My fondest childhood memory is Christmas time. All kids in the house would gather around that large basin (yes, as in batya) of macaroni salad being prepared by the mothers in the family. Each of us carrying a Tupperware, the bigger you have, the more salad you get coz our lola would then fill them til they overflowed. Put them in the safest place possible then we are sent to sleep. Our version of macaroni salad is so sweet, so tasty and so colorful, it’s always a part of our noche buena. At 12 midnight, our lolo would knock on our doors and wake us up.Then lola would give the signal to us to take our gifts including those apples hanging in the Christmas tree. The following morning would be church day and tour day (around town caroling in our godparents’ houses) and I was the fastest to finish the tour coz I got only one ninang (hahaha!). Yet the luckiest coz my one and only ninang Mary never failed to fix me a nice present.
Those days would always remind me of one essence of Christmas – togetherness as a family, that is. Enjoying whatever we have, savoring the joy of being there for each other and being complete in celebrating Christmas. In those days, things were a lot easier,I guess, and leaving the family for greener pasture was never the better option. Nowadays, what happens is the once -closely- tied family circle becomes loose and scattered and spending the yuletide season with peers rather than the family becomes traditional – almost anywhere in the world.
Comparing then and now, it was a lot different for me. Back then, my young mind and heart were so naive and easy to please. I had no worries except how to finish that 6 inch container of macaroni in two days. I had not wanted much except receiving a token from my ninang. And I had never bothered for tomorrow nor planned for the future.
Now – everything is never simple and easy. More worries, more wants and more plans. That means tough decisions, hard work, and great sacrifice. Since choosing the better option is presently the best decision, for the love of family, I don’t mind spending Christmas in a different way.
Merry Christmas to all my fellow OFWs!