Friday, January 15, 2016

Delayed gratification

They never said much. They never told me. Until I turned 45. 

Celebrating 45 with my T n' T

Today I celebrate my 45th birthday. And though I said I’d be smarter in my 40s, I realized that I was not necessarily “smarter.” More open, maybe. More accepting. More forgiving. But not smarter. Because there is still so much more to learn. For decades, I blamed everyone. My parents, my ex-husband, all the bad men, myself. Then today, it came. 

I’ve always been a sucker for delayed gratification- peeling all of the “butong pakwan” (melon seeds) and then eating a whole bunch of 40 seeds or so in one sitting, eating all the yucky food before my favorites, doing the toughest workouts before the more fun ones (the list goes on). Maybe it wasn’t a surprise, then, that on my 45th birthday, when I was still feeling a bit uncertain, undesirable, undefined, it came. A message from my mother.

"I can’t believe you’re 45! Wasn’t it only a decade ago when we welcomed a 7.5 lb bundle of joy with a head of thick, wavy hair and more long hair on her tiny arms? Wasn’t it just 5 years ago when she turned into a perky, frisky and flirty little girl who could do ballet, the hula and every new craze on the dance floor? Wasn’t it only two years ago when she became the prettiest, smartest and most popular belle of the Masci campus? Wasn’t it just a year ago when she suddenly transformed into a rebellious, secretive drama queen battling her puberty hormones? And wasn’t it all too soon after when she presented us with her own bundle of joy, who was much loved all around and grew up to be a fine, accomplished and productive young man? And wasn’t it after a long while that she was blessed with a second chance at love and happiness when she rekindled an old flame who, thankfully, was a remarkable guy who adored her and provided the perfect foil to her mercurial temperament? And wasn’t it soon enough that, together, they gave us three more perfect grandchildren, who we can never have enough of.
It’s been a challenging but fulfilling journey for our middle child. Happy Birthday, our dearest Aya! We love u so much - Papa & Mama.”

Sometimes, you wait and wait and wait (and cry a whole lot). Then, one day, it just comes. And though at 45 I’m all wrinkly and old and angst is no longer appropriate, I am thankful. And relieved. 

I read this and I realize how they did care and love all those years. It truly wasn’t easy for them. I really was quite a handful. 

I did get pregnant and married at 20. As a parent I now realize
how tough that may have been for mine.

So I forgave. Today, I forgave. It wasn’t easy for you. I wasn’t easy for you. But the fact that you paid attention to me, saw me grow up, appreciated my talents. That is enough. You may not have shown it, nor did you say much. But you did today.

Middle child. Always feeling "incomplete." Hopefully less,
after today.

So thank you, folks. I was not invisible, after all. I was special in my own way, after all. I was worthy, after all. After 45 years. I know. 

(Now to clear the rest of the cobwebs in my mind…)

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