One of the many reasons why Franco and I aren’t considering relocating to another country for now, is the unavailability and high cost of trustworthy, dependable, and carinosa stay-in househelp slash nanny elsewhere in the world. When we list down the things/people/events that we are thankful for this year, Manang Lydia will definitely be included. She cooks well. She likes tending our garden. She’s not the type who needs to be told before doing something. Having worked as a janitress for years, she cleans like a pro. Most of all, we love her because she loves our son. And Aki loves her back.
She went home to Samar on the morning of Christmas to spend time with her family. She did not go home empty-handed because we gave her and her family some presents to show our appreciation. She hardly asks us for anything so we got cues of what gifts would they want based on her stories about her family.
First, something for the husband. Manang mentioned once that her husband has been going to church wearing a ratty pair of slippers. We went to Mr Quickie to have Franco’s old favourite rubber shoes repaired. For just 400 pesos, they did a great job in changing and sewing on new soles. Franco liked the job so much that he had second thoughts of giving away his Nikes.
Then something for her kids. Whenever we are in a mall, Manang only checks out National Bookstore. She said she’s saving up for a dictionary. And so I got her one plus a thesaurus.
For Manang herself, we gave her two other gifts aside from her paid vacation leave and bonus.
She asked my permission before if she could take home a picture of Aki so her kids would see how her alaga looks like. I got her something better. A studio picture of Aki and her together. This one was taken at Tronix where I am a suki. It only costed me 80 bucks but what I got in return, the expression on her face as soon as she saw the picture, was priceless.
And since she was nice enough to help me prepare our Noche Buena, I gave her a gift to return the favour. I prepared a simple media noche basket with a couple of de latas and ingredients for pasta, fruit salad and cookies.
Today is Manang’s fourth day to be away. I have been looking after my 14 month old 24/7. It is fun but sooooo tiring and frustrating when he does not listen. It’s now that I appreciate her more than ever. Merry Christmas, Manang!