Life worth living
FROM MY HEART - Barbara Gonzalez-Ventura (The Philippine Star) - September 23, 2018 - 12:00am

What is life? Difficult to define though we all have it. We all share it. As long as we breathe, we are alive. What does it mean to be alive? Does it mean perpetual happiness? Always feeling light and joyful?  No, of course not. Life is always a mixture of things.  Sometimes happy, other times sad, sometimes downright miserable. You wake up early to send the children to school. All mothers know (and grandmothers remember) how hectic that can be. It depends on the children’s age. How cute they are when they are small. How difficult they are when in high school. When in college, a whole new set of problems. Then, at a particular moment of their graduation, it hits you that it’s all over. You surprise yourself with a few tears.

When they are grown, independent, gone, life takes on a different hue. I lived with a daughter and her adorable baby boy, who would sit on my lap in front of my computer while I clicked on a Christmas card that a friend had emailed. Together we lit up the Christmas tree, sending him into peals of laughter and then he would say, “Again, again, again.” He was around two then and now he is 22, grown up in Europe, went from high school to a master’s course at the Royal Academy of Art in London, won it because of the presentation he made himself. He is brilliant and terribly good-looking. Now he is working with a well-known British artist on something for some impressive public display. I am so proud of him though in my heart he is still my Wootie. I used to call him my “Cutie Wootie Woo.”

The memories are remarkable. We cherish them with our minds and hearts. I remember what my Wootie smelled like when I carried him as a baby. I have so many baby memories of my children and grandchildren that I cherish profoundly. I have many terrible memories of their puberty and now, on replay, I know that they were just going through the disconnect process. I wish I had known that when they were growing up. Then I would have been less frazzled. But I did not know. Nobody told me. I just groped my way through motherhood or single parenthood like most people of that mold did.

But my entire family survived. We — each of us — now has his or her own independent life. We each have our own interest. My son is a composer, arranger of music. He is very successful, has composed a theme for Disney Hong Kong and another one for Dubai. One daughter is in the United States earning awards.  Another daughter is in Europe organizing all sorts of things. Another daughter is here conducting seminars and talking to international clients over the computer.  We all live our lives pretty well.

What do I do now? I am trying to make jewelry again. A friend of mine, Carissa, an Ikebana artist, invited me to put my jewelry on display and do a mini workshop at their annual Ikebana exhibit titled “Bejeweled.” It will be on Tuesday, Oct. 9, at the roof deck of Sunshine Place at 2 p.m. Yesterday I brought my jewelry and they created Ikebana pieces around them.  I got so excited.  I have never seen anything so beautiful and so creative made right there on the spot before my very eyes.

I took some pictures but they were taken against the light and the details don’t show. But this session made me realize how creative this type of Ikebana is, and how I want to invite people over to have a look and appreciate the work of creative women. For me, it was really breathtaking.

So I want to invite you to come and see this truly creative show. If you do, please call Carissa at 0917-8151585 and make reservations. Or you might also want to call me, though I don’t know if I will hear your ring because my phone has inexplicable spells of silence. In addition to the wonderful show, you will get merienda in a bento box and a small kit for the workshop, which I will conduct. You might want to buy some of my jewelry or you might just want to have a look. I promise you’ll enjoy our joint creativity.

So what is life, really? It’s doing things that give us pleasure. That much I have learned. When we are young, we do things because we have to earn the money and comply with our duties. But when the children are grown and flown we have to find creative things to do that satisfy us, that lift our hearts and spirits building new memories, that give us even a little joy. That brings a touch of beauty even for just an afternoon. It makes life a touch more worth living.

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