“Let things happen in its own time,” my mother would always remind me, whenever I look too far in the future or dig too deep in the past. “Besides, you’re only 21!” she’d add with a snort.
In bed last night, at about 10:30pm, I found myself pondering on this, while I scrutinized my fingernails under the warm yellow glow of my bedside lamp.
I realized that for the past few years, the only time I ever saw my nails without polish is when my favorite manicurista — or “nail technician” as they are called nowadays — would rub cotton balls soaked in lethal acetone on it. It will just be a few moments before each nail is meticulously buffed, filed, and re-painted with a base coat followed by a highly pigmented color or a sheer, subtle shade, depending on my mood — all for the sake of my vanity. I had no such luxuries yesterday, however. I took out a bunch of cotton balls and rubbed off my chipped polish myself – no use keeping it, what with all the dishes I had to do while our dear Ate Abe is at home in her province for a weekend off.
No use having perfectly manicured nails either, since I prepared homemade meatballs, mashed potatoes, and mushroom gravy from scratch. The gravy’s strong umami flavor from the water I used to rehydrate dried shiitake mushrooms made up for its horrible consistency (I have yet to unravel the secret to thickening sauces with flour). The good thing though, aside from my family’s positive reviews on my path to becoming the next Martha Stewart, is the fact that I was spared from washing the dishes after my cooking spree (sorry, Sis!).
With my hair wafting of buttered, caramelized onions and my nails unpainted, I cannot help but stifle a bittersweet laugh at the stark contrast of what a typical Saturday night looked like at about the same time last year. I definitely wouldn’t be in bed at that time, and my nails would most likely be painted with a sparkly red to complement my gold pumps and LBD, which are now gathering dust in my closet. At around that hour I’d still be in front of the mirror blending my eye shadow and ruminating on my allegedly most important decision of the day: my shade of lipstick (feel free to roll your eyes here). The night would still be young, and when the clock strikes midnight I’d be out and about from one club to another with my girlfriends, dancing the night away and sneaking back home in the wee hours of the morning, when the sun is about to rise. Such decadence!
Somehow, I’m glad my days of debauchery and late nights happened in its own time, when I didn’t have to ask my parents for money to pay for my drinks and I didn’t look like a minor forcing her way through burly bouncers. It’s not like I have a shortage of such escapades either – quite the contrary, my numerous Facebook albums serve as a shameless testimony to my wilder days, which I presume will be a cause of much cringing in the future (my cringing slowly begins now!). Too much of anything is never a good thing.
I have to admit though that being at the beck and call of my family is not a leisurely stroll in the park. I had to wake up early yesterday to ensure my dad still had his stash of Prosure and sweetened peaches to start his day. Ryan was frantically calling out for help from his room, as his cabinet gave up on carrying all his toys, which were sprawled all over the floor. A strangely comical sight, I must say, as he was desperately holding on to the cabinet, which was falling apart, in hopes that it can still be repaired. And the only thing I could console my Mama with, what with her groaning from the pain in her hand coupled with her short, rapid breaths, is distracting her with food (to which she begs that I stop feeding her lest she becomes too full). After our home-cooked dinner, my day was concluded, almost rather symbolically, by massaging my dad’s skeletal back with Omega and draining out his dark yellow bile with baited breath, right before I passed out in bed.
Thinking about it now, it seems that this is just about the right time for these things to take place in my life, now that I am “capable” of handling it, so to speak. After all, I’ve been blessed all these years with more than enough food, constant traveling, quality education and a comforting home by a wonderful pair of parents who made a lot of sacrifices to ensure that all our needs are met. It’s about time I give back, especially now that I’m finished with my studies and already starting with my career. As I said, while attending to their needs is nothing like a walk in the park, I must say that it doesn’t feel like I’m missing out on much either. It feels both marvelous and terrifying that I play an important role now in this family. Needless to say my rather ambitious plans for myself would have to wait – yes, my erratic lovelife included. I have to face reality.
While I may have a lot of flaws and shortcomings, and I give in to frustration at times, I am proud to say that every day, I feel more like a woman and less like the little “Nannie girl” that I was. It takes a lot to remind myself to surrender, let go, and simply let things happen in its own time.