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HONORING MY MOTHER | Under a pastel sky

THE ONCE sleepy family compound is again suddenly roused from its lazy slumber by booming karaoke and the sound of cackling children running about the yard. A family birthday celebration, one of the most ubiquitous excuses for staging a reunion, is presently underway. As it is, the side street fronting the house is already filling up with parked cars. Their passengers and family members all alight with their food, ready and eager for the afternoon fete that starts with a hearty lunch. 

In the old days, when our parents were still around, gatherings such as this were just normal weekend occasions. Back then, the younger generations consisted only of nieces and nephews, plus a handful of grandchildren. While the most senior, our parents, aunts, and their friends engaged in an afternoon game of mahjong, a few among us titos and titas either joined in with them or sat down instead with the younger set to down a few bottles, reminisced, and told stories. The younger grandchildren, on the other hand, did their thing, either noisily ruling over the yard or fighting over the TV remote. 

Now, great-grandchildren and a few great-greats have already added their names to the clan roster. It’s quite sad, however, because things are not the same as the old folks have all gone to their eternal rest. Had they still lived, it surely would have been a sight to behold how they’d have doted over our latest batch. 

While it is us, the titos and titas, who have taken their place (though not necessarily their spots at the mahjong table, it seems they brought the game with them), we’re still left with great companions. Alongside us, there are our nieces and nephews, half of whom already have children of their own. Last but definitely not least are our parents’ great-great-grandchildren. In all, we make up the remaining four generations they have left behind. 


So, visiting the ancestral home at this time has somewhat become a trigger to once again fondly recall what had once been witnessed on this patch of ground. The old adage that while all things change, they are still more or less the same seems to best describe our birthday last Sunday. 


Just as the earth’s layers slowly roll and tumble back into the sea after millions of years, fresh layers roll up, replacing them. These, in turn, stay awhile before making their painstakingly slow roll downward turn until, eventually, all is again made new.


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