Monday, December 24, 2012

Parting Gift

She wakes up in the morning when everyone upstairs is still asleep. As the guardian of the little one, she gets out of the sofa, washes her face, and takes the baby from the sleeping parents. The little tyke closes his eyes before everyone does at night. But his sound slumber doesn't mean the end of her work. Sometimes she stays up until midnight to pacify the tantrums of the older one. Some late evenings, she helps the matriarch climb the stairs when my arms are not around to lift her from the chair. 

Whatever I know about her came from other sources. She was twenty five, has five young kids - three of them living with their father. A kasambahay even said that she put one for adoption. Another said she took care of children, whose parents worked in a mining firm. For all her hard work, it took months before we finally spoke. To have conversations. I often distrust outsiders and seldom do I pay attention to non-families at home. 

Despite her tireless dedication; the monotonous days when her eyes are glued to the children; the feeling of being left out when the family eats at a restaurant and she has to tag along as the nanny; what stuck in my head was the time she self-medicated the elder kid by dispensing an adult cough syrup. The incident remained our point of divergence. 

It has never changed ever since.

The rare small talks however didn't stop me from knowing her a little. From overheard conversations, to quiet observations, she revealed herself as human as she could ever be. She goes out for a drink with the lesbian driver when stress knocks her sanity. She tells about her little boys, who has never set foot in a shopping mall. Once, she mentioned that my nephew's broken toys (the ones I hid in the trash bin) are playthings for her children. She even lost all her belongings when her father torched her small house. When asked for the reason of her father's malevolence, she said it's his way of turning to ash the vile memory of her estranged husband.

Trivial, her stories were. But it was these little gems of knowledge that I held close to my chest. Who would have thought at a young age, our nephews' nanny had gone through the most unimaginable of tribulations. Thinking of her children alone - the youngest - as old as my elder nephew, living in sordid, lonely condition in the plains of Tarlac makes me feel how blessed our boys are.

It is this thought, stubbornly marked in my head that lead my feet to the corners of Carriedo. Christmas is a time of giving. What better way to put a smile on someone's face by showing one's generosity where it matters deeply.

Permanence, no matter how we desired was never the nanny's intention. She announced her end of service a few weeks before Christmas. She must go home. Unsure I am, if she spared some thoughts of coming back. With better offers elsewhere, and mouths to feed at home, practicality must reign over emotions.

What I am certain of is her heart is torn apart when thinking of her separation with our kids.

"Higa mo na lang si Diego sa crib." I found her one morning, sleeping next to the younger. Her arms clutching the baby tight.

"Hayaan niyo na kuya," She said in a soft voice. "Hanggang bukas na lang po ako." Respecting her decision, I continued walking, wordlessly, until I reached the stairs.

The nanny departed the next day with farewells and well wishes that lasted longer than the other nannies before. For in our hearts, despite her shortcomings, we felt her sincerity in watching over our little ones.

Knowing that she will return to her kids, whose lives are more uncertain than ours, there was an unspoken consensus at home. Maybe our spirits are fused together when making those who serve us feel at home.

Mom and sister each have their own gifts

The nanny will never come back. But in her heart and those of her sons, a little parting gift in behalf of our little boys - she loved so much - will make them remember.

From Aloy en Totoy (Diego and Lenin)

It is in the spirit of giving that we make life enriching.

Merry Christmas, Everyone!


JM said...

nice. very touching..

Mistersandiman.... said...


gillboard said...

Merry Christmas Joms!!!

LJ said...

Merry Christmas Joms! :D

Archieviner said...

Goosebump! natouch ako.

Merry Christmas Joms :)

ZaiZai said...

That was a touching'll each be a part of each others lives..

Merry Christmas Mugen! :)

Tim Smithson said...

hays- sa lahat ng naka basa na touch- ibahin ko nalang comment ko.

Pero na touch ako ah. hehehe.

Hapi New Year Mugen, sana next year mag kikita na tayo.. Bisitahin mko sa blog ko.