• Jasmine Mendiola

Don’t Talk to Strangers

Mio’s been extra cranky today. It was my fault really. I wasn’t aware of what his chemo was going to be like today and he was expecting it to be brief. Unfortonately I was mistaken because it was one of those kinds where he had to fast four hours ahead of time, wait in line, have a total of six injections, get groggy and lie down for about two hours not to mention the excruciating spinal prick. By now he should be used to it but well, he’s still just five years old and that’s not an easy concept to understand. After all that was over and Dr. Racho left word on his new oral medication, bid us goodbye, I told Mio unassumingly, “ok Mio, say thank you to Dr. Racho.” And to my surprise, he answered, “why?” I gave this embarassed snicker and bashfully apologized for my son to which the doctor, who was used to his patients’ mood swings, smiled at. I told Mio that this was what I’ve been asking from him ever since. That he has to be grateful and say thank you because he isn’t aware that a lot of people are helping him so when people approach him, ask how he is and randomly greet him, he should at least be polite and say thank you. He argues back and reminds me, “but Mom, you told me not to talk to strangers.” Oo nga naman. I had to explain to Mio that not all strangers are dangerous– that if a stranger who is nice talks to him, he should be nice too. I had to correct my initial reminder that instead of “not to talk to strangers” he “shouldn’t go with strangers, not without someone he knows or trusts like family.” That’s a mouthful but apparently needed coz needless to say, my son is too smart for my own good, cancer and all. I guess what I realized is that 1) never underestimate children; and 2) strangers aren’t so bad after all. I hope everyone realizes that although we are all strangers to each other alike, there is goodness proliferating everywhere during times like these. Children make us realize stuff like this. And so does crisis and cancer alike. Amen.

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