for once in a while — malling, get-togethers, family reunions, picture-taking, sharing plants or books, striding, traveling, small talk, big talk.
We celebrated our late father’s centennial six years ago. In a few weeks, it’s our late mother’s turn to be honored. Three generations — children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren — from near and far will be together again in one venue, this time in Southern Luzon, to focus once more on our roots, our beloved parents.
My small home décor says it all: “FAMILY. Like branches on a tree, we may grow in different directions, yet our roots remain as one. Each of us will be a special part of the other.” We all look forward to our Nanay Juaning’s centennial celebration, making sure that I involve our grownup children.
Despite the constantly changing times, I’ve personally kept the Filipino tradition of “mano po” or offering the elders’ right hand for the younger ones’ forehead, a gesture of respect, greeting and blessing. And so, on our Nanay’s centennial celebration, there will be lots of the traditional mano po, beso-beso, hugging and updating on each other’s lives. My youngest daughter and her family, now based in Europe, are taking a long-haul flight from a Scandinavian country to join us in our once-in-a-lifetime event.
Whatever misunderstandings between relatives shall be set aside for our Nanay Juaning’s sake. And, of course, for Tatay
Yuning’s sake, too. Rivalry? No! It’s revelry, whether you agree with me or not. It’s a boring, dull world if everybody agrees with everybody else on every issue. There are lead stars and contravidas in reel life. It’s the same in real life.
Whether we loved too little or too late, let’s leave it to our Creator to be the supreme judge. I thank the Lord, my deceased parents, my siblings, my four daughters and six grandchildren, and my hundreds of Facebook, Messenger and Viber friends for all the beautiful phases in my life. Everything happens for a reason. Let it be.
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Kat Viacrucis, 67, loves adventures and challenges, and leads thankless activities.
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