The allusion in the title of this piece is clearly religious.
It is taken from that famous movement that urges families to pray together because if they do, they stay together.
This piece is about a family blogging, and the admonition could be: the family that blogs together, stays together.
This piece is self-serving as it is about our blogging 'addiction' as a family as if each family member is going through a rite of prayer each time he or she hits the computer keyboard.
In Marikina, it oftentimes happens that a war erupts first among the residents there before a settlement is inked, decided upon.
Or simply forced upon the children.
This is the case of a matriarchal power imposed upon children when the mother of the household feels that the computer hour and the computer are hers and no one else's.
This benevolent maternal dictatorship seldom happens, of course, but when it does happen, the matriarchal word is final. Irrevocable. Nonnegotiable. Incontestable.
In short, absolute, capital A.
Otherwise, a threat would follow suit: scram, get lost, tabi, tsupi.
In any case, what are parental powers for? They are there to resist the resistance of children, first and foremost.
The characters in this technological setting are: the kids, me, and the missus, with the missus as a disinterested commentator and critic, and, in a minor light, always in connivance with the lastborn for webcam time.
In which case, we have the joint maternal and bunso forces wreaking havoc on all the claimants to privileges, rights, powers whether these are inherent or acquired.
The blogging comes as a venue for self-expression for each of us.
This is a family that has so much to express even if it has yet to find a way to impress upon othes--and upon each other.
We do not say 'You are good' to each other willingly, voluntarily.
Well, not yet.
We are more prone to decapitate each other, say 'You are bragging again!' more than affirming each other's good points, vibes, talents.
We can never be the Ayalas or Aquinos or Arroyos even if our children have that hidden desire to serve their own people at the expense of their parents.
The children have that dream of saving the homeland from perdition, which is what makes the big surnames mentioned stand out from the rest of the forgettable because ordinary surnames.
The big surnames want to serve the homeland and county that is why they all run for office.
Never mind if they have nothing new to offer. The history of the surname is more than enough to hoodwink the voting public anyway.
One thing is clear in our blogs, in the comments that we post: there is that fantastic exchange of ideas, diffusion of thoughts, and dissemination of family secrets like that one nasty reference to a mother asking her son to buy 'suka' for her sinigang. Ha!
That was a riot, this ultimate blunder of a blog and a blogger, the blogger a firstborn and a son who has never wandered in the kitchen except to fill his plate with food. He cannot even cook rice the right way.
You can just imagine a war erupting, huge and violent between two powerful forces in the same land, place, setting: the household.
You can just imagine the threat of America to Iran, the county that is enriching the uranium for which reason the First World is so worried about the prospect of the annihilation of mankind.
In that honest mistake--so honest you can see a child caught in the act of taking in a coin from the wallet of his mother--you visualize the rage and wrath of a goddess coming down from her heavenly pedestal, with the iron rod and the lighting and the thunder for her company.
Ano kamo, suka sa sinigang? Ipinapahiya mo ako, bata ka! That was the missus, fiery, furious, fiercely guarding her right to cook sinigang the right way, without the suka.
I had a good time reading the comments of other bloggers visiting the son's site--or simply passing by when this blunder came about. With or without the blunders though, I read the blog, the comments, the things said, the things unsaid.
I imagine one writing in the comments section of his blog: What, you make paksiw out of sinigang? Or do you make sinigang out of paksiw?
The blogger of a son, realized, much much later that big blunder and self-editing and self-correction came a bit too late. He wrote about himself, as matter of self-flagellation: Ang tanga-tanga ko talaga! He could have been an Opus Dei in his monk's lonely cell overlooking the ruins of Rome and doing the discipline, with the fake rooster's blood oozing on his back.
It happens, of course--it happens that we forget the names of dishes we like most especially if you have lived most of your college life away from home, as is the case of the son who enjoyed going away for college to assert his independence.
The missus reacts to the blogs she likes and she hates most.
She likes the joyous ones, the positive, the light, the comic.
She hates the heavy ones, the meditating, the ruminating, the thinking, the relecting, in short, those laden with loneliness.
She cannot stand those and she tells you so--and even threatens not to read you anymore, the threat as if she means it.
The first daughter, of course, is the blogger par excellence.
In the summers, when she is on vacation, she serves as our 'lady guard' on night duty.
When each one is asleep, she has the computer all to herself until the wee hours of the morning, until everyone is awake.
By seven or eight in the morning, she is still up and about but as soon as she has taken her breakfast, she hits the bed and sleeps like a lady guard on an overnight duty.
The wonder of this blogging is that we open up our worlds to each other.
We let our thoughts spill out, laid down into the open. We argue for our cases as if we are all mature and intellectually disposed.
We agree to agree, we agree to disagree.
At the end of the day, though, is that tacit resolution that we shall keep on monitoring each other's blog by reading and re-reading the comment section.
There are no limits in the comment section except the dictates of courtesy, respect, and the honesty and logic of our opinions.
For we are a family with strong opinions, and we like to pick each other's brains in order to see who among us has more grey matter between the ears.
Well, sometimes we succeed.
Many times, we fail.
And if we do, we begin to blog again.
A. S. Agcaoili
June 1, 2006