Weeks ago, I wrote about the exchange of “parinigan” or non-confrontational confrontations engaged by some of my relatives through their Facebook accounts. I am not supporting any of my relatives because if I were to be asked, both parties have fueled the heated exchange of words.
When there was an exchange of accusations and harsh criticisms among my relatives, I can’t help but remember my late Lola Florentina. I was blessed to have a different Lola. I know she is not perfect and my opinion is so biased. But my respect and admiration to Lola will never cease. She will remain as one of the greatest and honorable women I have met in my entire lifetime. I’ve already written post about my Lola in my other blog. This might appear as a repetition but there’s a deep reason why I’ve decided to express my admiration to Lola Florentina.
Lola is overflowing with generosity. My cousins, parents, titas, titos and some of my relatives can no doubt attest. Whenever our family hosts birthdays and any form of food feast, Lola would always have the largest share. She ensures that everyone has more than enough food to eat. After all the guests were accommodated, the feast is not over for Lola. She developed this habit of packing extra food for the guests especially for the relatives, the families of her sisters in particular. In Filipino, this practice is called as “pabalot” or take out. Unfortunately, Lola has overspoiled some of our relatives with this habit. Sorry to say but I’ve developed disgust over relatives who would demand for pabalot . If the host of the party voluntarily gives wrapped takeout then be thankful. But please don’t force the host to wrap something for you and your family. I find this habit so selfish and unethical. There might be other guests and the family of the host could be deprived of the food too. Consideration, discipline and breeding or class, you know? As my friends and cousins call it, don’t be so patay gutom naman.
While Lola was generous in giving pabalot to our relatives, we imbibed the idea of not demanding the same from our relatives. (Thank God!) We were trained to be contented and thankful for the invitation and sumptuous meal given to us.
My Lola was never a backstabber and a conceited person. She was sometimes too honest and outspoken. But she was never a backstabber and a gossiper. She would voice out her opinions and listen to stories, but she never ruined the reputation of anyone in the clan. She doesn’t plant and spread stories. She was frank but was never harsh, impulsive and careless. She considers the sentiments of the people who might be affected by her words. She also doesn’t buy the idea of groupings or “kampi kampihan” in the family. She remained to be fair and impartial to her sisters and relatives.
Lola was a very humble person. She was not a rude critique to our other relatives. She would rather help and console a relative in distress. Unlike some who would rant and conceitedly impose what should be done. Fine, so you’re the most beautiful and smartest of the family. (Oo na ikaw na, kayo na ang magaling). Heck, I hope they realize that their words and criticisms don’t really resolve the problem. For heaven’s sake, can’t anyone realize that the constant exchange of words can’t heal even a small wound, what more to a pitiful bed-ridden elder.
If my Lola will be able to read this, I know she won’t like it. She might even reprimand me for igniting a new bunch of enemies. My intention is not really to flare up the other members of the family. This is my way of saying that I am proud of the life that Lola has made. I have high respect for the contributions of my Lola to the family. And if there’s one thing I can promise to my Lola, it is to remain one with her and never to become one of them.