Philippine Daily Inquirer - - FRONT PAGE - CON­CHITA C. RA­ZON

Our pa­per cel­e­brates a mile­stone to­day. Thirty-three years. Imag­ine that! No one, prob­a­bly not even its founders, thought it would sur­vive so long.

It was birthed in tu­mul­tuous, se­verely crit­i­cal times. Some peo­ple feared it was too con­tro­ver­sial, too for­ward, and dan­ger­ously gutsy. No one wants re­al­i­ties thrown in one’s face. Too con­tentious, some ar­gued. Many ap­plauded while oth­ers gnashed their teeth.

But as a whole, ev­ery­one held his breath.

But here we are (per­mis­sion to use freely the “ed­i­to­rial we”), over three decades later, alive and well, and although we may re­peat­edly strug­gle against the chang­ing tides, we man­age to stay on even keel, keep our heads above wa­ter, with enough spirit and en­ergy to spit and sput­ter out the truth while gasp­ing to catch our next breath.

Happy an­niver­sary to the Philip­pine Daily Inquirer! May your tribe in­crease!

Time lag

Mean­while, at home our hol­i­day cal­en­dar con­tin­ues to show “mov­able feasts.” It is like this al­most ev­ery year.

Show-biz fam­i­lies of­ten have to go through hoops to cel­e­brate the spe­cial events on time. We have had early and late Christ­mases, even be­lated or ad­vanced birth­days. I have hosted a fab­u­lous New Year’s bash (mi­nus the count­down) a week af­ter the fact.

Late and all, the spirit does not wa­ver.

Some­one once com­mented, “You must be a bunch of re­ally happy peo­ple. There is zero al­co­hol in your bar, but you are all on some kind of a nat­u­ral high. What’s your se­cret?”

It’s about be­ing to­gether, I wanted to tell him. It’s about lov­ing who you are with. It has noth­ing to do with the date. It has ev­ery­thing to do with the heart.

Last week our de­layed Thanks­giv­ing din­ner went with­out a hitch. The turkeys were ten­der and juicy, stuff­ing was great, the yams were de­li­cious cov­ered with sticky and chewy golden brown marsh­mal­lows, and there were no lumps in my gravy.

All in all it was a huge suc­cess.

I have a ques­tion. Fam­ily re­unions are won­der­ful and fun and all that, but have you ever been at the or­ga­niz­ing end of any of them?

It can be a night­mare, es­pe­cially when you are fac­ing the end of the year and the events start get­ting crammed too closely to­gether.

My prob­lem is al­ways the re­sponses. I have a list. But I need a head count. De­spite the in­ter­net and the smart­phones, my RSVP re­spon­ders seem to take for­ever.

This hap­pens es­pe­cially around this sea­son. Sched­ules get crowded. You can’t go to ev­ery in­vite.

When it’s a fam­ily af­fair, it gets sticky. There are at least two places to go, two fam­i­lies to con­tend with. I re­al­ize it is dif­fi­cult. We are in Ala­bang. And I have grand­chil­dren with fam­i­lies in Pasig and Makati. How to choose? Some­one is bound to feel ne­glected, slighted.

What to wear

Our fam­ily gath­er­ings are quite ca­sual; in fact, some­times overly so. Some peo­ple like to get all gussied up and I have thought it would be nice to do that once in a while, on a spe­cial oc­ca­sion. But would the kids com­ply?

I have a friend who loves to get all decked out for cel­e­bra­tions. If she could, she would go ev­ery­where wear­ing a long evening dress and her sparklers.

She is dis­ap­pointed at the lo­cal scene. “There’s no telling what the kids will wear these days. Un­less there’s a dress code spec­i­fied they may show up in shorts and flip-flops.”

She is prob­a­bly right. I am a “com­fort first” dresser my­self. But I do try.

Sev­eral years ago, I got rid of my high-heeled shoes and noth­ing has ever felt “all dressed up” any­more. Some­how wear­ing flats makes me feel quite “un­el­e­gant.” Although other ladies can still walk stylishly in bal­let slip­pers, I feel like I wad­dle.

They say that wear­ing the proper out­fit is also part of good man­ners. I think it is also a sign of re­spect.

And speak­ing of man­ners, I read an ar­ti­cle by par­ent­ing writer Kim Marie Evans where she spoke about ta­ble eti­quette for chil­dren. Of course, we all know the rules about el­bows and nap­kins, but Evans goes a lit­tle deeper.

She tells par­ents to teach their chil­dren at an early age, the art of car­ry­ing on a con­ver­sa­tion at the din­ner ta­ble, stress­ing the im­por­tance of lis­ten­ing, and en­cour­ag­ing them to freely but re­spect­fully en­gage with adults.

Evans starts off by ban­ning the use of tele­phones and gad­gets dur­ing the meal. I like what she says: “Cre­ate a space where your chil­dren are in the mo­ment with you.”

Try it!

Just an­other birth­day

The sea­son is upon us. There are gifts to wrap.

It is De­cem­ber. There are can­dles to blow.

To­mor­row I cel­e­brate the start of an­other year in this rich and in­cred­i­bly blessed jour­ney I call my life.

It has been one filled with won­der and sur­prise, of tears and laugh­ter, of liv­ing deep and learn­ing deeper.

So far it has been a rocky but amaz­ing ride. I thank God for what has been and I am filled with joy­ful ex­pec­ta­tion for what is yet to be. Bring it on! To­mor­row is just an­other birth­day.

In the words of C.S. Lewis: “You are never too old to set an­other goal or to dream a new dream.”

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