Showing posts with label love. Show all posts
Showing posts with label love. Show all posts

Saturday, March 03, 2012

Houses And Homes

My old family home was a one and a half structure with rooms on the second floor, built on a 1000 square meters corner lot. The stairs had about 10 steps and as young kids we would slide down the long balustrade. We lived here for 26 years but unfortunately due to circumstances beyond our control, the possibility that we would lose this house was looming after 1985 and so, looking at our options, we could either build a new house or move into my father's ancestral home which was no longer occupied by then since my grandmother stayed in Manila most of the time.
My family home in 1962 just before we bought it from it's original owners
My father's ancestral home was even bigger. It was a two story structure with rooms and living areas both in the first and second floors. My grandmother as she grew older found it hard to stay in her second story room, so we had to move her downstairs. It was during this time that I saw how hard it was to maintain a large house and how dangerous stairs were, not only for old people but for kids as well. I remember my grandmother getting a minor nervous breakdown every time we would go careening down the stairs and jumping from the stairwell down to the dining area as a short-cut. My brother would also dangle his body from the second floor balcony so that my aunt would sneak up behind him and grab him to safety. 
Since I was already working by this time, I decided to apply for a housing loan and with God's grace, got it approved. You see, it was going to be cheaper and more practical for us to build a new house rather than pay the bank for our old and dilapidated home. My mom was able to buy a 400 square meter lot in a neighboring subdivision and this is where we built our new house in 1988. I designed it in such a way that it will be a compact one story house with 4 bedrooms with T/B and NO STEPS.  It was going to be small because I thought the people who would live there would just be my parents, my 2 brothers and I, our 2 household helpers and our beloved german shepherd, April.  I was wrong...when my dad died suddenly in 1991, my maiden aunt moved in with us (my maternal grandmother who also passed away 3 months earlier built a house next door to us) together with her foster child and maid. Then I adopted my son 2 months after my dad died. Today in our home, we are 8 adults, 1 child and 1 dog ( Cookie, a black lab, this time), and the itinerant cat. I am not kidding :)  We used to be 9 adults, until my aunt's foster daughter moved out when she got married.  My brother was no longer living at home after 1990. Of the 8 adults, there's my mom, brother, son, aunt, cook, laundrywoman, nanny and I.  Oh, and I forgot our gardener who comes twice a month.  Can you imagine how crowded and the noise emanating from this house?  We even get visitors who sleep over now and then, and there's always a flow of people coming daily at home, from cathechists, kids my mom helps to send to school, seminarians, parochial teachers, etc...etc...etc...By golly! the house needs traffic lights when this happens. HAHAHAHA!  Although the house was not meant to accommodate this number of people, it doesn't really matter because the love, support, care, concern that we all have for each other is without measure. What matters is that we are one happy family and this is our home.
Our house, our home-built in 1988
 "A house is made of walls and beams;
a home is built with love and dreams."
-- Unknown
  "Call it a clan, call it a network, call it a tribe or call it a family. Whatever you call it, whoever you are, you need one."
-- Jane Howard (1933-1966), American journalist and writer
 "Love begins at home, and it is not how much we do...but how much love we put in that action."
-- Blessed Mother Teresa (1910-1997), Saint, world humanitarian and founder of the Missionaries of Charity

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Seeing Adoption in a Different Light

I have 2 children...a 20 year old son and a 3 year old daughter. People not in the know would almost always ask...Why such a huge gap between the two?  I understand their curiosity because if I were in their place, I would wonder too.  And so, I would always take the time to explain that my children are adopted.  But it wasn't always that easy when my son was growing up... not because I wanted to keep it a secret.  On the contrary, by the time he was 4, my son knew that I was not his only mother and that he had another one who gave birth to him.  The act of adoption, fostering and guardianship were nothing new or strange to my family.  There was always an adopted aunt, cousin, nephew and niece in the past and present generation, so it wasn't like being adopted was such a big deal to us.  But you see, I used to think that saying he is adopted would make people treat him differently and I did not want that.  I get so tired of people telling me (and him) how lucky he is; they forget that through this boy I was given the gift of motherhood and therefore "lucky" works both ways.  So to avoid this and other insensitive comments, I would ask my mom to just introduce him as my son.  Of course, my mom after doing so and once my son was out of hearing distance, would always make clarifications since she did not want people to think I had a child out of wedlock. In fact, one funny story was when my son enrolled as a college freshman and the person interviewing him used to be a co-professor of my mother when she was still teaching in that university.  He looked at his papers and asked him if his mother was me and of course, my son said yes. My son laughingly told me about it when he got home and described the incredulous look on the professor's face. Surely, the very next day this professor called my mom to ask about it, saying "just last month I saw your very single daughter and yesterday, this boy tells me she is his mother!...How in heavens name can she have a son as huge as this boy in such a short time?"  Hahahahaha!  My mom had a good laugh and explained to him, that I have an adopted son.  Today I say the word "adopted" freely because I soon realized that by not saying it gives it an even more negative connotation, as if being adopted was something to be ashamed of.  My experience taught me that avoiding the word even though we never kept his being adopted a secret only made me more defensive and protective of my son, which did not help him as he was growing up.  In fact, bullies in school picked on him just because he had better clothes, better things and was much more well taken cared of as compared to them who had "real" parents.  It was as if he had no right to be better than any of them because after all he was just the son of a servant girl. I am glad that my son has surpassed all these challenges with grace and dignity. He knows he is loved unconditionally by us and not surprisingly, because he is so caring, friends from elementary and high school continue to seek him out.  He will be 21 in 2 months time and has grown to be a reliable, protective and loving man.  And he proudly says that he is adopted.  And my little girl?  After having my son, I never thought I would be raising another child.  When he was in Grade 5, he begged me to have a brother or a sister but I refused, mainly for financial reasons.  But God works in mysterious ways.  After 18 years, I was given a daughter or maybe more age-appropriate, a granddaughter ;) ?  She came for a visit when she was 5 months old and decided to stay :) Yes, she is a handful at 3 years of age but gives us a lot of love and happiness.  We are all under her spell.  As to her future...her "Dada" (the name she calls my son) who loves her to bits and who together with my mom convinced me to keep her, has promised to pay it forward.  God in his infinite wisdom chose to let this baby survive in spite of the odds and made a way for her to come to us.  It is a small miracle that she is so normal, very bright and healthy.  Who am I to question the will of God?

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Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Time On My Hands

What does one do when one is suddenly given 60 days to do nothing? The possibilities are endless...I can



(photo courtesy of DLFC/Grace)
(photo courtesy of DLFC/Grace)

and love...
something that I am constantly surrounded with by my family who I know loves true friends who support me whatever happens, and most importantly, I now know how much God loves me.

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