Liam Neeson is NOT old (and other thoughts on a blue day)

I had a perfectly odd day. I woke up on the wrong side of the bed which, if it has to be that way, isn’t so bad if it happens on a free day. At least I had a stretch of many, many hours to overturn the situation. I also realized the room was too cold, and I was missing Tito Dougs (Quijano) a bit much for some reason. Yes, this definitely had the makings of a blue day.  My 12-year-old little best friend, Juliana, was dealing with her own version of sadness. She called while I was having a very late lunch, feeling so bad to have lost in a spelling contest she had prepared hard for. Her heart was broken into a dozen little pieces. I told her everything was going to be okay — I meant it, but of course, weighed down as she was with disappointment, she didn’t believe it at that point.

I promised her she would feel better by the time she got home. I hate it when she is so sad. I hate it because I know life will have more of that to offer. And I especially hate it because I know it won’t be about spelling contests always. And like all other mommies all over the world, I wished with every bit of me that I could shield my child from every heartbreak, no matter the shape or form. How do you fix a blue day? We think we understand but we do not always know what it is like in their heads.

Well, just like during my time when I did not like something about the school I went to or the food that was on the table, I don’t throw tantrums. Simply put, I just deal with it.  There are no merits to moping so on a blue day like today, I went to run some errands. First stop, the house of one of my favorite painters, Romulo Galicano, to pick up something he made that I had framed.

Luckily, he was home. His is a beautiful old world, of paints and palettes and easels and beautiful framed work that crawled all the way up the highest part of the walls. Always, there is lovely music playing that reminds me of Europe and a beautiful day. He always serves fresh guyabano juice in stemmed glasses, covered with crocheted little doilies. I’ve tried to copy his mix several times at home but his is different, more special. He says he has a friend whose brain tumor shrank after going on a fresh guyabano streak and as a preventive measure he tries to take his fair share daily. I always enjoy listening to the little stories behind the framed pieces. While there I met another Molong Galicano fan, a fellow named James who, as it turns out, produces and markets his own instant coffee brand. Jimm’s, it is called. How cool is that? And how often does one randomly bump into someone who makes and successfully markets instant coffee? I went home with my frame, and a big bag filled with boxes of Jimm’s coffee.

Already, the day had started to feel better. I did other mechanical stuff while waiting for Juliana to make her way home — sorting through paperwork, weeding out my closet, and then dropping by Alterations Plus to have some clothes fixed.

Juliana did feel better by the time we met up, but losing the contest still haunted her. She can be a bit too hard on herself, something which Denise, my tiger-mom friend, says is much better than indifference. Put that way, maybe it is. I tried to process it with Juliana, making her understand that the journey is just as important as the destination, and that winning is not the be-all and end-all.  Of course that is always easier said than done. But I’ve also learned plenty of times that a situation sometimes does not have to change, just our perception of it. Please try to remember that always, my little love, I tell her.

We wander in and out of some shops, she spots a sweater with mustache prints all over it and we buy it. Then we buy sandwiches and drinks and take it to the movie house. We watch Taken 2. She laughs when I say Liam Neeson is hot. For an old man he is, she agrees with me seriously.  Again, perspective. Liam Neeson is NOT old. Just older than the Jonas brothers and Taylor Lautner, for sure.

At home we squeeze ourselves into the tight space that is her bed and say our prayers. She is growing up so fast, there almost isn’t enough space anymore there for the two of us. But in the very cold room, facing each other in a half-hug under her pink comforter with white polka dots, the world feels kinder than when it started out. We fall asleep waiting for her Daddy to come home from work.


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