Quarantine was less scary than it was stressful, and to most kids, boring. It felt like an endless cycle of days that led to nowhere. The same thing every day; wake up, phone, eat, wash dishes, phone, sleep. Then again… and again. Over time, it seemed that my bed grew tired of me. It got softer and softer until I felt the hard bars underneath. It became very uncomfortable, to be blunt. And so, I found myself hanging out with my mom more, on her bed. While she was working, I’d sit in silence beside her, or watch a series on our TV on low volume… or randomly babble… whichever came first.
There’d be times she’d talk to me about work; how she was getting stressed, the struggles she and her team were facing, and such. I was able to watch her as she hosted online events and presented during meetings. I watched as she eventually got tired because she lacked sleep. At some point, she wanted to quit. She wanted to resign. Maybe she’d been thinking about it for a while, and I just didn’t know. But there was something in my mom that I didn’t instantly get. The immeasurable weight of being the family’s breadwinner rested on her shoulders alone. But she didn’t give in. I knew she was the determined type of person, but I didn’t see why…
…Why did mom keep going. Although it wasn’t quick and easy, she did her research and explored different online tools and platforms. She experimented with them, incorporated them into her work. She’d guide her teammates to use the tools she found. There were days that she’d surprise me with how ecstatic she’d get over programs that I’d never even heard of. Somehow, the load lightened. Somehow, it brought her joy and satisfaction.
I admire her for always being positive. But it wasn’t that… It was her resilience that kept her going, her ability to see the problems and the wrongs but still put on a genuine smile and work. She chose to keep going, not just because she had something to prove, not for recognition, but because she knew that this was the direction the world was going in. She couldn’t just rely on whatever used to work, because things are different now.
My mom inspires me. And that’s why I tried to do things the way she did. I explored video editing, something I had given up on a while ago. I started editing videos for my mom’s projects and created learning materials for my dad’s programs. I learned the guitar, keyboard, and ukulele through YouTube tutorials. I took my first step in pursuing my dreams… I competed for an online scholarship in Star Magic Workshops.
I realized that there’s more to the internet than games and social media. And without noticing, that emptiness, that feeling of going nowhere dissipated. I drove again, I had a sense of direction. And I just needed to keep learning.
HONORABLE MENTION – SHORT STORY MAKING A DIFFERENCE IN THE DIGITAL WORLD
14 years old