My classes are done for this morning and I have 4 hours to kill and be productive. And I’ve actually thought of doing this as something productive rather than reviewing my notes from last year. Oh well…student of the year award! Now, where was i?
So, I have this friend who shared to me what they were doing in their class. It was like a breath of fresh air when he told me they were reciting their Christmas break stories in front of everyone. Four years have passed before I’ve heard people do that activity in COLLEGE. Things like “What I did last summer..” or “My New Years Reso” were things only shared by Elementary/High-school students in class on their first days. Doing that in college seems really corny but at the same time, liberating. In between the fitting-in and putting up a good façade, we have this special moment with our classmates to make them understand by sharing a portion of us they don’t see or know. Some of them, of course, come really unexpected which make you pause a little and realize how little you know the person and how little they know you, too.
I have a picture of that moment in my head now. I’m imagining how someone may have lost someone special over the break, like how my childhood bestie lost her grandma. Some, like my friend, celebrated the birth of two babies; Jesus and his dear nephew. There’s this one fictional character in my head too, a shy girl, who has had her heart broken over the break. No one expected that because no one knew she had a boyfriend. See? All these different stories make up the people you associate with every day. These stories give you answers of unasked questions that have long been lingering at the back of your mind. We would never really understand or know had it not been this sharing activity, except if you really ask. But these days, we don’t ask –we just assume.
The things my friend told me that happened in his class made me ask myself: If I was the one who had to stand and share, what would I say? What was my Christmas break story?
On the onset of the “-ber” months, one thing pops up in everyone’s minds and that’s of course, Christmas. It’s like the most awaited holiday of the year where the waiting is more exciting than the holiday itself. IMHO though, Christmas has never really been a standout holiday for me maybe because how we celebrated didn’t stick or has had bad experiences attached to it. Knowing that it was our Savior’s birthday was enough for me and I was thankful.
Looking back, I can’t really say my Christmas was clap-worthy nor was it totally bad but the days that surrounded the season was somehow tear-jerking. First, I was totally bored. I didn’t like it when I had nothing to do or when I’m stuck at home because I don’t want to be left alone with my thoughts. The boys always had work which left me home alone most of the time. To compensate, I go out with my friends – mostly boys. We had fun, we played FIFA 2k13, watched funny movies, jammed over music but somehow I’m left alone, again, with my thoughts because of the lack of emotional connection I have with the boys. It was not because they didn’t care but because they just liked talking about DOTA more and stuff. But at least, I had company that I needed and that was all that mattered to me.
Second, it was actually the first Christmas that I broke all our traditions. Events of the past year have definitely changed my family’s lifestyle but I didn’t know that it would actually go to this extent. We didn’t eat together anymore (My dad, brother and I), missed family dinner on Sundays, buying of presents together, watching the fireworks display together, even setting up the Christmas tree and staying home on the ACTUAL Christmas day. I had to ask myself a couple of times whether or not it’s just me or are the times really changing? The weirdest thing was, no one complained, not even my father because he was out too, most of the time.
This got me into thinking…everyone at home was trying so hard to be busy or at least pretend to be. Maybe they really are or maybe because my 2 boys at home were just like me, lonely; and so they’re trying hard fighting off the loneliness the way I did. We’re not so different after all. But talking about it is not really our thing. So, we just cope in our own ways. Some play bingo like there’s no tomorrow, others let out their frustrations and do sports while others, just cry their selves to sleep.
And lastly, Christmas gave me the closure I needed. It was the first break that I didn’t have my mama around. It was like no one noticed or again, pretending not to notice. But it was definitely obvious that without my mom, a HUGE iceberg just fell from heaven and filled the house with coldness that numbs you both physically and figuratively. The warmth was not there when I needed it the most; even the silence was deafening. Sometimes, I find myself waking up in between horrid dreams of memories I’ve long buried somewhere at the back of my head. And then when I get up and get myself a glass of water, there, the same old picture I see when I wake up from a troubled sleep: My dad and my brother watching whatever(sports) on TV. They can’t sleep too. And then there’s this droplet of water that runs through my cheek and I smile.
There were a lot of things missing but there are also a lot of things to take notice,too. We weren’t always together on the sunlit hours but times where its 2 am, 3 or so, make up our special moments. I don’t’ have the complete set, but I have enough to last me a happy lifetime. I needed warmth and they needed it too. Just like in economics, when there’s a gap between the supply and demand – FILL THE GAP. And so I did. I put on my glasses, drank my glass of water and went straight to the space that separated my Papa and brother. We watched the television until we finally fell asleep. Right then and there, I was happy because I was home.
And that, my friend, was Christmas for me.