Friday, November 27, 2015

Mano Po

During my sister's visit yesterday, she was talking about a list that she came across. It was a sort of "You know you're Filipino when..." list. There were things that she wasn't quite sure of so she asked my Mom to clarify. For example, she asked what "anak" meant. One that I know think of is "mano po." My mom proceeded to explain that in Philippine culture, the younger would show respect or ask for a blessing from their elders by bringing up the elder's hand and touching the back of the hand to their own foreheads.

When I went to the Philippines in 2003, I knew that it was probably going to be the last time I would be able to see my grandmother there. Nanay was getting up there in years and since my travels there are far and few between, I made myself consider it my last visit with her.

For the first time in my life, I walked in from the front door, down the steps into the living room and and stood over her as she sat in her couch looking up at me. I bent down and took her hand and pressed it to my forehead. She has always had to step inside my world for me. I am grateful that I had the presence of mind to step into hers, finally, for the last time.

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