And this is where i break down as i write this, on a darkened dinner table drinking wine and holding back tears. because all that i wish, today and everyday, is more time.
In 6 hours, people will gather. probably still dressed up from the early morning mass, they will converge on the home I grew up in. My cousins will be there, Aunts, Uncles, family, friends, all to celebrate my grandmother’s 88th birthday. If i could have one wish… it would be that we would all be celebrating her birthday together.
There’ll probably be a butchered pig, laughter, my mom shouting for someone to help her carry food to the table. My younger cousins probably tweeting me and Lara, tagging us in photos, my grandma probably cant remember half the visitors’ names, yet she’d pretend she did remember, calling them my dear, or darling, to mask her forgetfulness. and they’d all play along.. because no one could ever hold a grudge against her.
Mom might open the wine, while the menfolk gather round the beer and pulutan. sure there would be talk about politics, and who they think would win the elections, (at this point i’m hoping they’d all agree that Teddy is the runaway congressional winner) and yet, i’d like to believe that they’d also look around wistfully and comment on how it’s sad others couldn’t be there, or that others are just not around anymore, and how life is fleeting, and raise a glass in remembrance.
At this point, my grandma would have changed to a new outfit. and would have probably already asked someone, “why are we all here?” and when she would be told that everyone is here to celebrate her birthday, she’d flash her beautiful smile and say “ohhhh, that’s so nice!”
Aunt Eve Aunt Brenn and Mom, would be calling everyone to the table. either Aunt Brenn will say grace, or someone from the CWL, probably. And as everyone gathers before a table laden with food, they will ask maknongan to bless my grandma, with more years, more great grandchildren, and to keep her safe and strong, so she can still be with all her children, grandchildren and great grand kids.
And as the men shuffle out chivalrously to resume drinking, and talking to give way to the women and kids so that they may fall in line at the buffet table first, talk continues about lives, and studies and jobs and families. more laughter, more good vibes.
More photos, more smiles.
Then at about this time, Ann would probably give mama her gift, a scrapbook with photos of all her grandkids and spouses and her first great grandchild michael, so that she can always look at it and never forget our names. as the hours pass, and the day ends, everyone would say their goodbyes, and give my grandma their well wishes, and life goes on.
And this is where i break down as i write this, on a darkened dinner table drinking wine and holding back tears. because all that i wish, today and everyday, is more time. and as i step out and gaze at the snowflakes still falling on this march evening, i look up at the heavens and plead for more time. I look up and ask my grandfather to please be patient and hold off their reunion for several more years. more time.. please. because i believe not one of us is ready to contemplate a life without mama just yet. just.. please.
6 hours from now, i’ll wake up, and give my mom a call. i’ll talk to my grandmother and once again choke on my tears. i’ll ask her what she wished for on her birthday, and i hope the answer she gives me will be the same thing echoing in my heart.
“my darling boy, i asked for more time.”