Join 76,121 users and earn money for participation
read.cash is a platform where you could earn money (total earned by users so far: $ 539,363.63).
You could get tips for writing articles and comments, which are paid in Bitcoin Cash (BCH) cryptocurrency,
which can be spent on the Internet or converted to your local money.
My Dad was a consummate storyteller. If you let him, you two can sit down for hours and he'll never run out of stories to share. Among the tales he told that fascinated me was his relationship with his cousins.
His mother had eight other siblings, and save for one, his aunts and uncles had at least five children each. For every age group, there would be several cousins. And because they lived in the province where homes were usually of close proximity, they practically grew up together.
So, they would get into all these mischievous adventures or play pranks on each other. And because there were no other forms of entertainment in those days, everything they did was indelibly marked in their memories.
Because of their closeness growing up, they remained that way even into adulthood and despite the miles that eventually separated them as they scattered everywhere to live their lives.
Among my father's batchmates is an aunt, who is a year younger than him. They're pretty tight, and in the rare times they would see each other, you can bet there would be endless teasing and ribbing. And watching them interact was hilarious.
I had the rare privilege of seeing them this way about two or three years before my father passed.
For some reason, my Tita, who has long been based in Toronto, Canada with her family, decided to spend two to three months in their hometown during the cold months. She would leave her husband (because he was not fit to travel long-haul after a heart bypass) and she would fly in with her unmarried sister.
The two ladies would arrive around late January or early February then leave in April or May. The first time they came, we just learned of it when we arrived for our Holy Week jaunt in the farm.
It was a pleasant surprise because it had been years since we last saw them. Since the farm was just a 3-minute drive or 10-minute walk to their house, (which they had renovated and modernized) it was easy to drop in and visit.
A visit would usually last an hour or more and include either a meal or snack. And all throughout there would be so many stories exchanged and discoveries to be made.
I, my Dad's unmarried sister, and my niece would usually accompany him during those visits, so they got to know us quite well, too. Safe to say we younger generations developed quite a good relationship with my aunts, too.
My aunts, in fact, were so fond of my niece, that she would usually enjoy a bounty when they arrived or as we were about to leave. And among the younger generation, she was the one they were most familiar with.
Whenever there was produce in the farm, usually fruits that they missed like rambutan, mangoes, or avocado, we would bring some over for them to enjoy.
It never ceased to surprise me that even if we saw each other everyday while we were in the farm, we would never run out of things to talk about or share.
And when it was okay with their schedule, we could invite them for some outing that we planned for the family, even if it's just to enjoy halo-halo!
When they arrived in 2018, my aunts were of course shocked that my youngest sister had passed the previous year and of my Dad's stroke and prolonged confinement in the hospital. They even planned to visit him in the hospital after jetting in, but it was just too inconvenient to drive from the province to Manila amid heavy traffic and then go back after a few hours.
Fortunately, they were still here when my Dad finally succumbed and made it to his wake. I know they considered it a blessing to have been visiting the last two years because they had at least spent time with their beloved cousin.
It was a comfort for us (Aunt and niece) that they were still around when we went for our Holy Week vacation that year. Visiting them daily distracted us from our loss and helped us deal with our grief.
I knew they were also grieving in their own way, but my aunt usually had a pleasant disposition and that was such a relief for us.
In 2019, they arrived later in the year because they decided to be present for the annual clan reunion, which their branch of the family would host. It had been a very, very long time since they attended this event and were excited to see their many cousins, nephews, nieces and grandchildren.
Alas, that would be the last time we got together. The good thing was they extended their stay a bit, and since I had to supervise a lot of renovations in the farm, I was travelling regularly, and got to see them more.
My Dad's favorite cousin recently turned 81, and via chat, she admitted it might no longer be possible for her to come here. We were of course very welcome to visit them in Toronto, but it won't be the same.
Being in familiar surroundings like their hometown always brought a lot of nostalgia whenever we were together. Besides, there were a lot of things from their childhood that we got to share whenever we were in the province.
Whether we would still get to see each other again or not, I am truly blessed to have been given that wonderful opportunity to get to know them, develop a good relationship, and share in the memories of their childhood.
That's what we miss in this day and age. Growing up together with cousins, enjoying simple things and making memories that we can carry on for life.