Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Mom Was from Mars and Dad Didn't Mind at All

I'm about to doze off when this lady who has the window seat next to mine decides that it is time for her to go to the bathroom.  Great!  I am never getting my sleep.  I stand to give way to her.  I checked my watch. We've been flying for about ten hours already.  All the while, I have been tossing and turning in my seat.

I am running a temperature, so that does not help.  As the soon as she gets back, I flop on my seat, push it back to recline, and close my weary eyes. I'm about to finally get some sleep when the sun hits my face. When I turned to look, it is her again. She turns her lights on to read when everybody else on the plane is asleep.
If only she knew what I am going through.  I'm about to growl at her when I notice the book that she has in her hands, Men Are from Mars, Women Are from Venus.  It is the same book that Mom added to our library at home.

I never gave it much thought then until now.  Maybe Mom read that book to cope with Dad.  After all, our parents were not spared from the "he said, she said" moments that couples go through. Mom must have complained to Aunt Ligaya dozens of times.

I remember Charie and I being chased by Mom back to our closets to change to our Sunday clothes. When she handed us what she had picked out for us that day, I yelled, "Oh no, I am never wearing that!"

Knowing that Dad often overruled Mom, I made sure that he heard it. True enough, he soon stepped out of the car and came to our rescue. "Dear, let them be."

Before Mom could get us, we had already taken our seats safely inside the car. All she could muster was a big, "HMPH!"

Then, there was Dad's nonchalant ways at home. Once, Mom found us heading out the door without tidying up our rooms.  Being an obsessive housekeeper, she was soon yelling all over the place for not getting any help around the house.  Then, we heard Dad snoring from the upstairs bedroom, overpowering Mom once again. We were about to break out into fits of laughter when we noticed Mom's face turning redder than it already was.  Up to this day, I wonder how he managed to lay there like a bear in hibernation.

Another thing, Dad must have found Mom too outspoken for his taste.  I saw her in action one day when I rode a cab with her.  She asked the driver, "What do you think of Imelda?"  Of all the topics to talk about, why Imelda Marcos?  It was considered a crime punishable by death to speak against the dictator, and much more, against the original Diva that was his wife!

In contrast, Dad was the epitome of self-control. Towards the end of Marcos's rule, he was the legal counsel to the Agrava Fact Finding Board, which was formed to investigate the assassination of Ninoy Aquino. All the while, he kept mum about the whole proceedings.  Nothing from Mom's bag of tricks could make him give up his vow of silence while working on the case.  He was nothing like Adam with Eve, hahaha!

So what kept their hands together like young couples in love until the end?  I guess it was what they did outside our home.  Mom was a volunteer social worker who immersed herself in community projects that uplifted the lives of the poor.  Dad, the straight guy who never bent for anyone in the government,  fought for justice until it hurt him in the end.  I am sure they both found comfort in each others arms at night after work, like two kindred spirits in an imperfect world.

Mom wrote in one of her final letters to us before she passed away, "I would like to infuse the values of love, charity, justice, and hope that each of you will never stop loving and caring for one another, know each others shortcomings, accept them and deal with them, being sure that each maintains his/her individuality. An ounce of respect for such shortcomings would help prevent havoc."

Meanwhile, I am interrupted by the announcement from the captain. "It is a sweltering 40 degrees celsius in Manila," signaling the start of our descent.  In a few minutes,  I will walk the along the corridors of the worst airport in the world, sit in traffic all day long, and read newspapers that only make me feel hopeless for all the poor people around me.  Just the same,  I know that I will never feel at home anywhere else.  Just like Mom and Dad with each other.


  1. hahaha...our Sunday dresses. Yours was the thinner and longer version, mine the shorter and stouter version. But always the same style and fabric. hahaha. i love this sister!

  2. yikes! it's the same scenario happening at the DOMINGO HOUSEHOLD....