Nanay Story #1

Posted on March 20, 2009



I’m gonna start this and see where it goes.

An effort to remember by posting stories, memories, details and fragments of things Momz shares with me about my childhood, the Philippines, Dada (my father) and other snippits of life when I was younger, life in the Philippines that feels like only a figment of our imagination now.

I’m gonna post these, on request of a friend, when I told her today of Momz goin’ off all of a sudden, in a routine phone conversation, or so I thought.

She was sharing with me this story about how in the typical Filipino pamilya, it is the mother, the woman who takes hold of the household finances.  This came about because she was speaking about a relative who has been experiencing some financial hardships (as we all are in our own ways) — and the issue of how much the “husband” gives to the household expenses was brought up.

Anyways, Momz started sharing about how Dada would always give his paycheck to her, no questions.  And he never once asked her how much she made…not once, Momz repeated.  And Dada would have his own money, from side jobs and tasks he fulfilled, but his monthly paycheck, would go directly to Momz to care for palengke and other expenses for the family.

She continues on…

One time apparently, my father invited the family to go to the local swimming pool.  Do you remember, Momz asks me.  I remember generally, Forest Park I think…but not that exact moment.  She continues.  Yes, Dada wanted to go the the swimming pool, and I went to buy groceries.  I think I was still holding you, or you wanted to be held.  I had 200 pesos with me, and somehow, I had dropped my wallet and lost all the money to buy the groceries for that outing.  (I hope in Momz memory, I wasn’t indirectly to blame…hmmm…throat chakra???!)  Anyways, Momz shared that she talks with Dada and Dada says it’s all right and we were still able to continue on with our day.

I listen to her as she recounts the story and feel a moment of connection that is different that the usual Motherly Nagging Love that Momz shares with me in conversation.  I send a prayer of gratitude in between breaths for this healing moments of communication…that we can actually “be normal” (whatever that means!?) for a moment and communicate in ways that do not always have to be about reacting to one another.

It was cool listening to her, and having these memories surface.  Memories from my childhood are sometimes not very clear in my mind or the minds of my family.  OR, we have simply put that part of our history and “buried” it somehow…

I don’t always know, or have access to these stories.

On occasion, they emerge!  How interesting!

Like today…

Momz sharing about how traditional Filipino families give women the power (or responsibility) to handle the finances of the family.  And a memory about my father.  And a memory of how life was for us.  And how differently things have manifested for us Filipino Americans here in the United States.

What of this I will remember when I “grow old” and “older?” Thirty-two years in a few months, already!   Something of Momz and something of my father, and something of their relationship, no matter how “hidden” some of the stories are.  Something of tradition and respect in a committed relationship.  Tradition and honor cultivated, not because that’s how it has been, but because the intention behind it, beneath the rigidity of that action, the inner intention expressed in this outer manifestation, is something worthy of continuing.   Perhaps, worthy of even being called, Beautiful.  Definitely, Buddhaful.

Santi Dada…


Sila Jnaseh

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