Let me tell you a beautiful story of two beautiful people. The characters are my inspiration, their story has been my motivation.
He was just an ordinary boy born to a not-so-ordinary family, or so called by others as the “better-off” one. He was third among 5 siblings. Mother was a teacher, father was a seafarer. Both parents were strict. They had farm and they were trained to do the tasks there, particularly the boys. Toto grew up mostly in the farm. He once lived with relatives near their farm for a long time. He learned manual labor (“panguma” and the like) from his early adolescent years onwards. Like his siblings, toto was sent to school and worked in the “fields” or was tending to their assigned “pets” (like carabaos, cows, goats, etc) during their free time.
When Toto graduated from high school, he took a brief rest from school. His other brothers were still studying that time. With the determination to pursue his schooling through self-support, Toto went to Manila to work as a janitor. When he already had enough savings, he enrolled in a college. He studied and worked as a janitor part-time. He was a very industrious employee. No negative comments will be heard from his boss’s mouth about him, only praises. Toto was indeed an amazing person. He was obedient to his parents, grandparents, and to his bosses. He was kind and hardworking too. However,he had an obsession. He could not live without his best buddy, the name is Beery. Yes, Toto always met with Beery during his “off” or rest days. “That” was his only vise. But they only “bonded” when he was not working. That was truly remarkable because he had self discipline work-wise.
Three years of patience and perseverance later, Toto made it to the list of graduating students in his college. With this very good news, he happily and at the same time nervously went to work that day. He was happy that he finally achieved his goal of finishing college but nervous because he had to finally inform his boss regarding what he just accomplished and his plan to pursue the job he wanted (and consequently resign from his work that time) without prior notice. He did exactly that. He informed his bosses for the first time that he had been studying while working and was finally graduating. This news brought surprise (and maybe shock?) to his employers. They had zero idea that toto was studying anything. His boss called him to the conference room when he learned about it. He obeyed respectfully. To his surprise, he was not the only person in the room. The rest of his bosses were in the room and waiting for him. Then the boss who called him introduced him and shared his story to the group. They honored him. They offered him a round of applause. He was surprised and was holding back tears but shyly thanked them. And what happened after that was a big surprise for him – he was offered a job related to his course. So he started from there and ventured to other companies thereafter. He took exams and fortunately passed them and became a licensed officer. At work, he concentrated and practiced diligence. His foreigner bosses became his close friends. He worked hard for more than three decades, 98% of these period was outside the country.
Neneng was a very simple girl born to a very simple (“financially challenged”?) literally big family. Neneng was 7th among 12 siblings ( actual number was 13 inclusive of the neneng’s mother’s aborted pregnancy -if the information I got was accurate). Parents were both farmers. Her mother sold cooked fish (delicious “isdang paksiw”) “on the side” to the nearby (but not so near) barangays by just walking. Yes, her mother was one of the most industrious/hardworking persons you’d see in the barangay. No one could find her resting. She seemed to be working all the time. It was their father who was tending to her and her siblings most of the time when he was still around. When he was already gone due to an illness, it was their mother with the help of their aunts and uncles who took care of them.
They were all sent to elementary school which was just a short walk away from their house except their youngest who was born with special needs. In her growing years, Neneng lived with her aunts’ families. She was assisting in houseworks as well because she was an industrious niece. These relatives were supportive to her and her siblings too.
Neneng was determined to strive hard and to continue schooling because she was hoping to go to college. However, Neneng had to take a rest from high school to give way to her other siblings. When she had the opportunity and the support, Neneng continued and finished high school in Manila. She lived alternately in her aunt’s and sisters’ houses while she was in Manila. Her other brothers and sisters did the same. Neneng was very close to her cousins. They were like brothers and sisters to her so it made things fun and easy for her. While she was in high school, her other sisters and brothers already finished college. When Neneng was ready for college, with the help of her aunts and her mother’s effort (selling farm products to be able to send her anything as additional support), she was able to enrol in a college. She took the course that was her second choice. They couldn’t afford her dream course so she pursued that course she enrolled for realizing later on that she loved it too. With unrelenting perseverance, she was able to graduate and work instantly after…
Neneng never had any problem work-wise because she was very hardworking, dedicated and fun to work with. Her love for her family had been her motivation. She had many friends because of her sense of humor and congenial personality.
SO THEY MET…
One day, toto visited his uncle. At his uncle’s place, he got a glimpse of someone he had not seen for a long time. At first, he doubted whom he saw so he asked to confirm it. It was Neneng, her elementary classmate. After elementary days, they nevet had the chance to see each other. Toto had to transfer school to the nearby town, Neneng had to go to Manila after she took a rest from highschool.
When given the opportunity, the two talked. It was as if there was instant attraction. It was as if Toto with his rascal friends did not playfully destroy her vegetable garden/plot during their elementary years. It was as if Toto did not see neneng fall down the “duhat” tree that was located in Toto’s farm. They instantly “clicked” during that reunion. Eventually courtship happened and subsequently they became a couple.
A few years later, they got married. They were both 27.
MEET NANAY AND TATAY…
A year after their wedding, Neneng and Toto were blessed with a new member of the family, a baby boy. They became Nanay and Tatay. How happy they were. Numerous challenges of marriage came and went. There were many blessings too. Two babies came, 4 and 3 years apart (respectively) thereafter. The kids grew. Nanay and Tatay made sure the children had the support to be able to finish school, and, yes they finished on time and “successfully”. Nanay and tatay were very thankful and happy.
MEET LOLO AND NANA…
Years later, the family of Nanay and Tatay started to grow in number. They became young grannies, specifically called as Nana and Lolo. First came baby D, then more than a year later came baby J. Ten years after that baby T arrived then almost a year later came baby F. Lolo and Nana have been happier with funny and smart grandkids around. They both have been very generous grannies, but not the “spoiler” types. With regards to their growing family, they can truly say “the more, the merrier.”
As of this writing, my most favorite couple are living the simple life.
Years flew by so swiftly. Their children grew fast, their grandkids are growing even faster. They retired from their jobs but they are still working… Yes, Toto and Neneng are “working” at home because they are not used to “not working” at all. What they do is the kind of “work” that is devoid of pressure. Neneng is busy with her piggies and gardens while Toto have been taking care his farm crops and “pets”. They miss their children all the time because everybody is working far from HOME. Everybody is just a call away but they still miss them and they always pray for them. How truly and incomparably great parents Toto and Neneng are.
What these two special people may not know is that their children miss them so much too… more than they may assume. Their grownup children are immensely thankful for all the support and the sacrifices their super loving and generous parents made for the three of them. They feel that they have been the most blessed, the luckiest and the proudest children for having Toto and Neneng as their parents. They have been praying for them everyday. Their parents have always been their inspiration and motivation in doing great in everything they do and in achieving their goals and wishes in life.
These days, each of the member of Toto and Neneng’s Family can not help but miss each other because they have not been together for a while. Regardless of this, the LOVE they have for each other has grown stronger because indeed it is true that absence makes the heart grow fonder especially between very close (“tight”) family members. The determination by Toto and Neneng’s Kids to make the Loving Parents happy has intensified. There will be no such thing as “enough” when it comes to giving back because what these two have been able to share and sacrifice for their children and the family until now is beyond measure. All their kids can do is strive hard to be great in whatever they do and be kind-hearted persons everyday as what their parents prayed for them to be.
By their example and influence, unconditional love and generosity to each other have been the unspoken “promise” of Toto and Neneng’s family. Faith has been kept strengthened because it has been their source of every beautiful blessing.
Truly, these two are wonderful.
Their story is the kind of story I want to share with my kids one day. I love the characters dearly! I am and will be forever in awe of their story! ❤❤❤️
——————————————————–Writing this short story is my tribute to my favorite couple… my parents!❤
This peek to their joint biography is making my heart flutter with love and simple but pure joy. This has inspired me to the core. I am so blessed to be a part of the family. ❤
This is my way of celebrating my parents (unconditional) love for each other that has reached 4 decades now. This is my way of expressing my overwhelming gratefulness for their love for me and my brothers and for everything that they have done for us. This is my way of assuring them of my prayer-strengthened PROMISE to them (no mention needed). This is my way of saying I LOVE THEM SO VERY MUCH.
So a tear is starting to fall… How I miss them dearly, especially during this special day. I always celebrate their wedding day regardless of where I am, what I do or how busy I am because this day marks the beginning of our family (and I am always so sentimental about that 😌😍).
Freedom from difficult tests/challenges cannot be guaranteed with length of time of togetherness. They still come even after decades of marriage. I believe that the strongest Faith, the most unconditional Love and the unwavering Perseverance will make the marriage / family bond truly and beautifully strong.
HAPPY RUBY ANNIVERSARY NANAY kag TATAY❣😍❤️