Silence–the perfect word to describe the current state of affairs at home.
For the last week and a half, our house was filled with my four-year-old nephew’s constant pitter patter up and down the stairs, and his usual holler for some play time with us titos and titas. His mom, my sister, filled the house with the sound of her cooking: the frying, the clanking of pots and pans, the boiling of water, and the occasional chopping of whatnot.
Every day we witnessed their often intense exchanges between mother and son. “Ozzy! Slow down!” my sister shouted after my nephew every time he ran around the house a little too fast, or “Mooom? I’m dooone!” my nephew called when he needed washing assistance after a toilet business.
Now they are in Malaysia, with my brother-in-law who has been working there for almost a month already. I honestly never pictured the three of them leaving the country this soon. Much less having my sister and my nephew live with us for that one week and a half before it was their turn to follow.
Those days were precious because it was the first time my sister came to stay with us back home since she got married nine years ago. Living with them in that short period of time made me open my eyes to how much my sister had changed from daughter and ate to a loving mother I can be so proud of. She made sure we were taken care of–cooking breakfast, tidying up the house, and even preparing baon for us working sibs. She did those things more than willingly, always taking care of her son Ozzy, always taking care of us. Every single day with her were acts of self-giving only motherhood knows and can give.
Some nights, when she had put Ozzy to bed and she was still awake when we came home from work, she sat with us and asked how our day had gone. I don’t remember the last time that happened since I started working. Our house oftentimes becomes this too functional a dormitory during weekdays because of our individual work schedules. But my sister and my nephew both made it into every bit of a home it could possible be. We learned to make time for play (Megablocks!), for chit chat, and for actual meals together. And to me, that was way more than what we could ask for in a pleasant parting.
Now there is this silence. A transition from letting go and to getting things back to normal again. I’m grateful for the chance my sister got to turn our home into hers; that she and our much-loved nephew created memories we could associate them with in every room and every corner of our house. They will always have this home to come back to, wherever they may go and for however long they may be gone for. Or, if our patience will not allow waiting, we will definitely take it into our hands to bring home to them!
We are so proud of you Ate, Bits, and Ozzy for choosing to brave through this big change together as a whole family. Happy Birthday, Bits! The home you helped build is a truly remarkable one, and we are very happy to have shared those few precious moments of witnessing that in them. We love you all so much.
Pictures by Gene Paul Quevedo.