My mom went away to visit our relatives and family in the US for roughly 3 weeks, and she just got home today. She joked that she had wanted to go home already because it had seemed like we didn’t need her anymore. I’m pretty sure we still do, as my brothers and I breathed a sigh of relief as our tasks and chores can return to normal volumes again.
I was especially stressed when Mom announced that she was leaving on the exact same week that our end-of-year exams were happening. To be frank, I am very uptight about my studies, and I have these study rituals which keep me locked up in my room the whole day, only going out for basic necessities such as food and water. For the majority of my days as a student, my parents have indulged me with these sacred study times because they know that the grades I got really mattered to me, and I would have a hissy-fit if I got anything lower than an A-. I still maintained my usual chores, like washing up dishes, and folding all the clothes from the laundry, but they’d allow me to do the minimum amount required (I am realizing how silly I might sound, being so pedantic over my study rituals).
So when we found out the dates that my mom was set to leave, I was in a state. And that is actually an understatement, because it feels like I have never been in so much stress and anxiety all my life (I could be exaggerating, but honestly, that was how I felt). Luckily, one of my younger brothers were better at the kitchen compared to me, and so he took the task of preparing lunches for everyone, and cooking dinner. I volunteered as an assistant cook while my exams were underway. My other brother took care of the laundry, and the youngest had to start doing his own shifts for the dishes.
We managed quite well, if I say so myself. One of our main objectives was to make sure our dad experienced the least stress possible, because when something ticks him off, everyone suffers the consequences (and Pops if you’re reading this, you know we love you!). I’m very thankful I have 3 good brothers- whilst imperfect (as I know I am), everyone did their jobs (with a little prodding from me sometimes), which leads me to some of my realizations:
1. I love my brothers, and I’m so happy I’m not an only child. There were times that got really annoying (and the youngest one had to face the brunt of that), and I blame the stress from the exams. At the same time, I also realized how hard it is to discipline people, especially if you are trying to maintain a balance between having to remind them to do something, or patiently waiting to see if they would have the initiative. I got to spend more time with them too, and for that I am grateful. I am, after all, their elder sister, their Ate (pronounced as “A-teh”, in Tagalog)- I am partially responsible for the way they would grow up. I am partially responsible for their moral and social upbringing, and I hope that I am somehow doing it right. Anyway, I’m thankful for those three goof-balls, as there is a never dull moment at home when they’re around!
2. My dad is awesome as well, and I feel like I was able to really help him out during the time mom was away. I can definitely feel that subtle shift in our relationship, where in I’m no longer spoken to as a child, but as an adult. So thanks Pops, I just want to say I’ve enjoyed, and always enjoy talking about news, politics, and family matters with you. I know Mom is my usual coffee-time buddy, but since you’ve taken up drinking coffee as well, then I still had someone to talk to when I start brewing the coffee.
Managing and making sure that all the men of the house were happy was a feat. There were definitely trying times, but we all came out okay!
3. I survived. I know this all sounds trivial and I am kind of telling the whole world how poor my home-making skills are, but I’m learning! I never had any problems cleaning up the house (I usually do the vacuuming at home), but cooking and doing the grocery used to be mom’s thing, so I was a bit of a newbie then. I actually drove to the grocery for the first time (I just recently acquired my driving license), and went grocery shopping by myself! I was also on budget, so I’m very proud! I also got to try actually cooking something (I cooked beef salpicao), and while the meat was overcooked (!), the men of the house actually loved the sauce, so yay! I usually bought dinner meats that could be easily cooked (fried or baked) so that my brother didn’t have a hard time (ex. chicken nuggets were an easy one). Apparently, my little brother had been harboring concerns over my cooking-survival skills, as he randomly asked one day:
“You know how to follow and read a recipe right? So you can cook?”…
…to which I replied (aghast) “Of course, why?”…
… and he said, “I was just wondering what you’d eat if ever you decided to move out (a.k.a I don’t think you can live on your own, and eating out every night is not an option!)”
… and now you see why I made it a point to actually cook something, hence the beef salpicao.
4. I can wake up early, if need be (I have a history of being a bad morning person).
5. Mom is mom, even if she’s far away. I think she made it a point to call us on Viber every night just to say hi. Or my Dad would call. Either way, it felt like mom was always there because she’d call us during our dinner time (which is around midnight in the US). So we still got to talk a lot.
All in all, it was good because lessons were learned, and I got to prove to myself that I can properly juggle studies with family life (let’s hope my exam grades are good!). Just really glad and thankful at the moment that my Mom arrived safely home! 🙂