Influences (or Why I Write the Way I Do)

Natalie Goldberg (free-flowing writing)
Clarissa Pinkola Estes (wild woman writing)
Jane Hutchison (direct-to-the-point writing)
Ernest Hemingway (simple words writing)

Friday, September 16, 2011

God in the Parenting

the Hubby is in naga today, in time for the Peñafrancia Fiesta. despite one long drive from manila to naga and the pressing need to just rest after waking up early at 5am, the first order of the day for him was still to drop by the house in concepcion, to see Yaman.

lukso ng dugo, or the physical manifestation of one's parental instinct (paternal or maternal) by the shooting up of one's blood pressure when seeing a child for the first time does not work in this instance.  by blood, the Hubby and Yaman are not related at all but the compassion and love binding them is as if they are.  then on the extreme, i am reminded and i wonder, how the other one with the real biological connection could have afforded to neglect and turn against us when Yaman was barely a month old in my womb.  this person never asked about how Yaman is, whether Yaman is a boy or a girl, or what her birthday or even name is. never.

at a public lecture i've attended today, prof raj of gettysburg university (pennsylvania) related an extraordinary custom in sri lanka where young children are carried by their parents or grandparents and together go underneath the belly of a standing elephant. this is done not only in reverence to the mystical power of this majestic creature, but in potent symbolism of parenting as a task and challenge against all odds, the parents subsumed under external forces beyond their control but still committed to raise their children however and whatever it takes. 

indeed with this custom, i see parenting in a different light.  parenting is more than just biological, which suggests, on one hand, that it is not impossible for blood relations to kill or hurt one another that's why there is incest, incestuous rape, infanticide, parricide.  yet, on the other hand, it is also not impossible for the unrelated to flourish in love that is committed and nurturing.  parenting takes a lot of courage, and sometimes, blind but bold determination to just head on, strive on, tire on, cry on, shoulder on.  kaya may nagpuputa, nagnanakaw, nagsisinungaling, pumapatay, nagpapakamatay, para sa tunay o tinuturing na anak.

i believe that the measure of parenting is not what we make out of our children but on far we carry on being their parents, standing with them, understanding even to the point of breaking, whatever, however they may become.  it would be unfair to blame the crime and hate going about in the world today to just bad parenting.  because then we forget how are actions are shaped not just by how we have been raised but also, more importantly, by the choices we make.  but however mistaken or fatal our choices, who do we see on our side, but our mothers and fathers, be it natural or acquired? their love is there to endure, outside of the forces beyond them.  in this way, they seem to have a sense of divinity in the unconditionality of their love.

that's why there is a sense of awe and delicate irony in this unconditionality: people who can love children who are not their own flesh and blood. parents who can love their children, even at their lowest points as human beings. parents who absorb the muck and face the crowd, like my mom did with two daughters having children out of wedlock.  they are, indeed, Gods.

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