I was a substitute parent to my little brother for the past five days. Nanay was away on a planned trip, so I instantly became the mother-in-charge. And I’d be lying if I told you that it wasn’t a challenge. Oftentimes I caught myself thinking, I’m never gonna be a parent. I’m not gonna be a parent anytime soon. How did Nanay manage to raise big brother and I while working? I can only fathom the horror of our teenage years.
There are a lot of moments when I hesitate to talk about family matters on social media or any other platform for that matter. You see, we’re not exactly the ideal type that you want to read or know about. We’re made up of too many cracks, and there are some parts of our lives that are yet to be rebuilt. We’ve seen a lot of walls crumble down over the years. Healing from the aftermath can take some time. But the previous days brought in a different experience, so I took down notes. I’d like to look back someday and see how far we’ve actually come.
I became more grateful to Nanay, for all her efforts and sacrifices to raise us. I used to wonder why she would often exclaim that she doesn’t have enough time to do all the things she need or want to do. As I stepped into her shoes, I realized why. Waking up at 5:00 A.M to heat water, prepare food, and set clothes for another person; attending to the needs of my little brother before attending to her own needs. After that ordeal is over, she then prepares herself at work, bracing herself for a long day ahead as the bread winner of the family. You don’t get to fully understand these things until you do it yourself. I go about her routine, mumbling thank you with each step. There’s nothing simple about taking care of another human being. Motherhood is a selfless act through and through.
To be a more patient and loving sister also became a goal. There are moments when I think that I got this sibling relationship all together, and then suddenly my little brother would test my limits. I found myself wanting to have a guide books for this. I wonder why aren’t there any books on how to become a better sister? I mean there is a lot of stuff out there about parenting; don’t you think being a sibling needs one too? (All the struggling sisters and brothers, maybe we should write one?) Or is there some secret club that I have yet to know about? Please tell me. Your healthy disciplinarian tips would be greatly appreciated. Being a by-the-book-person can be such a disadvantage sometimes. I guess we just learn on the go. This relationship is teaching me to extend my patience. It’s reminding me how it is to be a child, and how adults can complicate simple things. How can I contribute or make a better home for him? Each of us plays a role in his growth. Each word can have a huge impact in the years to come. Every day is an act of prayer for wisdom and love to overflow. These thoughts quickly change my perspective when I’m at wits end.
We welcomed Nanay home yesterday, and I couldn’t help but express how grateful I am for her (plus acknowledging that’s its difficult to be a mother). In the end, I also became more appreciative for the season of singleness. As the famous saying goes, I am at the point of my life wherein I am happy to be single (and really mean it). Thank God for seasons that we can savor before we jump off into the unknown world of married life or parenthood. There’s no need to rush from one phase to another, because we’re meant to dive deep and learn from it instead. It’s like swimming through an ocean of preparation before we set off to another shore.
P.S. Here are some podcasts that helped me through some family stuff. They also shed a light on some of the things I’m going through (whether good or bad): Becoming Sons & and Daughters, Family Dynamics with Hayden Langemeier