My siblings and I grew up with our maternal grandmother and Tita Lola, my mother’s older sister.
We all lived in the same household. When my niece and nephews were born, who also lived with us, we fondly called her that — “Tita Lola. ” Lola though isn’t my aunt’s name; it is the Filipino term for “grandmother.” Putting together her being both an aunt, (“Tita“)and grand aunt, Tita Lola later became our term of endearment for her.
Tita Lola dedicated her life caring for our grandmother, as well as taking care of me and my siblings. She didn’t have any regular job and looking after us instead became her calling, her mission.
On the 3rd of this month, Tita Lola would have turned 82 (or 83, I think. Not too sure.) And there was such a huge shift and profound healing which took place within me, as I remembered Tita Lola, and recalled our times together. It was quite an intense week. Of yet more healing, clearing, cleansing, releasing, transmuting. Come to think of it, when has it ever been not this way? I’m not complaining. I’m just saying….. 😉
So on the occasion of her natal day, in her memory, I’m dedicating this series of posts to her.
Tita Lola sacrificed so much for us, for me and my siblings. She took care of us and was so selfless — to a fault.
She took us to and from school. She accompanied us in our jeepney rides. (Jeepney is Filipino traditional mode of public transportation.) She let me sit on her lap and I often ended up taking a nap during the ride back home.
At school, Tita Lola waited for us patiently while we were attending our classes. Ready with our snacks when it was our recess time, she would excitedly ask how our classes were while doting on us, checking if we’re perspiring. She would even go home in the middle of the morning, and then come back in time for our lunch break, ready with our meals hot and freshly prepared. At times, while waiting, she would even do some of my art projects, hahaha!!! 🙂
Tita Lola did the food shopping for our family. She had no qualms going to the local public market, despite the discomfort and inconvenience of finding her way through a busy and crowded place. It wasn’t imposed on her. It was a chore that brought her so much joy!
Upon arrival at home, she’d list down all the items she purchased and their corresponding prices, down to the last centavo (Filipino equivalent of the U.S. cent) — all from memory! She was very good in numbers. More so as it related to money.
The time when she’d be doing her accounting was fun time for us.
My siblings and I would have the time of our life getting her distracted. Tita Lola would be in full concentration and we knew very well how to confuse her. And of course, the more she’d tell us she wouldn’t have any of it, the more we’d poke on her and provoke her, all with the sole intention of pissing her off!
And get peeved she would be because not long after, she’d blurt out her characteristic, infamous “Bosit na!” Tita Lola’s own version of the Filipino “Bullshit!” Oh were we thrilled eliciting such a reaction from her! We did it fondly and we were so entertained by it! And maybe, despite her apparent irritation, Tita Lola likewise got a kick out of the attention we accorded her.
It was our game. Our playtime. A moment of fun.
Except that for Tita Lola, she wasn’t simply playing a game. She was being herself. Because for the most part, she was pretty much that — a child. Child-like and childish. Tita Lola had delayed mental development faculties and was “babied” by the family because of it.
Sadly though, rare were the times when we showed her our affection. Quite often, much of what Tita Lola received from us was disrespect. The uttermost kind of disrespect. And yes, despite, in fact, because of her condition. Unbelievable yet so very real. And quite shameful, to say the least.
To be continued – Getting her dolled up – In memory of Tita Lola, Part 2
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