Skip to main content

The Circle

August. Summer peaks. Parks are full. Dogs and kids are stinky and happy. Ice cream is a kid’s best pal while the adults cool off with their beer, gin and tonics. And here, as life is bounces everywhere, it all comes full circle. My Aunt Priscilla Cruz Franciso, my second mother growing up, left her physical body on the 13th of August, 2012.

 She was my mother of affection. She was the first person who told me I was beautiful, spoke of features in my face which made me feel slightly elevated than what I normally feel about myself. When your mother is, for all intents and purposes, a beauty queen (cover for Liwayway, a famous magazine in the Philippines; muse in University of the Philippines) you cannot help but, being her daughter, feel like an ugly duckling next to her. I never liked to fall asleep knowing my Kaka (Aunt) was mad or upset at me. It made me miserable inside and out. I would crawl out of my mosquito net and snuggle next to her as she slept, slightly snoring, oblivious to my presence. All was right with the world once I found my place there.

Life, in all its magnificent complexity, brought us to that place of separation. I migrated to the United States with my parents and three siblings. Guilt, sadness, anger and confusion all balled up in the 19 years of my young life got shipped out of tropical warmth into the cold, winter Eastern shores of New Jersey. Questions of self that never needed to be asked came screaming at me from all directions. Questions, silent and loud, popped up like mushrooms from every nook and cranny after a rain storm. How do I leave the woman who held me the most? Why did it have to be? Why? How could God not have given this woman I loved so much a life of her own? A man to love and have children with and eventually grow old with?

 Into the womb of the universe I went. It was dark and I was lost. I had only questions, tears and doubt. I felt only the injustices of life as it swept me along its path. The voice in my head is of being a victim to everyone and everything. And then, little by little, without my knowing it I began to see, be ‘given’ the answers. Small specks of light peeking here and there until it showered me. I wept this time but for the opposite reasons. I got the why’s of my life. They came in packets of life experiences over a period of years. But came they did. With it the understanding of how no one is a victim. Ever.

When your mother believes the complete opposite of what you do and she insists you believe it too, there will be a parting of ways harder than the physical one. And so it was with my Aunt Priscilla and I. Years ago, when I came to the realization that we could never meet on the same grounds or ever even have a 20 minute conversation that was emotionally healthy, I had to choose to let her be free to be. I could not wish my version of happiness on one I say I love. Love allows another how they want to be.   

She never had children of her own but it was she who gave me the gift of maternal affection. She only finished high school and yet it was she who taught me how children are little people. Treat them as such and you’ll be surprised at the results. She always knew and told my mother that kids don’t care about the school they’re sent to or the clothes they wear. They want their mother’s arms around them more than anything in the world. She kissed me so many, many times and hugged me so warmly and joyously. She packed it all in me. I felt beautiful and special in her arms. Always. Thank you, Kaka. I love you. You must know now that all the children who, though never came from my own body, have been loved the way you have loved me. They come running to me in all colors: brown, white and yellow. Loved they all feel. Beautiful they all are…..

by Resident Writer, Marie Aunio


  1. May your aunt's memory be eternal. How beautiful that even though you had such a difficult parting of the ways, you retain the love and lessons she gave you.


Post a Comment

Popular posts from this blog

Completed my first 16 Week IsaBody Challenge: Believe You Have A Purpose

My family is what matters most to me.  I’m 51 and a mother of 4 (ages 14 – 26). I wanted to be healthier, more active and stronger not just for me, but for the people I love.  I wanted to set an example for my family that we each possess the tools to master our wellness and vitality. I've always been petite except when I was pregnant ( when I gained an average of 50 pounds per pregnancy - 4 times!) Over the years I had tried various diet and exercise regimens, and I did enjoy a degree of success, but the results were not to the level I hoped for, and they were somewhat short lived.   Achieving stable, long-lasting results proved stubbornly elusive.    Then when I hit menopause everything became more difficult.    My body stopped cooperating altogether, and I was constantly grumpy. My waist and hips expanded and I found myself napping in the afternoons.    I started to accept the idea that there would be this new, less vibrant version of me. I just completed my P

SPICE-up a young child's development: social, physical, intellectual, creative and emotional

Children are the precious gems of a family. When they’re young and innocent, they are like sponges that willingly and quickly absorb any knowledge and emotion. That’s why at an early age, we encourage our children to read, be creative, be happy and feed their curiosity. With all the technology and instant gratification that children get from playing video or computer games, asking a child to read a good book has been a challenge for some parents .     “Your children are not your children.       They are the sons and daughters of Life's longing for itself.       They come through you but not from you,       And though they are with you, and yet they belong not to you.       You may give them your love but not your thoughts,        For they have their own thoughts.        You may house their bodies but not their souls,        For their souls dwell in the house of tomorrow,        which you cannot visit, not even in your dreams.” -                     Kahlil Gibr

Immigration and Family: Will my mom ever get to see my daughter walk down the aisle

Last year when my father passed away in the Philippines, I went home and took some time to visit the U.S. Embassy in Manila to ask what the options are for my mother to return to the U.S. The consul reminded me of the 10-year travel ban. That on or after November 8, 2015 — not earlier – or 10 years after my mom, was deported in 2005 for overstaying her visa, I can email the U.S. Embassy and inquire about my mother’s approved petition. I asked if I need to file another petition, and she informed me I didn’t have to. I asked if I could… and she stopped me and said to ask everything on or after November 8, 2015. This is where I am, and where my thoughts are drifting as I celebrate this month my 16th American birthday. I am counting the months, the weeks and the days. My daughter is getting married in January 2016 and I would love to have my entire family, especially my mother, to be here when that momentous occasion happens.

Helping others surpass their goals and expectations

"It's not about the end goal. It's who you become by consistently pushing to the edge of your limits." - Robin Sharma Do you ever wonder why you stumble on new things?  Do you ever wonder why unsuspecting strangers cross your path? Do you ever wonder why your mind takes you to a direction you didn't think exist? I was walking to StarBucks to meet my husband when I noticed a sign...

Still shaky, skidded in snow, but so blessed my guardian angels are looking after me!

"Never again wonder, what to be thankful for..."   - Rick Warren, The Purpose Driven Life It’s yet another snowy day in New Jersey. Beautiful, yes but dangerous! In line with my goal for this month is to get back on schedule. I got up around 4am to get my 15yo ready for his Model United Nations conference. (Thankful that our neighbor offered to drive him to school by 5:30am ) I got my 9yo ready for school and I'm thankful that my other neighbor offered to drive him to school. I then drove my husband to the train station to Manhattan. I decided to stop by the Community Center and decided to run a fast 5K on the treadmill. I was 1 mile short because I was so sweaty and hot. (Note to self: dress lightly next time) While cooling down inside the car, I read Day 14’s chapter of Rick Warren's the “Purpose Driven Life” book. I felt really good because it just reminded me that there is always something to be thankful for no matter how awful yo