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Advice Comes Seldomly, Love Showers Overwhelmingly

Judy Marie Aguas Panganiban had a rough day. Before she knew it, her keys were flying out of her hand and onto the sofa.

“Jude-Jude, what did I say about hanging your keys?”

“To actually do it.”

Jo Maria Aguas had an even rougher life. She immigrated to the United States by herself, with no husband to turn to at home, bringing her daughter with her only a year later. She had Judy Marie not more than three years later.

Judy was dealing with friendship problems and balancing the stress of photography bookings with school and extracurriculars. Today was just far too much for her.

One friend wanted to leave her and their friendship for what seemed to be a futile reason while the others fought for seemingly no reason.

So as her day broke at the seams, she turned to the constant in her life: memories. There, on a little shelf, sat an old memory album that her older sister kept during her years as the only child with their mother. She shared the album with Judy just days ago.

“How did you guys look so happy? How was life so easy?”

Judy never noticed that her mom always felt when something was wrong. Jo was listening to her daughter and silently prayed for her, but she could almost never approach a teenager. Life was hard enough, trying to advise a teenager could be even harder.

Judy never noticed… or at least Jo thought she never did. Her daughter’s senses, however, were heightened and Judy noticed her mom bow her head in exhaustion before continuing on her path to her room.



Judy was surprised. She knew her mom could tell she was upset, but she never expected her mom to come to her room so suddenly. Her life was busy enough.


“What are you doing looking at Demi’s photo album?”

They never really talked too much. When Judy was born, Jo was in the midst of building her career in marketing for an engineering firm. Looking around though, Jo could figure out what was going on.

“Did something happen at school?”

“Pssh… what didn’t happen? Always so busy…”

Jo looked at her daughter. Jo looked at her daughter with a look that only a mother could give. Jo looked at her daughter and then took her hand. She made the connection.

“What really happened, Judy?”


And then, not silence.

In truth, Judy had been waiting for a time like this.

“I’m just so tired of it all, Ma. I can’t be alone at lunch anymore, I can’t be praised for how great I am at photography or math or history and then be treated like I just don’t exist once I try to talk to people. I’m tired of being alone.”

This hurt Jo. Offended, even.



“Judy Marie, did I have any friends when I moved to this country?”

Judy thought back to the album.

“No, you don’t get it…”

“Maybe not your current precise situation, pero I know being without anyone to turn to and having to support myself and others who counted on me.”

Judy looked at her mom. Judy looked at her mom with a look only a daughter could give. Judy looked at her mom and embraced her. She accepted the connection.

Through tears, she talked to her mom. Through tears, Jo felt her youngest daughter for the first time in so long.

“Nobody’s ever been there for me, Ma. I’ve always been the one that could look out for myself and look out for the family, especially after Demi went to college…”

“Judy… I work hard so that you don’t have to worry about us. But don’t ever let anyone who claims to be your friend keep you from being yourself. I didn’t bring you into this world to let other people disrespect you.

That night they both learned a lot about one another.

Most importantly, they remembered how much their love flowed to one another, even when actions  like advice came so infrequently.


Editor(s): Blenda Y., Alisha B.

Photo Credits: Unsplash


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