Mutation

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By Regina May Cajucom

Serendipity Couch

Thursday, February 21, 2013


IT STARTED with a simple homework, requiring my eldest daughter to make a family tree, a diagram to apply their current lessons on Mendelian genetics. My daughter went on to print pictures of our family – grandparents, uncles, aunties, sisters – and to describe the physical traits of each member. It is a seemingly harmless task, except that the subject mom (that would be me) has “it’s complicated” written all over both her genetic “makeup” and personal history, in every sense of the word.

I guess the issue has been looming for a while since I read Emily Giffin’s latest work “Where We Belong”, about Marian, a big-shot TV executive who found her sweet life suddenly in shambles when an eighteen-year-old girl came knocking at her door, the child she gave up for adoption all grown up, ready to meet her. In a gist, it is about finding one’s roots, learning where this trait or that came from – basically the issue of why one is that way or the other. It gave me a slight pinch to the heart, knowing I have practically the same issues but not really feeling the need to fill in the gaps that so far (I think) do not need to be filled anymore.

My Lolo Pedring used to tell me (long before Emily Giffin came up with “Where We Belong”) that he admired my guts and stability, that given my life history, I may have had some difficulty finding where I really belong but that I had so far accepted myself enough to find my own place without question, without doubt. I miss Lolo Pedring – he used to tell me things I did not even realize about myself, and he was like both a philosopher and a psychic. Shortly after he met me (complicated family history: Lolo Pedring was my stepdad’s dad, not genetically linked but bound by love nonetheless…) he told me I had a golden aura. To say that he sort of made me feel special is actually an understatement.

Anyway, after a short yet complicated discussion about the family tree assignment I felt like I should just ask my daughter to write “IT’S COMPLICATED” on my part of the equation, and let her note that her teacher should just see me personally if she intends to hear about the juicy details. I know some people who have never heard of their dads, just as I know a few who are with their dads all their lives but never really know them. I have been searching for that feeling of “not being complete” not knowing my roots but up to this point I have failed. I may not have the privilege of knowing my roots (on one side) but I feel very lucky to have grown up, and shared my life with people who have given me wings, and I guess notwithstanding homework on genetics like that, I am still alright. True I sometimes find myself neither here nor there for some reason, but on good days, I have a clear picture of where I am heading.

This feels like midlife crisis staring at me in the face. (serendipity.couch@gmail.com/ www.serendipitycouch.com)

Published in the Sun.Star Baguio newspaper on February 21, 2013.

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