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HONORING MY MOTHER | That last normal




FOR OUR family, no one would have expected then that my weekend birthday celebration last year was going to be the last big gathering at our compound in a long while.

As we were quite a large brood (by today’s standards), it wasn’t really a surprise if we had at least more than one birthday celebrator each month.

As such, we had already been anticipating that the following month would not merely suffice as our usual multi-celebration; it would also be extra special as well, because April was also our grand old man’s birth month.

Sadly, you know what transpired next. Right after that particular weekend, the whole country went into lockdown as a result of Covid-19.

As our city, along with the rest of the world went into lockdown, everything stopped or seemed to, then all mass gatherings had been put on hold and only front-liners had been allowed to go out and continue with their business. For the rest, the quarantine protocols that followed prohibited unecessary travels outside the house or the area where one belonged. In a sense, most especially during the months after March, almost all life were never the same again.

In our tiny fam unit of just three, the days of this ‘new normal’, as it began to be called, rode on several obvious changes in the home. For one thing, our weekend forays to the mall for groceries and other business stopped, as we slowly, and grudgingly at first, shifted to online buying and services. Uni and office work for both my mate and son likewise transferred and eventually took root at home. I even kidded then that, both had literally become permanent residents.

These transformations caused by the pandemic had become some of the most defining characters which marked the year 2020, and they’ve affected households everywhere, appearing as though no end was in sight. Or so we thought. After about six months however, the city’s quarantine protocols had eased somewhat, and dependent on the dwindling number of positive cases and other developments, limited travels had again been allowed.

We were therefore quite fortunate that my birthday this year had fallen on a Saturday as the day after, sundays in the city were still no-travel days for us non-frontliners. The rest of the week were of course working days. Saturdays had become our only windows to be able to bolt in again as a clan. (we’ve actually done so a month ago in February, during my late brother’s birthday.)

Later when my partner had asked me if this weekend’s birthday celebration had made my day, I had been unhesitant and quick in my reply. The presence of nieces and nephews, along with grandchildren and great grandchildren for me and especially for my 92 going on 93 year-old dad had been present enough.

More than enough even, because I reckon some of life’s treasures are really so impervious to the changes of time, they never lose their luster. Next month, on his birthday, we will again have a go at it. Same routine. We’ve not even informed him yet that he’s going to have a new great great grandchild coming later this year, to pair with last month’s tiniest great great, Not-Not.

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