It probably took five years before I went back to the Philippines for a visit the first time. She was a newborn then and my mother called her “Bunso” which in Filipino translates to the youngest child. Somehow the name stuck with her.
My parents helped raise her with her siblings and when it was time to go to school we pitched in too. So from the baby, it is surprising how time has gone and fast. Suddenly we see a self-assured and confident woman.
Against all our plans to entertain and tour them around, she and her husband kept telling us not to worry. My sister took the weekend with the expectation that they would need to drive them around town. We are a bit saddened that she’s already made plans and hardly needed assistance from her aunts but at the same time we are relieved that she could take of herself.
Yesterday I was thinking, maybe that is how my mom friends feel at the first signs of emancipation from their own children. They are not babies anymore and like Bunso, who is now married, she has grown to be her own person with distinct character and personality. I am happy and proud of her, the same way I feel for all my nieces and nephews. Somehow they have learned well what their parents have drilled on them.
Although of course we would have been happy to show them our city, we would have been too willing to oblige if they asked and needed our guidance. But I have to remind myself that she’s an adult now and this is what we had hoped her to be.