Birthdays should be a happy occasion. Unfortunately for Bimb Yap, who celebrated his 11th birthday last April 19, his birthday prompted a media frenzy because of his parents' social media posts. His father, James Yap, shot him a birthday greeting on Instagram, and his mother, Kris Aquino, responded with a scathing multi-post tirade that began last Friday and continued until today, April 23. It even got political.
There will be Filipinos who will find Kris's tirade horrific. They are those who feel that airing dirty laundry the way she has is unbecoming of a woman and of someone who happens to be related to two former Philippine presidents (her mom and her brother). And in this country at least, the one who keeps ranting is often seen as the "villain," and the one who keeps mum is the dignified one.
Sigh. As someone who used to be a single mom for over 10 years, it's natural for me to empathize with Kris. I can only speculate what pushed her to become hostile to her ex, but, honestly, I can understand that anger, her pain, and how it can fester.
The father of my son broke up with me a day after our eighth year anniversary, and once he was free of us, he never really made an effort to get to know his son more. Co-parenting? How does someone do that when you don't hear from him? How do you reach out — and forgive — when you see your son feeling dejected (and rejected) by a father who couldn't be bothered to tell his son he wasn't coming?
You become exhausted by the disappointments, but you will foam in the mouth when your former husband or partner pretends that everything is all right. Or if there is something wrong, he feels no blame for it. You want to scream in frustration — and hurt back.
In this post, Kris writes about the "all for show" vibe: "This mother has had it with half-truths and hypocrisy, and she needed to make a stand for truth. Because proudly, I am what I do and not merely what I say."
What else would push a mom to the edge? In one of her posts, Kris didn't mince words when she related that her son talked about the disparaging remark his father made about about him. "When Bimb saw the post na binastos siya na 'baklain' siya, he shrugged it off and said, ‘Mom, who cares? My own biological dad said that about me in court, and he’s said it so many other times.” How do you forgive such things?
Every single parent's journey and the challenges that come with it are unique. But the lies and disappointments complicate everything. You can reach a point when you want the truth to come out no matter the consequences. I understand why single parents stay silent about the mess their lives can be, but I also understand why Kris felt the need to post about it online.
"I know I’ve unleashed a double-edged sword. I know I’ve made enemies, and I’ve also found kindred spirits in mothers who like me have felt that they have had enough and they had to take a stand and say I am now fighting back," Kris wrote on Instagram.
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Kris continued, "I also know I have personal demons I need to exorcise because no matter what, I still want to be someone my sons can be proud of. So I will collect my thoughts and try my best to forgive regardless of the fact no remorse has ever been shown." She apologized but stayed firm in not deleting her previous posts because her anger "comes from the heart of a mother who has been unnecessarily stepped on."
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We have our ways of dealing with life. But if a parent wants to stay and be involved in raising a child no matter what happens to his or her romantic relationship with the other parent, then walk the talk. For whatever reason a parent doesn't want or isn't able to do that, it's a choice he or she has to live with. Because if, again, for whatever reason, you regret anything, then you haven't tried everything.