Saturday, July 13, 2013

The Steward

A week would not pass without the matriarch instructing me to withdraw some cash. The money sourced from the bank is the lifeblood of the house. This is where the wages of the helpers come from. The food on the table, which we buy in Divisoria every week also trace their beginnings here.

Since last summer, my mom has started setting provisions for my nephews' needs as well. She would say, "dalawang pamilya ang binubuhay ko," every time we have an argument, to which I reply, "bakit kailangan ganun?"

She would just smile and change the topic.

I am privy to these spending - including the list of groceries I have to buy every month - because the task of finding a teller machine and making sure the money gets home fall under my shoulders. The responsibility has never been given to anyone - not even to my sister - since the lesbian driver went abroad. Once, my sister volunteered to withdraw the money for her after she could not rely on my commitment. My mom turned down the offer. I didn't bother to find the reason nor learn of my sibling's reaction. But I think the secrecy stems out of fear of disclosing how much money we have left.

Keeping the house in order, and making sure the funds are adequate have always been a mother and son venture. Experience in handling money comes into consideration, as I have my own savings and has been relying on my salary to stay afloat. Also, since I was taught how to open a bank account, never have I experienced running out of cash. These reasons alone should be enough for even relatives to course their checks to my bank accounts. But more than anything, since the funds fell under my stewardship, never have I failed to account my losses

This realization comes after my mother asked me to go to the bank this afternoon. Response leaned towards procrastination as my home-based work will start in an hour. However, orders have to be followed and I still have to send the remains of my salary to my savings account. It is when the ten pieces of 500 pesos bills came out of the machine, did it dawn to me the real value of my mother's trust:

That she has no one to count on except me.

Because for all the times she handed over her ATM cards to get cash; and for all the times I tracked the movement of the family funds, I could have - like some adults do - nip a "token" from the source in return for the "service." Nobody does the accounting so covering my tracks would be easy. 

But I am truly thankful that despite the sundry temptations to bend the rules and make the occasion a wind fall for me, such acts never took place. In her bouts of loneliness, my mother would apologize for her shortcomings in raising me. If she only knows the truth and see how I put great care in protecting her interests, may it be an assurance that this little gesture of honesty refutes the innermost doubts of her heart.

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