Monday, January 22, 2007

My Mother's Choice

She chose to be with my grandmother. You see, my grandma is the only grandparent I have left. She's 85 years old and is in Negros Occidental right now. My mother spent sleepless nights and teary days for the past couple of days since my grandma went to the hospital and became too weak. We were all scared she's not gonna make it. Good thing my grandma is holding on. But no one can stop my Ma from crying and going home to the province. I guess she's just overcome with grief and guilt.

My mother is lucky to have such generous and loving relatives to lend her financial help. I know we cannot afford the plane tickets ourselves so her cousin from the States bought them for her. She's leaving on Friday to look after my grandma. Yes, I have my aunts and uncles there with my Lola but my Ma wants to be there herself and I understand that. Don't get me wrong, I love my grandma very much. I even write her cards and send her pictures of us every once in a while. I wish we could all be there with her but it's just not possible right now.

Everything could have been going well, but you see it's my father's birthday on Saturday. He's turning 65. He's getting old too and he has his own insecurities and issues we have to put up with. Of course, if he was given a choice, he'd rather go with my mother and I'm sure we, kids, wouldn't mind. Here's what makes it more complicated. My mother was planning to buy a cheap cell phone for my father for his birthday. That means, there is still a small amount of money that can be used up just in case my father wants to go. I know my father really wants to go because he's been mentioning it non-stop for the past couple of days too. I know he'd rather be with her on his birthday.

So here's what I did. I asked my mother why won't she ask my father what he wants for his birthday. If he prefers not to have a new cellphone and would rather spend it for the fare going to the province, then he can choose how to use the money. Besides, it's his birthday gift. My mother said no. She said she wants to focus on my grandma and doesn't want to be distracted by my father's needs.

My mother's flight is gonna be this Friday. My sister gasped, "But it's Papa's birthday!" My mother said she's gonna choose her mother over anyone else. My father replied, "Who am I anyway?" I wanted to cry. I didn't understand. Maybe because I'm not in her place. Maybe because I'm not overrun with guilt. Maybe because I thought when you marry someone you choose to make your own family and make them your priority. Maybe because I pitied my father. Maybe because I knew she didn't have to choose. My father can go with her and all of them can be there. I'm sure my Lola would wanna see my father too. How can she be so selfish?

Pardon my ramblings as a confused daughter. I just don't know how to handle this. I don't know how we can handle the days when my mother's gonna leave and my father's gonna complain about being left here. He can be a handful sometimes. I'm just glad my sis came back last night. At least we can look forward to the weekends and spend time together. I'll just try to make my father's birthday a happy one for him despite my mother's absence.

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