It’s a holiday today.
I lie awake in the small hours of the second day of the year, hoping time would stop, or at least slow down for a bit. 2017 ushered in too quick; I haven’t prepared myself yet for another round of life’s ups and downs.
The entire house is still asleep and the crisp January air made slumber even more inviting. But I have to be awake. As much as I want to temporarily escape adulting, the bills I have to pay do not really care about how I am feeling right now. So I get up to take a shower.
I’m in the middle of preparing my breakfast when my mother emerged from my parents’ room, still heavy-eyed. She gathers her hair into a pony, walks to the fridge and begins fixing my baon, which is a most likely week-long ration of food from our no-frills New Year’s Eve food fare. How long has it been since the last time my mother prepared baon for me? I watch her put the ready-to-fry lumpiang shanghai in the eco bag, all the while smiling at her.
My father comes out of their room afterwards, yawns, stretches, and rubs his eyes as he goes out of the house to get the car warmed up. He is home from abroad in time for welcoming the new year, which I am grateful for, since being complete during New Year’s Eve is few and far between.
My brother, who is sleeping in the living room, shifts in his sofa bed, unperturbed by our presence. My father comes back in the house and wakes my brother up, before picking up my bags to take to the car.
The four of us, three of them still fresh from the bed, on the road as dawn breaks. The three of them with me as I soldier on to another week of living life away from home, of having to deal with everything on my own.
The trip is quiet, but it is not dull.
Author Paulo Coelho was right when he wrote, “It’s the simple things in life that are the most extraordinary.” The simple gestures from my family made me appreciate what I have right now. A family that may not be expressive, but deeply cares.
I almost forgot how it feels like to have these people take care of you again. Toughening up is a necessity to survive, but the same process would often drain the life out of me as well.
And it’s in moments like these—my mother preparing my baon, my father driving me to work—that I realize, sometimes it’s okay to take a break in being strong. That it’s okay to be cosseted and that it’s okay to ask for and receive help once in a while. CV