Category Archives: From The Outside Looking In

Christmas Musings


Christmas Eve is just a few hours away.  Pretty soon the quiet will settle and I will have the house all to myself.

A couple of my friends have been incessantly inviting me to spend time and have Noche Buena with them.  Repeatedly telling me (and others) matter-of-factly that I’m spending Christmas with them.  However, I politely declined each offer.  I have such great friends who are so sweet, so giving, and so loving.  I know they mean well and they don’t want me to be on my own for Christmas.  But I don’t want to be an imposition.  And frankly, I prefer to be at home for this season.  To be closer to the memories of my parents.  Where I can be myself. (Put it this way, it’s easier to treat this season in a normal note rather than be reminded of things that have gone.)

When my parents were still alive, we didn’t have any Christmas traditions (the must-have foods like what’s commonly commercialized on TV).  As long as there was food on the table, and we went to the Christmas Eve mass that was already enough.  It was just like any normal day at home.  So I guess our celebration was just downplayed.  I guess as I grew up and we all grew older, Christmas was more celebrated in solemnity rather than being a party.

For someone who’s sometimes tagged by friends as a “social butterfly” in most occasions, I honestly prefer the quiet of my home during this Christmas.  I guess the past few years (since the time of my dad’s first hospitalization) I’ve lost my moxie in holiday preparations, cheers, and even spirit.  But then again, my Christmases were usually spent at my grandma’s house with my relatives.

Wow… I forgot about those memories…

Anyway, now that I’m currently on my own I should start on making my own traditions.  Maybe go out and ride my bike, turn up the volume on my music, visit my neighbors, play dress-up, map out my lifeplans… Lol. Well, whatever I may have planned, it’ll be something of my own.

To my bffs, if you’re reading this, please don’t worry about me.  It’s cute (and annoying!) that you’re constantly monitoring me but I am totally fine being on my own for this season.  I know (and you keep on reminding me) that I’m not an imposition and that I’m practically part of your family but I can’t help feeling like a spectator from the outside-looking-in.  And there are some seasons I have to celebrate on my own.  You guys enjoy your own traditions while I celebrate (for now) .  I’ll see you real soon!

MERRY CHRISTMAS!

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From the Outside Looking In: Siblings


I will never know how it feels like to grow up living with brothers and/or sisters.  Being raised as an only child, sibling dynamics (the unspoken bond of closeness, the rivalry, and the long history of memories).  I guess I can just speculate how it goes and will always be a spectator on the sidelines… someone from the outside looking in.

Although I have 3 older half-brothers, my relationship with them is not exactly the kind that most people who grew up with their siblings (on the same house)  have.  And honestly, many factors of the years didn’t do much to bridge the gap I have with them.  Civil, yes.  Comforting, yup… a little bit.  Close?  Not exactly.

My older half-brother – Kuya* A – came over to visit this afternoon. (*Kuya in the Philippines means older brother.) Normally, we’d just do the usual pleasantries that I’ve gotten used to over the years.  Most often (especially when Mom was still very sick, and during the weeks after she passed on), his visit would include me offering dinner to him and discussing standard matters such as how my Dad’s side of the family is doing.  But this time, Kuya A was very, very talkative.  He was talking about his older brother, my Kuya J, who is now in New Zealand and about the rushed decision in leaving the country.  He seemed very concerned about Kuya J’s welfare overseas with my 2 nieces (Kuya J’s daughters) left to the care of his in-laws in Manila.  Then from that topic, he veered off into recalling his childhood and how they grew up under the care of our Lola (grandmother).

I was keeping to myself the whole time but was honestly fascinated by his stories of growing up.  How Kuya J would cry when they’d be running late for school in elementary, how he would prepare Kuya A’s stuff for school so that they would be late and practically dragging him hurriedly as they walk from their house to the school.  Then to the stories of how Kuya J defended him against punishments dished out by Lola because he came home late or caused a lot of commotion at home.  How Kuya J defended him from their eldest brother, Kuya M when he was being his obnoxious self.  It was only today that I knew about Kuya J’s “violent” side when Kuya A said Kuya M got a nosebleed when Kuya J punched him because of something he did to Kuya A.  After the childhood stories, he continued on to Kuya J’s lovelife and “love” problems with then girlfriend (and current wife).  One thing struck me most… when, after an argument with the gf when Kuya J brought along Kuya A to watch a movie with them, Kuya J said “Mas mawala ka pa, kesa kay A.”  (I’d rather lose you, rather than A.)

Blood brothers.  Siblings.

I saw my half-brothers in a whole new light tonight. It became so easy to see how they grew up to be the persons that they are (behavior-wise and personalityp-wise).  And even if, as adults, we’ve remained pretty close I would never know nor experience living a life with siblings… growing up with them together, sharing stories and secrets of childhood, and truly being comfortable in just being myself to them.

I will be forever mystified by the prospect of the relationship between siblings.  Regardless of how close I may be with my friends and no matter how “included” I may be with their family and however close I may be to their brothers and/or sisters…  And no matter how akin to a sibling-type relationship we may have, it would not be the same.

And I feel I missed out on something very wonderful.

P.S.  If I were to report on Alfred Adler’s birth order theory in class again, I’d cite my Kuyas as example.  However, I think Mr. Adler would have a field day in breaking down my birth order – the only child, the youngest, the eldest.  Have fun Mr. Adler!

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