Edit myself, I would rather not

I am a very transparent person.  I hate editing myself and having to be on guard more so when I’m supposed to be with friends. After all, isn’t the essence of friendship being able to be your true self in front of someone without fear of reproach or recrimination?  It leaves one with a pervading sense of unease that lingers long after you have said your goodbyes.

If I must edit myself, let it be in situations where the crowd or the place requires it.  At work.. in social functions that require a certain decorum.. in public where we are all expected to act guided by the expectations and limitations imposed upon us by the situation.  But not when we are with friends.

When we start putting up those precautions and start acting within parameters instead of being able to be ourselves, something changes the dynamic and we end up being lesser friends.  Then the question pops up as to whether one can be a “lesser friend”?  I’m trying to think about that given that to me, you are my friend or you’re not.  You cannot be a semi-friend, an almost friend, or a super friend.  “Dear” friend, “Best” friend, “Close” friend are but definitions of the degree of being a friend — and those adjectives or modifiers are but meant to describe the kind of friend you are, so you are either a friend or not.

Thinking about this has admittedly put a slight dampener on my Christmas spirit.  After all, I’ve always thought of the holidays to be all about friends and family.  They are the people with whom I can be myself.  I don’t have to worry about asking the wrong question, or expressing an opinion about something.  I don’t have to tread on ice.  They are within my “comfort zone”.  That is why thinking of Christmas and thinking of them makes it such a special and warm occasion in my mind.  Because among family and friends, I need not edit myself.

Two days before Christmas..

I made major progress with my gift shopping yesterday as I visited one of the GAP stores on Fifth Avenue near Alan’s hotel.  Major sale indeed!  Except for a gift or two more on the side I hope to pick up today, I’m pretty good.  I even picked up some nice stocking stuffers for the Lolas.. locket keychains where I put pictures of their apos.

We’re thinking of what we will cook for our Noche Buena.. (here we go again..), and I’m actually relinquishing the reins to my biyenan.  Not for anything at all except that she’s been so used to preparing the Noche Buena for the extended family and I don’t want her feeling like an outsider on her first Christmas in this new set up.  She had told Mom that she will make the leche flan, so Mom and I agreed we would forego our usual this year and just go with what she wants.

The Stepson has opted to spend the holidays with his Mom and his cousins — a first, and a sad choice given his Lola’s predicament.  I suppose the lure of being with his peeps instead of being with his grandma which means he would have to deal with his Dad and me.  He probably thought he wasn’t getting any presents from us (which never happened no matter how bad things go), and in fact Alan had picked up a complete outfit for him from ecko, one of his favorite stores.  It also doesn’t help that his favorite aunt and uncle are no longer with us, but I would’ve hoped that his father and grandma would have been enough reason to stay. 

Holidays, summers and weekends were always spent with his father and grandma (and favorite aunt and uncle) all these years, and I guess the lines have been drawn.  We’d like to believe that our children will always choose us over other relatives — but he isn’t even spending Christmas with his Mom per se. He’s spending it with his cousins and friends on that side.  The gap between father and son has grown wider and wider, as he refuses to go back to school, and his father insists he should either study or work.

Every Christmas might be my mother-in-law’s last Christmas with us.  I suppose that did not occur to my stepson.  Or perhaps the animosity between him and his Dad has grown to such proportions that not even his grandma’s fragile health would be a factor for him to consider spending the holidays here.

We’ve often heard it said that our children are simply lent to us by God.  In time, they move on and choose their own path.  I have Angel dozing off next to me as I type this and I hope that I provide him with a bond strong enough between him and us that when he is older, he will always find himself going home, no matter where his choices take him.