All the Fishes in the Sea
Last night, Mio was upset while we ran over his schedule this week. Schitzo actually. Coz he was excited when I said both volunteer teachers Ginny & Jovinne were coming this week, Tuesday & Wednesday to teach him his lessons that were way behind schedule. Mio’s school, Happy Valley was nice enough to extend such great help continuing his curriculum at home and Teacher Ada checking on him every now and then. Even his classmate’s are so supportive, Mio’s been receiving “Get well soon” notes from them and “You’re my best friend!” random screamings from Jorge (we miss you too, Luis, Joaquim, Waks, Neil & Gabbi–Mio’s the one-on-one kind of friend you see).
Mio with his Happy Valley classmates (no! not taking him out, we just dropped by to get his task sheets and his classmates wanted to see him from outside the car. That’s Jorge with Teacher Ada and all his other classmates cheering for Mio. Mio was teary0eyed when we left saying, “I miss my friends.” aww… :()
I had to remind Mio that he can’t be around his friends too often coz he might get sick if any of them were, same way I couldn’t be with him so much ‘coz I’m sick myself. He has all these reasons at night why he wants to get better TOMORROW. “Coz I wanna sleep beside you eh, coz I wanna sleep where my toys are, and I’m gonna miss Naya…” talking about his fish. He quickly deviates from the topic at hand and remembered, “Mom we have to buy new fish coz Naya misses Mario.”
Of course, my obliging parents get the fish. They bought him two goldfish that weren’t gold at all. They were white with gold spots. I come home from work to find three wiggly wish in the tiny aquarium. I asked Mio if he’s been taking care of them and he said, “Yes Mom. I just fed them but the two new fish look like they’re fighting. And look, I told you I’m feeding them. Naya’s getting bigger coz the big one before was just Mario.”
Before going to bed, I try to think of what to write. And I was trying to gather my thoughts on all the upcoming fund raising projects. I was thinking all weekend how lucky my son was and how we can pay it forward someday. I’m too consumed with surviving on a daily basis, these things just bite me in the ass and I can’t manage to get to finish anything just yet. I’m quite — no I actually am really overwhelmed with everything going on on top of the regular daily crisis. It’s a dilemma of sorts, trying to balance the usual routine and integrating this new lifestyle that involves working around cancer.
I wanted to deviate from random musings but I couldn’t help wonder: my five year old has cancer while there are over a hundred other kids starving somewhere, some suffering with aids in some part of the world, some who aren’t able to study and some too who suffer the same illness… I am a 27 year old single mother while there are other mothers who have been widowed, separated and are making ends meet just like I am… why would we be so lucky to be the recipient of so much goodness? I try to ponder on how people can relate to us on so many levels or simply maybe because I just happen to have the right friends to make things happen…. I also sometimes reflect on the street children who pass me by while I commute. I try to battle with giving my coins or ignoring them because in my mind, I need every centavo for Mio. Then again, I feel too blessed and it’s not like we don’t have enough. Maybe for now, we do but if Mio needs it on a rainy day what will I do? Then I remember the Mio Cans and how it’s changed the perspective that your change can’t make a difference. I remember that the first 3 cans we’ve received full of coins have raised P12,100 which was almost good to fund a week’s worth of chemo. Who would have thought your change helped us like that?
I smiled when my heart breathed out a sigh of relief because all my musings were useless. The truth is, all this is teaching me that Generosity is kinder when it isn’t asked for or when it’s least expected of. All the strangers, all the people from the past who I may have hurt, all the people who may have hurt us—the answer to the eternal why’s of sincerity and all that judgemental crap go down the drain when faced with so much of this goodness.
While I was pondering on those, Mio runs to me and point out that the oxygen wasn’t attached to the machine of the aquarium. And I gasped when I saw the two new fish floating! They were dead! How unfortunate, I thought. And Mio’s first question was, “how come Naya doesn’t die Mom?”
I froze and thought that I should think of a good answer. I looked at Naya and told Mio that she was just as strong as him that’s why she wasn’t dying. And when you think about it, the agitated fish thrown in fresh water, greedy for food could have died suffocated of so much worrying. Naya was just swimming along waiting, patiently poking at the water surface when she’s hungry— how can we not be like Naya and Mio, I thought. All my musings could well be the death of me if I don’t stop worrying. If my life was like an aquarium, then so be it. So long as people watching seemed to be just as inspired as my son is of Naya’s strength and spirit. I hope Mio and Jasmine the fish are living our life and the confines of cancer well enough to be grateful of those watching and feeding. It’s slightly pathetic but I seriously feel grateful more than anything else.