The Grainy Gift

rice3
Abundance ©Theresa Herzog

In the Philippines, the relationship between extended families when linked by a baptism, confirmation or wedding, is taken very seriously. There is a name in Tagalog for this connection, adopted from our Spanish heritage. When a person agrees to be the godparent of a child, the two sets of parents are co-parents, comare or compare (from the Spanish Comadre and Compadre). The children will refer to each other as kinakapatid, or acting brother or sister, or as I prefer to call it, half-baked sibling, and address the godparents as Ninong or Ninang. The godparents, in turn, refer to the godchild as inaanak, or assumed child.

The outpouring of love and generosity from my parents comares and compares, including my own Ninang, since my parents’ passing has been staggering and a source of great strength. I see in them reflections of my parents, echoes of my childhood, and find comfort in these family ties.

Today I received the gift of abundance by way of rice, and the gift of presence in the form of my kinakapatid, who brought the rice over. Rice is a staple food in most Asian countries, and we treat it with reverence, as it plays a central role in family dynamics and is a symbol of abundance. For Filipinos, food is unifying factor, an excuse to get together and share.

Today the rice was a gift of love and generosity.

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