Thursday, July 03, 2008

21 Days of Gratitude: Day 14

Today should actually be Day 18, but my blogs for Day 14, 15, 16 & 17 didn't go through when I keyed them in from my Instinct. I don't think there's anything wrong with the cell phone, I may have just closed the browser before my blogs finished posting. Anyway, thank you to Mark for pointing out to me that my blog hasn't been updated since Day 13.

So... when I shared my dilemma with a coworker about trying to develop a habit by doing something for 21 days, he pointed out that maybe it doesn't have to be 21 consecutive days. I argued, "Well, maybe not. But what's the point if you do it only every few days or so?" He said, "Well, at least you do it. You do it regularly enough, it becomes a habit, whether it's a daily habit or a weekly habit."

Eh. Okay. I'll buy that argument. I don't have a better one.

Anyway, I've got TONS to be grateful for. The next few posts may be an amalgamation of the last few days, but I'll make it the 14th day of my writing, and hopefully this will post with no problem. This just means I'll have a few more than 21 posts altogether, which I don't mind. I'm grateful that this habit has given me inspiration to write more even though finding time to remains a challenge.

Today, Thursday the 3rd, we made a lovely young couple very happy by letting them have Avril and Dandelion, our silver and orange tabby kittens. A part of my heart is sad because we've split up the remaining three siblings. But when I met Julie and her boyfriend, I was comforted that they were both very thrilled and excited to take Avril and Dandelion into their arms. I felt assured the two kittens were going to a good home.

I felt bad for the remaining kitten later when I saw her running from corner to corner, peering under tables and behind couches and meowing, looking for her playmates. Now she's glued to her mom, Autumn. We're hoping by keeping this kitten, the calico in my profile picture, then Autumn will be more assertive with the other cats and won't cower and hide like she used to. We all know there's nothing more ferocious then a mama protecting her child. Well... I know in theory, not in practice.

I seem to grow more and more reflective on my birthdays each year and it takes a while for me to get out of a thoughtful funk. Birthdays make me think back on the past year, so I've been thinking heavily on everything that's transpired since I turned 35 last year. It's something inherent to birthdays, much like the New Year. To move forward, you have to look back. Year 36 was a tough one, equally full of triumphs, disappointments, joys and heartaches. To actually say I'm 36 years old is difficult because that number doesn't match how young I still feel. I don't begrudge getting older. I've loved being in my 30s. I feel I know myself better and better every year. What I'm learning is there's a big difference though between knowing and accepting. I guess that's on my "To Do" list for year 37 along with the things I didn't get to check-off from year 36.

The last couple of days have been tough for a variety of reasons. I've been thinking a lot about my grandmother as the 1st anniversary of her passing is approaching. All of a sudden, I remember more of what I was doing a year ago on certain days. One year ago I was still figuring my way around my new office and my new job duties. I was just finding an alternative way to make my commute cheaper and easier and still spending 3 nights a week with my grandmother.

I was still able to have late night conversations with Nanay (we never called her Lola, even though that's Tagalog for grandmother. We called her what her children called her). Nanay was still very observant even though she didn't talk much anymore. She could see I was weary on the nights I came over to spend the night, even if I tried to hide it from her. It was extremely tiring to do an hour commute to and from work, spend a couple of hours at home with Gareth then leave at 9pm to spend the night with her.

On one of those nights, the night of my 35th birthday, I was practicing my Tagalog and asked, "Palagay niyo ba Nanay magkakaroon pa kami ni Gareth ng baby?" (Do you think, Nanay, Gareth and I will ever have a baby?) Her answer, slow but determined, was, "Alam ko nahihirapan ka. Alam ko napapagod dahil kailangan ko ang tulong mo. Kaya't wala na kayong horas gumawa ng baby." (I know you're having a hard time. I know you're tired because I need your help. That's why you have no time to make a baby.) We both started giggling before quieting and getting lost in our own thoughts.

Nanay broke the silence with, "Palagay ko, oo. Bahala nalang ang Diyos sa ating dalawa."

She said, "I think, yes." The second part is harder to translate word for word. "Bahala na" is a Filipino value that loosely translates into "Whatever will be, will be." Paired with "ang Diyos sa ating dalawa" it essentially means "God will take care of us both."

Nanay passed away less than a month later. The circle of life in our family spins without hesitation. After a member of our first generation passes, a new member arrives. After our other Nanay, my father's mother, passed away, we were blessed with Nissa, Shenna's daughter. When my cousin's grandmother passed away, her daughter Nikka was born later that year. Jonah, my nephew, brought great comfort to my father when he was born three months after Tatay passed away.

This year my cousin Genesis and his wife will add a baby boy to the small circle on my mom's side. He will be the first boy born on my mom's side since Genesis' and Joseph's youngest brother, Jeremiah, was born. I find it poignant that he's due in September, the month we lost Genesis' mother, five years ago. To create joy where there was sorrow. That's coming full circle.

Maybe it'll be my turn one day. Maybe not. I will be a mother one day. Maybe biologically. Maybe not. Regardless, I'm thankful for being witness to the circle of life that continues to revolve strongly and unchallenged. Like Nanay said, "Bahala nalang ang Diyos."

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