home           about           blog           archives           domain           exits           ask

La famiglia

"You must remember, family is often born of blood, but it doesn't depend on blood. Nor is it exclusive of friendship. Family members can be your best friends, you know. And best friends, whether or not they are related to you, can be your family."

— from "The Mysterious Benedict Society," Trenton Lee Stewart

I don't think I've stressed enough lately how grateful and lucky I am to have my family around. I've been in law school for three years now, and I can, with all honesty, say that if it weren't for them, I would've gone out the big, wooden doors of Malcolm, by chance or by choice.

I distinctly remember Chief Justice Sereno's speech in a law graduation I attended a few years back, wherein she mentioned that law school is something the entire family goes through. When one member of the family is a law student, everyone suffers along with him/her — lunches and dinners on weekends are cut short, vacations are postponed, schedules are adjusted. Every member has to work around the law student's study hours. Everyone adapts to the mood swings. Each one must be a willing ear and a shoulder to cry on. When the law student fails, the family weeps with him/her. And when he/she wins her battles, it is the the family's victory as well.

I'm lucky I have a set-up like this to call my own. My parents are my best friends — I can call them up anytime, message them on FB or Viber, and they can immediately assuage my fears and calm my nerves. It's happened quite a few times over the last year, where I cried to my mom or papa about some subject in the middle of the night, and they readily came to sleep over and stay with me for a few days. It's a huge adjustment on their part, to have to drive or commute all the way to QC, and then worry about going to work to Makati the next day. But then, this happens also even in times of non-despair, i.e. I am happy when they come over during the week and just come visit me to check on how I am. When my mom feels like having her hair done in a parlor near my place, or when my dad has a meeting somewhere in the area, I really appreciate the fact that they come over and spend time with me because it somehow recharges me and puts things back in perspective.

Aside from my parents, I have my grandparents and my aunts, whom I consider my pillars of strength too. I have a very small but extremely close family, and it's no surprise that we like making daldal to each other over the phone or through Viber every once in a while. I love that I can talk to my Wowa and Dodo about anything, and I always look forward to their visits in Manila when any one of them has a reunion with old friends based in the city. And I enjoy my calls with my titas from both sides (my parents' siblings), because in many ways, they've become the sisters I never had. From boys to books to beachwear, we can talk about everything, and it always reminds me that there is a life outside law school; that there is a fuller life that awaits beyond the walls of Malcolm Hall.

It's no secret that I'm such a homegirl. I can ditch my friends at the drop of a hat, if there's a chance to go home to Paranaque. During school breaks, I'm almost always MIA from the rest of the world. I love spending time with my family; I actually, genuinely enjoy their company. I guess the biggest thing I "regret" about law school is that all the time I have I only spend on studying instead of being with them physically. I wish I had the luxury of spending all my weekends back home in Paranaque (or in Batangas, or Singapore, or Bali, where my grandparents and titas are); of moving around my schedule for them instead of the other way around. But alas, that's not how things go. It's probably not the set-up that will work formeveryone (and I'm sure there are people who can manage their time better than me), but this is the one that works for us, and I'm lucky they're there to understand.

Guess I'm writing this in the middle of the night because I'm reminded that all this — the ups and downs of law school — isn't a fight I'm doing on my own. It's been three years, and still there are days of great uncertainty. But at least I know that I have people who have my back, for better or for worse. They've been keeping me together since day one. The least I can do is be at my best. Hopefully, in the end, they'll still see me through. When I get to wear my Sablay again, when I graduate, when I pass the bar, it's not just for myself, but for every single member of the small family I call my own. And it will be our triumph — theirs, just as much as mine.