The holiday season brought us a very talkative 6-year old kid from Cavite. Innocence and amusement filled our household everyday during the holiday season.
One time she blurted out- Mayaman pala kayo Lolo, Lola! (You were rich Lolo, Lola!)
We laughed and we asked why.
Mayaman po kayo kasi may hagdan kayo. (You are rich because you have stairs.)
I never knew that a simple staircase could give meaning to a child. And she saw it as a status symbol. Now this staircase of ours is not the flamboyant type you can see in some rich man’s mansion. Our staircase is a compilation of wood slabs 6 inches wide and 24 inches long. I was suddenly conscious about it that I measured it up and counted them. They were the ugliest staircase I could find in the whole wide world.
I asked the child why the stairs made us rich. Her simple answer was- Wala po kaming ganyan. (We don’t have one at home.)
We were not rich just because we have a staircase. Yet those stairs were rich in memories of love and pain, of joy and sorrows. Looking at it, you could see it has survived time. Been polished many times to hide its deformities. Some parts have succumbed to termites and other calamities.
Many children loved playing on this staircase. Us. Our children. Our neighbors. Our nephews and nieces. Many a child got his foot sprained because of the undersized slabs. It was here that a loving and motherly love was shown to ease the sprained foot or a bruised head.
It was here when a sister sat and announced to the family that she was getting married. It was also here that she sat crying over her lost husband who died due to illness.
It was on the railings of the staircase that artworks were displayed by proud parents. It was also on those railings that a sister displayed her autographed picture of the first woman pilot of Cebu Pacific bearing a greeting for her because she worked at that same company.
The alcoholic brother sat at those stairs not minding that the whole family was looking at him heaving a sigh full of pain and regret.
Yes, the child is right! We are rich!