Like last year, Anika was chosen again to represent her class for their school’s annual individual declamation contest in Grade 2. This time in English naman which I was very thankful kasi napakahirap magpamemorize ng Filipino story kay Anika. I know relate na relate kayo sa akin dito. Kids nowadays akala mo mga Am-boy / Am-girl eh. English speaking with matching American accents tapos pagnagTagalog, baluktot na ang dila! Kaloka. Unlike nung panahon ko, pagmay English speaking kami na playmate, hindi na namin bati. Hahaha!
Anyway, for her declamation contest, she had to memorize a story (The Lion And The Mouse) which had three paragraphs with like siguro four short sentences each. Nagmemorize naman. The problem was, because we were busy with the construction of the house and the everyday things (nahospital pa siya, di ba?), Alvin was only able to practice her the last few days na lang before the contest.
The contest was last Monday. The night before, she was having jitters.
ANIKA: Nanay, what if I don’t win?
ME: It’s okay sweetheart. We do not win in everything. Life is not like that. The mere fact you were chosen among your classmates, that means you’re good. And I am very proud of you already. Just do your best, anak. Whatever happens, winner ka na sa amin ni Tatay.
The thing with Anika is that she has an attitude na pagpinasok niya ang isang bagay, she will do her best to excel in it. You may call it competitive but I prefer to call it “passionate”.
She may have not gotten my face pero the passion and being an Alpha female, sa akin yan.
Come Monday, I had jitters na din the whole day.
Ganito pala maging Nanay, ano? Ako ang natetense for Anika! Parents were not allowed to watch the contest so no choice kami ni Alvin. I was told of the time when the contest was at 9am daw. I set the alarm of my phone at 9am and, in the middle of all the Monday reports that I was doing, I said a prayer when my phone alarmed.
Tumawag si Alvin sa akin twice last Monday. Ano na ba daw kaya nangyari kay Anika. Baka I know somebody daw who can check how she did.
Apparently, hindi lang ako ang may jitters pala.
I had an office event that night so I wasn’t able to go home early. Si Alvin ang maaga sa bahay. Inabangan ang Anika umuwi. Mas jittery ang Tatay.
I called Alvin around 7pm.
ME: Ano? Kamusta daw sabi ni Anika?
ALVIN: Talo daw siya. Nalaglag daw yung mic niya. She was so embarrassed daw.
ALVIN: Oo pero dito na sa bahay. Hiyang hiya daw siya.
Pakshet. May kumirot sa chest ko.
She was already asleep when I got home so hindi ko na nachika. I brought her to school the next day. We talked in the car along our way.
ME: How was your contest?
ANIKA: It was so embarrassing, Nanay! I was doing well but my lapel microphone fell two times! I wanted to cry. I don’t want to join any contest anymore. Nakakahiya, Nanay!
She was in tears na when she was telling me about the contest.
I felt what she felt. Naiiyak din ako but I didn’t show it. For her age, it must be very embarrassing nga. Alam natin yan. Pinagdaanan ko na din yan.
ME: Maybe that happened to some of the contestants too.
ANIKA: It didn’t Nanay. I was peeking behind the door and watching the contestants. Ako lang yung ganun.
I am not sure if that is true or Anika’s just over-acting but I supported her nonetheless. Trabaho yan ng mga Nanay.
ME: It’s okay to feel embarrassed, baby. But the falling lapel mic wasn’t your fault. There are things like that that happen sometimes. We can’t prevent it. The important thing is that you did your best. Did you do your best?
ANIKA: Yes, I did.
ME: Then that’s enough for me and Tatay. Sa sarili mo din anak dapat ganun din.
ANIKA: But I didn’t win!
ME: Winning is not everything, Anika. Remember that always. Not all students get to experience performing on stage. Ikaw, you’ve experienced it twice na di ba? Super okay na yun anak. At least now, if they pick you again, you know na what to improve on, di ba? Try and try until you succeed, okay? We are very proud of you even if you didn’t win.
She calmed down after that.
Nakakalito din ano? I was choosing my words very carefully. I wanted her to feel that we don’t win all the time. I did not want her to feel entitled na just because she joined a contest, winner na siya lagi. If she wins, great. But if she doesn’t, keep the learnings and move on.
I also didn’t want her to feel like a failure dahil she didn’t place in the contest. I didn’t want her to feel any less special dahil talo siya. Yet, I didn’t also want her to feel na okay lang ang talunan. I wanted her to have that “Never Give Up” attitude. Go, go, go pa din dapat.
Nakakasira din ng ulo to teach life balances sa anak.
I remember tuloy an incident 29 years ago.
I was 8 years old and was in Grade Three. I was in a Girl Scout Investiture ceremony in school and Wowa went to watch. I was told that I will be leading the prayer. Big deal yun kasi buong grade school investiture yun. I was so excited and went to Wowa about it.
Just before the program started, I was told na ibang girl na lang daw yung mag-prayer. I was like, okay. Ewan ko dun sa teacher na yun bakit ako biglang pinalitan. I went to Wowa to tell her na hindi na ako ang magprayer.
ME: Ma, hindi na ako yung magprayer leader mamya dito.
ME: Yung isang girl na lang daw.
WOWA: Talaga? O how do you feel about it?
ME: Okay lang.
WOWA: Are you sure? Okay ka lang?
I remember she asked me paulit ulit if I was okay. At that time, I didn’t think about it that much. Ngayon ko lang na-gets. As parents, we do not only make sure they survive life physically in our care but we also take care how our kids feel whenever things like this happen to them. We have uncontrolled things. Personally, I make sure Anika does not feel discouraged sa mga ganyan. Binabantayan ko yan. It affects their whole personality and attitude towards life in general eh. I do not want her to feel that she’s not good enough kaya todo boost pa din ako sa confidence levels niya.
More importantly, I want Anika to feel na whatever happens in her life, the best pa din siya for me and her Tatay. Na kahit anong sabihin ng tao about her, keber siya. Wapakels. Napakahirap umikot ang buhay mo sa tingin ng tao sayo, tandaan niyo yan.
Osha, declamation contest lang talaga ikukwento ko, naging sobrang deep na! Hahahaha!
Have a great day guys!