Monday, June 21, 2010

would you rather be leaving or be the one left behind?

as i write this post, my mom's probably boarding the plane that will take her to korea, then eventually to the US. she'll be back with my dad, back to her normal life. at home, i've remnants of my mom's vacation: a half-eaten brazo de mercedes from goldilocks, half a jumbo siopao from kowloon, the slippers i lent her while she was here, the toiletries she left behind. the last time she was here was almost eight years ago, who knows when the next vacation will be.

as my mom travels halfway across the world, i bet she'll be in tears. i know she'd rather be in the philippines with my brother and me, but at the same time, i think she also knows that life has changed so much for all of us. i feel guilty for reminding her of the fact that she's on vacation - real life would mean that my brother and i might be too busy with our respective lives to spend as much time as we did with her while she was here. i also don't know if she can cope with third-world living: the daily traffic, the impossible commute, and the general difficulty of life. but i do understand also why she doesn't want to go back -- she kept telling us that life in the US, unless you're very lucky and migrated there so young, isn't the bed of roses we filipinos think it is. they work hard, and they work long. each balikbayan box they send is the result of hours of work, and hours spent shopping to fulfill our wants instead of sleeping. she told us stories of shoveling snow, and how hard it is to get to work on certain days.

she has almost a day of travel to go back to her real life. me, i had to deal with the transition by a mere "drop-off" at the airport. after we unloaded her bags from my car and i saw her enter the terminal, that was it -- i was back to real life, on my way to work just a wee bit later than usual, and coping with the many things that she left behind. my mom, hopefully, by going halfway across the world to the place she now calls home, will have sufficient time to adjust, and when she gets back there, she has pasalubongs to distribute, pictures to show, stories to tell.

to a certain extent, i'm jealous. her two-week vacation had so changed our lives that it'll be difficult to go back to normal once more. once more, we were left behind, reminded of the fact that i was too old to make the 21-year-old cut-off when her petition arrived.

maybe i won't consume that brazo yet -- make it last until its expiry date to remind me of the last evening we spent together. there's half a loaf of bread too that i got her but she didn't finish eating -- i'll be having that for breakfast this week. her coco jam -- something i almost abhor -- i'll eat cause it'll remind me of the day i bought her groceries for the first time.

things were tough when she was here. but i think things are tougher now that she's left once more.

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