My parents were never the type to give their children compliments. I never got any "Good job!", " Good work!" or " You did it!" when I was growing up. It was never an issue to me though. For whatever my parents lacked in parental empathy, my maternal grandmother more than compensated for it. I remember tagging along my Lola's luncheons with her classmates from college. (My Lola was a pharmacy graduate of the University of the Philippines in 1936) She would introduce me as if I were applying for a job. " This is my granddaughter. She can draw, paint, write poems, sing and she acted the real role in her school play..etc. etc." I was a bit embarrassed by her monologue but I know now that it then somehow helped me affirm my self-worth. I am grateful to her for that to this day.
I know and have always accepted the fact that my parents are that way but somehow you want words to be spoken too, not just implied or as they say "felt". Just to show how bad my parents were at it, the morning my architecture board exam results came out is a fine example. All modesty aside, I placed seventh on the top ten of those who passed that year. We got a call from a cousin early one September morning and she told my mom about it after reading it in the papers. I could hear my Mom shouting downstairs from the bedroom. When I came down though all she was able to do was squeeze my shoulder and say "EEEE". My Dad, on the other hand who was prepping to play tennis came down the stairs and said, " I have to give a big blow-out party. " That's it! I felt they were proud of me. I just never heard them say it. I survived..
I hold on to people's words as if they were gold. God never fails though to give me the desires of my heart. Here are some very precious compliments I received from people I will never forget:
" This is my cousin, the budding architect." - I was being introduced by my cousin Neil H to a friend of his. Somehow 'Budding" made me feel hopeful for good things to come for me in my chosen field.
" You are such a good mom." - My good friend Rica L. told me this after we we bumped into each other one busy day at the supermarket. She did not have her kids with her. I was trying to control mine. Apparently she does not even attempt to take her kids to the supermarket with her.
One time I was explaining to my daughter's K-3 teacher, Lorie R. that for a time in high school I wanted to be a nun. She said;" Oh, we can see that about you, Mrs. M"
Uh-oh, it is my fashion sense again? She said " No, we know it from your values." I was soaring!
The fourth one I just recently received from an old friend from high school She said she liked my writing and is enjoying my blog and facebook profile. I thought no one was reading this! Thanks, Michele!
These wonderful things that people have told me are indeed so precious. I know they are heavenly reminders of God's love for me and affirmation of whatever good I have done.
For my own children, I try to be vocal and cheer them on as much as I can and as much as they need it. I try to show empathy even to people I hardly know as long as the urge is there because you will never know if they need it at that particular moment, if you could make a difference.
We often take the spoken word for granted but it is a gift. It can uplift, it can build and mend a broken spirit. I refuse to write about what bad, words can do. For now I will just stick to and be madly thankful for precious words.