Family is never too far.

You'll never know how a loss feels like until you experience having lost something yourself. That is a fact. What most people don't realize is, every waking minute is a paradox--a lost time and a gained opportunity. What we make out of the difference between the two is all in our hands. Whether we even make a difference, is ours as well.

I was asked once, what is your saddest memory, and I always refer to that one time when I was in grade school for one of our recognition rights--yes, yours truly is the type who made it to those honorable ranks, at least as a child. My surname, which begins with the letter Y, has granted me the equitable capacity to be patient because I have almost always been called last. But even as I type now, the sadness (and even fear) crawls under my skin as I recall how it felt for me to stand where I stood, and wonder, where is my mother?

You see, before the ceremony, my mom said she'd go to school late and just catch up (with a promise to really do) in time to pin my medal on my chest. Of course, as a child, nothing could have meant more that day than to have my mom by my side because that medal was for her (and for my ego, as I later realized.) But a single mom that she is, with a growing household to run, she had other things to attend to. At first, and I still can remember the feeling quite well and raw, I wanted to ask, "what could be more important than my recognition rights?" but of course, I kept mum and just went my way. So yes, little old first grader me attended my recognition rights alone... but with hopes and a complete trust in my mom's promise to be there.

So I waited, quite anxiously, with an irritating frequency of glancing and even guarding the faces of people entering our school's humble auditorium. There were families of three, fours and fives--some were of moms and dads, most were with lolos and lolas, but my mom's angelic face was nowhere to be found. Every new pair of parent and child that I saw fill the room up left my heart sinking deeper. I swear I cried little tears.

And continued to well up deep inside as our batch was called up the stage. It took roughly a good five minutes for every first grader to line up and climb the few but what seemed to me, heaviest flight of stairs to ever existed. We had to stand on this makeshift wooden stairs for our formation, I of course, having a surname that began with a Y had to stand at the very back--at a very tall space if you ask me, but "tall" was the least feeling I had at my disposal. Up on my highest position, I could see the entire audience area, from each seat, emptied and occupied, to every aisle and every tile, but my mom was nowhere to be found. I tugged on my skirt and worried I would pee myself to shame, just so people would have something else to remember of me aside from being the kid without a parent to pin her medal with. Of course I grew up realizing there were bigger fears to overcome in life, but back then, that was my first experience of unwelcomed solitude. I felt orphaned, and worse, required to explain my confinement. Every classmate called to the center stage, bowing as practiced, and kissed by ever-so-proud parents left me turning a deeper shade of green. I was scared to be alone, ashamed to be alone, and angry to be alone. The feelings went into a rotation, I spun inside my puny brain, "Mama... mama... asan ka na... (Mom... mom... where are you...)?"

Then my name was called. It was only then that I realized, I was literally alone on stage. Every classmate's gone with their medals and certificates--and loving families, and kodakan moments; and I was alone in that big stage, savoring the empty lights and the emptiness of having to stand on your own--for the first time. I had to take five careful steps down, so I can walk where our teachers taped an X at. I walked with my head down, both hands tugging my navy blue sailor skirt. Took my bow, forced a smile because disappointed as I was, I was still the teacher's pet within. I heard my teacher say, "Kumiko, look at the camera for your picture." I was helpless against people with authority. I guess at the time, I can even say, I was helpless against anything, period. I had no family to stand by me as I receive my reward. Frankly, it marked what other people learned the easy way, that achievements are nothing if you have no one to share them with.

After I took my bow, I had to further climb down and step on the little platform stage where you're supposed to be welcomed and joined by your family, for a photo. There I saw countless students like I who studied hard and were very much deserving of their family's excessive hugs and kisses. I don't know how to tell my teachers, "Sorry po, wala si mama. (I'm sorry, my mom isn't around.)" I don't know, how do you tell the photographer, "Ako lang po sa picture. (It would just be me in the photo.)" I was just 7 years old, and I did what any 7 year old did best at times like those, I wore a crumpled face.

One of my teachers who saw must have understood the gesture because she started walking towards me. In hindsight, I think she volunteered to pin my medal on me, just so I wouldn't be alone. Until I heard a familiar voice. It was my mom hurriedly walking down the aisle, towards me. She was wearing a light faded pink sweatshirt unlike most moms who were in their best silks and chiffon. She had her hair tied back, as if she just went out for a walk--but it didn't matter to me how she looked. I didn't feel bad she had no make up on, she was still a very beautiful mom, the most beautiful even. She was there. She kept her promise. She took the medal that I studied hard and well just to be able to give to her, pinned it near my heart and hugged me tight. She smelled of our home, she is my home, and held me close for a picture that I may have lost due to my regrettable negligence, but will not need to remember how being with family on special occasions mattered most. How your family, the ones who love you, will never feel too far as long as they don't forget to try and be there.

My mom then kissed me and briefly apologized for being late as she escorted me back to my row. We finished the ceremony and went home together, and surprise, she prepared a huge feast for me. I never felt more loved than ever--especially after having felt so scared over something that is rationally petty, but too grand and meaningful for my childish heart.

And there you have it, ladies and gentlemen. A view into one of my favorite stories to tell--a story of courage and trust, that sometimes we have to rely on other people to add value to things that we worked hard for deserving; and that sometimes we have to believe that these people, no matter what the challenges come to the surface, will do their very best to not ever miss out on the opportunity to make you happy.

Just like what one of my favorite Filipino restaurants, Max's Restaurant, is now offering. A very efficient, convenient and busy-people-friendly food delivery service, that conquers tides, timelines and the busiest calendar of every thoughtful soul around the world. This new service is truly at the helm and heart of every Filipino family. Now, you don't have to worry about being late or worse, missing out on a special moment. Salamat sa Max's, lahat ng Pilipino #SaloSaloKahitMalayo.

Pls LIKE and Share my post from the Max's FB page to help spread the word about this new campaign. :) GO TO THIS LINK. Comment with hashtag #SaloSaloKahitMalayo! :)

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LovingSunshine is a blog about beauty and loving life. 
New stories are published EVERY DAY, 11:30 AM, Philippine Time! Hope you enjoyed your visit, don't forget to comment and connect with me through my various social pages as linked below.


  1. Thank you for sharing this story!

  2. it's really scary to go on a stage without your mom or dad or any family member. Nice!

  3. Wow, what a heartfelt story. I really connected because I was raised by a single Mom too, and felt a lot of times the embarrassment of not having 'the perfect family'. Now I'm older and wiser and I understand every action my Mother made back then. God bless our lovely mothers out there who did it all on their own. <3

  4. Wow :') Touchful story :D
    And thanks for sharing the story :")
    Good luck for the contest :D

  5. Single moms are in the toughest of situations, I think. It must be lonely being a single mom.... I'm not a mother, but imagine shouldering the responsibility all on your own. That is a tough story to share. At least it has a happy ending.

  6. Very touching and truthful story. Reality Bites!

    I have friends in this situation not having a perfect family, they get hurt, scared and even lose their confident from themselves because of their situation but then when they get to understand and get older they manage to do something to be happy and never think what's not having a perfect family.

    I'm glad they are strong now and do the right thing...Thank you so much for sharing this!


  7. Thank you to everyone for your heartwarming comments too! I am happy you appreciated the story I shared, it's quite a personal one, and more than anything, I'm glad I got to make something out of the memory.

    Stay in love with life!


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