Tuesday, July 23, 2013

I'm okay, we're okay

"Mutual respect is essential. How do parents view their children? They need to listen to their children, and to respect their wisdom. Two things are important for children: 'My parents are okay,' and 'I matter to them.' Again, parents need to be aware of their own issues and own them...

"Sometimes parents also need to find other sources of fulfillment. They need to 'have a life,' and know when to let go..."

--Ma. Lourdes A. Carandang and Queena N. Lee-Chua, The Filipino Family Surviving the World: Psychological Essays on the Filipino Family (Anvil Publishing Inc.)

Like all Filipino families, we have issues. But these are cast aside when reunions happen so we can seize these opportunities for stories, most of them funny, told over shared food.

As my brother Junic, his wife Amy and their children Sara and Christian fly out of the country this morning to return to their home in Calgary, Canada, I'm posting photos of our last, but not ultimately final, Sunday together when we sat for family portraits under the noon sun. 

You have to hand it to the stamina of my mother. She managed to remain on her seat under that same sun through different batches of kids, grandkids and great-grandkids without a make-up retouch. Yes, "kids" we were that Sunday and still are today because we haven't outgrown our rowdiness. Which is why we all haven't aged.

Meanwhile, a photography tip from my youngest sister Gigi who lent these images: Plan your family portraits at a kinder hour when the light is less harsh; otherwise, the subjects end up with raccoon eyes.
Brother Dennis (second from left, second row) ordered, "Look up! To the left! At the coconut tree!" We all followed. Now someone's bright idea is to submit this photo to "Eat! Bulaga" that has a "Look up" segment of stills. Before that happens, I'd like this space to have first crack at it. Thank you, Daddy, for the garden you grew and tended when we moved to Pasig. It served as a good backdrop. Front row: Babeth, Mom and Junic. Back row: Embeng, Dennis, Pinky, Suzy, Eric and Gigi.
One of the three absentee sons-in-law of my mom, Rolly Fernandez, likes to remind that every photo ought to have a caption. Following this journalism tenet, here goes. Front row (from left): Max and Marga Susi, Sara and Nene Lolarga, Kimi and Kai Fernandez. Second row same order: Bianca, Jannica, Jared and Paolo Susi, Carlo Trinidad (serious at work but not in family pictures), Christian Lolarga and Ida Fernandez.
It's a wrap! Till we meet again some sunny day. The lyrics playing in my head come from the theme of a TV series in the '90s about a couple and their eight children: "Eight is enough to fill our lives with love!"
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