(Bitter) Sweet Reunion

Ninongs and ninangs and kids. This was taken at my house on Dec. 26.

Couple-friends Ron and May and Bong and Winnie

In my previous life I belonged to a circle of couple-friends who were godfathers and godmothers of each other's children.  There were five such couples – the men of which grew up together, having attended the same elementary school.  The wives somehow managed to hit it off, as well,or at least suffer the company of the others.

For many years this group held Christmas and New Year parties, potluck style and with exchange gifts to match. Sometimes we drove to Tagaytay and back on a whim.  The babies grew into children who ran around and played together, the wives talked about such mundane things as recipes and report cards and in-laws, while the husbands reminisced about being five-year-olds and fourth-graders together, went off for a drive and maybe did other things they didn't want their wives to know.

That was long ago. A lot of things had happened since those days. Two of the five couples had separated; three of the men had gone to the Middle East; one of the women had gone to live with her parents in Butuan City.

This Christmas became a reunion of sorts although not all the members of the original group were present. There were three gatherings in three different places, owing to the sensitivities of the estranged couples who refused to make a public appearance – and be grilled as to the whys and the how comes – together. There was not much food, to be sure, because the meetings were spontaneous, but the children, all of whom were so much bigger now but who re-connected instantly even though they had not seen each other for years, had a ball.  A late afternoon snack lasted all the way to eleven o'clock at night.

In a few days, those on vacation will board their planes and everybody will resume his normal routine. It leaves a warm fuzzy feeling, though, that despite the upheavals and the decisions one makes in other aspects of one's life, there are people who will remain your friends, want to make sure you are really okay, and show concern for your children – their godchildren, after all -- as though they were their own.