Well, it was bound to happen, sooner or later. My five-year-old granddaughter sleeps over most weekends in our small condominium for two where bedroom doors are never locked.
She caught me in a state of almost absolute undress. It was too late to run for cover, but I knew enough to play it cool, to not show any sign of embarrassment lest any malice be imputed. And to my own surprised delight, she stood there unaffected, indeed proud, even awed.
“Oh, Mamita,” she remarked, startled-eyed, “look at your muscles!” In her own loving eyes, my body was a wonderland, although surely not in the hot John Mayer sense.
My Dad, Titong, had a theory that no matter how unlovable one might appear—except, of course, to one’s own mother—one has a perfect loving match, especially created, and waiting, for him. And Dad never missed spotting a couple that proved his case—“See, they found each other.” His theory, I suppose, is proof of God’s loving ways, to which Dad simply lent a touch of human humor.
But, from the innocent perspective of a child, the lesson, ironically, takes a deeper dimension, something to do with seeing ourselves as well as others in the best light, as with a child, in the eyes of love—no matter what situation we think we’re in.
It’s a perspective that makes me happier, because it makes for better relationships all around. Indeed, whenever I manage it, I feel content that everything is as it should be, that I lack for nothing, that I don’t need to change anything about me or anyone else.
That’s why it saddens me to hear people say they’re tired of living, which usually happens upon the loss of a loved one. I don’t mean those in real physical pain, but rather those driven by mental anguish to give up on life. Concededly, I cannot presume to have any idea of such extreme feelings of despair, but there just must be some lifting way.
Never the same
Again, it may not be such an extreme case, but I, too, miss my parents, especially Mom, whose memory visits especially at this time: Mom took care of Christmas for me, such that without her Christmas will never be the same.
But a teacher of life has taught me to find God’s love and mercy in everything, especially in the pain of loss by death. He teaches that one should look at grief for the loss of a loved one as love itself manifested for that loved one.
The attitude has certainly made things easier for me: In the eyes of love, missing is another way of loving, and therefore in itself a moment to be cherished. And consequently, it primes me to celebrate life.
Only last week, sitting there at the Christmas concert of the great trumpeter Chris Botti—after a light dimsum supper at the Resorts World mall, whose ambience never fails to give me and my husband the momentary illusion of being tourists—I feel yet again so blessed.
Immersed in Botti’s magnificent sound, I suddenly became aware that I could see, could hear, and, with limbs unimpaired, had managed to arrive at this moment, and now sat, relaxed and inspired to hold hands.
And as I write this, I remember a poem (author unknown) that I took down word for word, read to us by Chit Noriega Reodica, the former secretary of health, at a milestone class reunion dinner at her home.
Treasure each moment
Never again will this day be yours
With its promise and its hopes
Never again will its joys and dreams
All be within your scope
So treasure each hour
For never again
Will you be able to see
Exactly these same golden moments
Except in memory
I take time to savor moments as they happen, then savor them again in memory. And I especially treasure old friends, try to see them regularly, and together we cue one another back into the good times—with the eyes of love.
Thank a child blind to imperfections, with innocent eyes of love, to see muscles in Mamita where Mamita herself sees unsightly developments, and to remind her of the power of love.