Round yon virgin…no mother, only child
When I was a child, I wanted to see snow fall in December, like all the Christmas songs say it does. I wanted to see a winter wonderland, to experience lovely weather for a sleigh ride.
Now I just want to wake up on Christmas morning to the smell of my mom’s cooking and her voice calling me down for breakfast. I want to see my mom fussing over the food like she always did, always the last person to take her seat during meals, always the perfectionist.
I’ve had the same dream for six Christmases already. What makes this year’s seventh any different? Still, a child of an overseas Filipino worker can dream her little Christmas dream.
In the wake of the magnitude-7.2 earthquake and Supertyphoon “Yolanda,” I realized that more families would be spending their Christmases like mine—that is, far away from each other. That doesn’t comfort me at all. If anything, it makes me sad. I would never wish my last six Christmases (and counting) on anybody.
My dad hates Christmas. It’s that time of the year when he misses Amah (my grandmother) the most and when the harsh reality of being a single parent hits him the hardest. A lot of people are like my dad. They forget what Christmas really is, because life has been too cruel to them. They have lost mothers and fathers, husbands and wives, and maybe even children and grandchildren. They have lost their homes and their whole life’s work. How does one spend a “broken” Christmas?
First, it’s important to never lose the true meaning of Christmas. I don’t mean the last-minute shopping, the well-wrapped presents, the sumptuous feast, not even the company of friends and family. The true meaning of Christmas, the one who gives it its meaning even, is Jesus. The whole world can fall down for all we know, but Jesus—He is Christmas. How can anybody feel anything but joy when love Himself comes into the world as a bouncing baby boy? It is when one loses this most essential of things that one loses Christmas altogether.
Second, don’t spend Christmas alone. The beauty of a Filipino Christmas is that it’s easier to be invited to two parties in one night than to not score an invitation at all. Don’t wallow in self-pity and insist on spending this year in your dirty apartment. Go to church. Attend your school or office Christmas party. Show up at that awkward family reunion. And that neighbor of yours who invites you to his party every year? Stay for more than one drink even if you don’t know anyone. You’re bound to. So go out and have fun.
Last, pick up a phone. Telecommunication company advertisements lie when they show families talking in high-pitched, tickled-pink voices. Forget that they’re at least a gazillion miles away from each other, right? I know it’s all corporate sugarcoating, because I’m an OFW’s kid. Whenever my mom calls, one of us ends up in torrential tears on the other line (Hint: It’s never me). Still, phone calls are better than nothing. When you close your eyes and wish hard enough, that voice at the other side of the world will bring you back to the sweetest of Christmas feelings.
To everyone reading this, especially to my fellow OFWs’ kids, earthquake and/or typhoon survivors, I don’t only wish you a happy Christmas. I also ask you to do whatever it takes to make it a happy one.
Nicholette Legaspi, 20, is a fourth year linguistics and literature student of the University of San Carlos.
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