Day 1 of telling your stories: Saturday morning.
Write about Saturday mornings, either now or at some time in your past. How late did you sleep in when you were a kid? What did you have for breakfast this morning? In college, did you spend Saturday mornings getting ready to go to the big football game? Do you take your kids to your parents’ house on Saturdays? Do you get up early to run?
Growing up in a family of seven siblings, I rarely tasted boredom. I am the eldest (Sophia Nicohle; I don’t know about you, but there’s something about describing selves–you can get to know more of me later), then there’s Ivan Angela (now 22, the only chubby one among all of us – first to have a child at 21), John Carl (20 years old, video game lover & a sweet funny guy, went to aeronautics school), Dianne (fondly called Wawi at home; 18 year old psychology student, thrifty and smart – you don’t mess with her), Ernesto II (17, named after his grandfather – all 7 of us are from 3 different fathers), Maria Scarlet (16, a beautiful young lady with a brave soul…and some teenage troubles), and Anna Patricia (14, the apple of my eye, my darling, our little angel, and forever baby).
Except for Ivan who moved in with us 8 years ago (she was with her dad’s family), we all grew up together. Although Ivan was with us almost every weekend back then. Our beautiful mother who had me at 17, is the most adorable person. She loved each of us dearly and dedicated her life to taking care of us. She’s the kind of woman who, for her children’s sakes, doesn’t need a man to complete her. It was our Mom who taught us to love each other (siblings) first, and it was her love for us that never made us feel any different from one another (no half-sibling issues).
Our Saturdays were full of fun-filled activities that rarely needed spending since (1) there are a lot of us to take on a trip and (2) our mom is the coolest, most creative who always finds stuff for us to do. Saturday mornings, we usually wake up to Arroz Caldo for breakfast–a Filipino rice porridge with chicken, topped with hard boiled eggs, roasted garlic, and spring onions. Then, we’d either go to Quezon City Memorial Circle (a park where you can rent bikes and roller skates) or our Aunt Joanne’s house in Pasig (or they come over). Our Aunt Joanne is my Mom’s elder and only sister and she has 5 children. Hence, if not biking or rollerskating, our Saturdays were playdates with our cousins. I’ve actually got to admit, my siblings and I like being in the park, having picnics, and biking/rollerskating better. Whatever it is that’s just us. Staying at home, lounging or playing with water guns in our inflatable pool (the biggest you can find) is also cool.
Now, obviously, I grew up to fun Saturdays. It all felt normal back in the day and we rarely felt time flew and situations shifted. 2008 is a very important year for me: I went to college, the University of the Philippines Los Banos–a 2-hour drive from our home in QC so I had to stay in a college dorm, away from my siblings for the first time in all my life. The same year, our family had gone through some trials that led to my Mom having to work overseas, away from us for the first time in all our lives. We were all aching inside, silently. The Saturdays of the year 2008 were my favorite days of the year: I get to come home and see my baby brothers and sisters, spend time with them, and be able to catch up or help out with school projects and homework.
Slowly, each of them went to college or grew up to be teenagers with different sets of friends and hobbies. Each of them had their own busy schedules and we’ve seemed to have gotten used to seeing Mom once, for two months, each year. Although I have my own life I’m pursuing, I can’t help but crave and wish for even just a moment to get one of those Saturdays with Arroz Caldo my Mom made and some crazy, fun day with my baby brothers and sisters.