HAILEYSTONES| Pink Tiles

MY NANNY for what has been over twenty years, my Naynay Bernie, is in the hospital.

I was out on some school project when I got the text from my grandmother saying that I had to come home early. Naynay was in the local hospital near my school, she said, because she couldn’t walk. She had been feeling unwell for a couple of days, and it was sad because she wasn’t well enough to be able to do the groceries for us. I didn’t realize that it was going to be this bad.

It’s been a very scary time for everyone in the house, as not only does she cook and clean for me, she is also responsible for bringing me up from a confused, acne-ridden teenager to something resembling a semi-adult. She always had me feeling like I was never raised in a single-parent household. To me, I had two parents, and my Naynay stepped up to the plate wonderfully.

My mother, bless her, was never the most domestic. Naynay was the one who taught me how to fold my clothes, and keep my room (relatively) clean. She would wake me up for school in the morning and make sure I drank my milk, in both hers and my Mom’s vain attempts in getting me to grow taller than them. Heck, she is the reason why I can understand Bisaya, because it would be impossible to talk to her if you didn’t know how to speak it.

She even has her own bathroom in my house, in addition to her own bedroom. When it was still being built, my Mom made me pick out the tiles. I chose pink ones, because pink is her favorite color. She only found out years later, and when she found out that it was actually built for her, she cried. One thing I can thank her for is that she taught me to never forget how lucky I am.

It is because of her that I see the world differently, and why I never grew up entitled or petty. She herself never even got to high school, and here I am on my last semester in college in what is arguably one of the country’s best schools. She always made sure I had something to eat, even when I went home late from production duties or class projects. When I do end up arriving late, or when I’m in trouble, she is always the first to find out. I can’t even lie to her, so when I make a mistake I just keep my mouth shut.

She is one of the most constant things in my life. I have been through a lot, and there is no way that I would have made it through if it wasn’t for her putting up with my whiny, mopey, sorry self. Unconditional love towards someone that you’re not even related to by blood is possible. It’s why it scares me to tears that she is sick.

When I was a kid, she was always having trouble with high blood pressure. It ran in her family, or so she would say. It is in times like this that I realize how little I truly know my Naynay sometimes, and it’s only been recently that I realize how grateful I am to have her. The thought of going off to the workforce scares me even more because living on my own means not having ready food at the table, or not having to think about laundry.

But she is more than that. I know I have to face the possibility of being without her, with that moment being sooner rather than later, but the thought of hospitals and mortality makes me really nervous.The house is strangely empty without her, and no one’s going to use her bathroom with the pink tiles when she’s gone. I’m hoping that she’ll be home soon. I don’t know what I would do if she wasn’t.

Posted in Opinion