Shoes my brother "gave" me
My kid brother Sean hands me some money and tells me, "Ibakal mo na sang sapatos mo ha." ("Use the money to buy new shoes.") Sentimentality runs deeply in the family, but with it is pragmatism. Our household has a rule: if you want to make a family member happy, tell him exactly what it is that you want—or better yet, give him the money so he can buy the item himself. This came to be because we never bought jeans for Tatay nor shoes for Nanay—they'd rather that they choose those things themselves. This practice sucks all the surprises in life, but we never liked to be surprised—at least, as a far as material goods are concerned.
My brothers are the most generous; they think of me as the doctor-in-training who borders on mendicancy, a fact I don't contest. I didn't make it to the Singapore trip with my brothers last month—I was too swamped with work, and I already took many days off the clinics to attend to my father's funeral. When they got back, Sean gave me money and said I should buy the shoes I told him to buy for me—he had no idea what they were.
Thanks, Sean! I thank God for my brothers. I see a lot of myself in them—we have the same facial expressions, hand gestures, and humor. It's unnerving sometimes.