Saturday, April 26, 2008

BABY IN THE HOUSE


School is a great place to be when you’re in high school.
Since freshman year, and well into our sophomore year, my classmates and I have bonded, invented crazy nicknames, crammed for tests, and cheered for our softball team that haven’t even won anything yet.
In our junior year, we dreamed of what we would wear to the prom.
We (the girls) would all audition for the role of Sisa in Noli Me Tangere.
We (the officer trainees) would scramble from all over the campus to get to the tipon on time (Sir, thank you, Sir!).

I’m a senior now. And it’s different this time.
This time, there’s a baby at home.
It’s different, because I don’t have time to linger with my friends after classes anymore.
“I have to go home.”
They don’t get it. I used to take the last service trip home. Now, I’m the first one aboard.

Weekends at the mall are no longer in my itinerary. I do get to see a movie once a month or so, but that’s nothing compared to the back-to-back-to-back films my friends and I used to watch not so long ago. I tell them, “The baby needs me.” They don’t get it.

I lessened my extra-curricular activities this year. Last year I planned to run for Student Council President (I was already the Vice President), and we had already formed a party during the summer break. I backed out, thinking of all that responsibility, and the time I will have to spend working as president---if I win. “ I don’t have time to be an officer this year. I have to stay with my baby.” They didn’t get it then.

Yes, school is a great place to be when you’re in high school—especially in the senior year. But this year, I have come to realize that being home, staying home, is just as great when you have a very good reason to be home. My reason for wanting to be home early, as often as possible, is to take care of an ailing loved one.

That loved one is my mother, and I call her “Baby.”

My baby has been diagnosed with Parkinson’s Disease early this year. It’s a disease that affects the movement of the muscles. Every movement is slow and awkward, even painful at times. Often, her hands tremble uncontrollably, and I have to hold them in mine until the tremors stop. There are many simple things she can no longer do on her own, like walking and taking a bath. I do these things for her now. She cries a lot, especially at night, so I tell her funny stories, and sing her to sleep. I do all these things for her, even if there’s a caregiver who looks after her while I’m in school.


My friends ask me,
“Don’t you miss our fun times together?”
“Don’t you get tired of taking care of your mom?”

I explained it to them:
“She loved me and took care of me when I was small and helpless. When I had fever, mumps, measles, amoebiasis and chicken pox, she never left my side. Now she’s helpless and sick. I love her, and I will take care of her. I will never leave her side.”

Someday, they will understand.



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