Families come in all shapes and sizes. They can be beloved family by choice, connected by a bond considered thicker by blood. As such, we at My Pope explored what lies at the heart of being family. One story that inspired us is that of Monica Barretto and her family, who are lucky enough to have someone like Yaya Didang in their household for 39 years.
When did Yaya Didang join your family?
She has been with us since March 1979. Yaya started when my mom was five months pregnant with me.
Why has she stayed with your family for so long?
I think the main reason why she has stayed with us is her genuine love for our whole family (even our dogs!). It’s also because my mom is one of the kindest employers. She treats everyone with kindness, generosity, and respect. There was a time we had financial problems and couldn’t give Yaya her salary, and yet she chose to stay with us. I cannot put into words how grateful I am for everything she has done for us. I am very close to all the members of my family—and Yaya is part of that family.
What are your best memories of her with each generation of your family?
She has been with us in happy occasions and tough times, but it’s also the simple everyday things she does to take care of each and every one of us that I am grateful for. I will always cherish the way she takes care of me when I get sick—up to this day she still gives me an ice bath or massages my joints when I’m not feeling well, even if she’s old and not that strong anymore. I also remember the time I went through a break up; she hugged me the whole night until I fell asleep. When she sees me get hurt physically or emotionally, she also cries with me. She doesn’t like seeing me sad. She is also present during all my happy moments, like when I got married (she was part of the offertory at my wedding) and had my first child. Now that I have a child, she is like a lola to him, spoiling him with lots and lots of love.