Wednesday, January 11, 2012


It’s so breezy today. I just woke up and it’s almost 10:00 AM. It must be the cold winter nights. For whatever reasons, I feel so high today, and looking forward to be full of joy and happiness onwards. Sitting under my tree, I just felt a barrage of good vibes. My heart beats so fast and differently. Today seems so ordinary, yet feels so strangely special. And I don't know why.

Upon checking my mobile phone, I am astounded of 14 miscalls, 98 Facebook notifications, and a number of messages. What? How long had I slept? Oh, I feel sorry for those love-ones seeking me. So I guess I better put it in writing for all of them to see.

My eldest son, reading from his SMS, said he dreamt of me two nights ago. But he finds it quite funny, awkward, and really crazy. He can’t understand that in his dream, he saw himself already of his present age – with his wife standing by his side as they held hands, and all three daughters giggly standing to my back watching me do the woodwork - as I was forming a top for my son out of an arm-sized dried guava branch. In my modest memory, I had him play the top, and he spins it so great. He also has some tricks where he would throw the top up back and catch and spin it on his palm. Or he would let it spin while hanging by the sling, and some further tricks that are so lovely for old people to see.
I first met his wife when they were about to let us know of their plans to get married. I must tell you they had a whirlwind romance before jumping up to the next phase, and penniless too, Lol! Kids, really… they think love is enough to survive.

I would never forget their eldest child. In fact, I carried her many times, even when she was just a newborn. She is our first grandchild actually. And yes, she got the face of my mother. All my folks would agree to it, saying the semblance is just so imminent to ignore.

For their two younger kids, I’ve seen their photos. Good Lord, they are just so beautiful too; their second child who looks exactly pretty like my daughter-in-law, and their youngest as another carbon copy of my mother. Well in fact, for so many times, I can’t help but laugh with the thought that my bloodline was just so strong upon my broods, hahaha..!

Back to those two youngsters, in fairness to them, sometimes they’d call me too. I’m not so sure what they know about me. I just heard they’d sometimes ask about my tale. But I’m all glad that they would at times say my name. Aahhh, I wish I had cuddled them too!

Scrolling on my Facebook notifications, there I saw a status posted by my daughter. Reading her post, I must admit, caught me – as always. She said she as well dreamt of me combing her hair. Lord Jesus, am I having tears now? Naahhh..! Cannot be, can never be! ‘Tears’ has already long been an obliterated word from my vocabulary!

Just a thing though. If anyone would ask about me and my daughter? Straight up, I would say; “We owned the world”! She was my little princess, as she still is. But why not? To me, she is the only girl in the world! I can’t say I loved her more over her brothers. But maybe I did – because she is my unica hija. There were more things I had shared with her because what I did with my boys was so common from my own childhood. I had never seen a life-size play house, and so I built her one. I never had a little sister as I am the youngest child, but I just loved dressing her up when she was younger. And there are more great memories I had with her, and I would always smile every time I am reminded of my princess. You must hear her belt out, because she sings so well. She is also a darling. With her being bubbly, giggly and always very positive, everyone would love her easily.

She also has just one child. Oh, and she was also named after me! I can always imagine their daughter as a baby, a very lovely one. I used to cuddle her up then. She must have grown so big and pretty now. I can see that through her voice each time she calls.

Did I mention that my daughter married my eldest son’s best friend? Well, she did! I had seen him as a good guy then, almost raised up according to my own set of standards. He must have gotten a great set of parents too. A very dedicated father and husband, or so I heard.

I had always this feeling that both my daughter and her child will be well taken-cared of by him. And as I see their plight now, guess that guy who took my princess away had achieved and provided them even more than what I had expected. Deep in my heart, I can truly say that I am so proud of him. Damn, he did beat me black and blue! What must had he been thinking then anyway? Shame me? If that was the case, then I want to let him know that I am not complaining. And there goes a loud ha-ha-ha for him too, Lol!

Just as I am writing this, I got a call from my wife; said both families of our two elder kids had a blastful (is this even a word now?) of a post-Christmas-slash-pre-New-Year holiday altogether. Oh Lord, I miss my wife so terribly; her face, her gestures, her love and affection, her kisses, her tone. Oops, let’s forget about the last part. Just between you and me, she doesn’t have a good musical voice. So please don’t let her sing, okay? Or she can ruin a party, hahaha..! (Don't worry, I will always love you, Mommy. Muah..!)

Hearing all of my wife’s stories makes me feel so homesick. Sometimes I ask myself what am I doing here, and why am I not having fun with them. But well, still I am glad they are fine, so very fine. I must still be a lucky dude for having my wife as my accomplice in my life's missions. She stuck to our game plan, and looking at our kids now, I admit she did well.  

Going over on other missed postings, there I saw another good news – which could be the best at the moment. My youngest son and his family are visiting our homeland! This guy I must tell you, will always be my priced son. I don’t care what his elder brother and sister will say, but he really is. He made me most proud than ever. His accomplishments are just way so beyond my visions. Too many surprises, gave us too much honors as parents. Nobilities were almost endless. But I tell you, he also had some sort-of dark sides too.

One afternoon during my days as an elementary grade teacher, it was that time in the afternoon before retreat when the pupils have to do some cleaning within the school surroundings. There I saw two boys – one obviously more sized up than the other – scuffling quite afar where I was standing. I was laughing deep inside because I can see the smaller kid just toying the bigger one, easily throwing punches here and there. Well, just kiddie fights, I said. So I didn't mind so much.

Until one pupil came running, hushing to me, telling me that my son is involved in that very scuffle. I had to rush up and separate them. He is an honor pupil, why would he even do that! But looking back, whenever alone, I would always grin recalling what I saw. What a sight. My son was the smaller child!

Well, my son married my good friend’s only daughter. We are from the same community, same religious affiliation, so apparently same values too, same cultural references to live by. So both parties are very much well known to each other. Just by that, I could never have qualms at all. From the onset, it was evident they will make a good pair. And certainly a good set of parents too.

I heard they got two kids now; a boy and a girl. And again, I was appalled to note that their son is also named after me. What are these guys thinking! They don’t want my legacy to die anymore? Makes me wonder, whew!

But on the other hand, I’m glad that my wife often pays them a visit down under. If only I could fly with her too so I could also see where they live, and how they are beating life there. I learned they just got a new house. Wish I could make some of their furniture and cabinets myself. Modesty aside, I am an FCM major (Furniture and Cabinet Making), just so you know. I'm sure I still have the reflexes. Must be peanuts!

I can’t wait to see my priced son’s family. Surely I’ll steal his kids away and show them my cozy place. Hey, but why not! I live by the beach front. Nice view and superb ambiance. Cold sea breeze all day, lots of fancy cottages for vacationers, and if they get lucky, they can even experience the primitive way of catching marine fishes. Pretty sure they’d love my place. Not to stay, of course. Just for a visit. And oops, not to mention I live just a few blocks away from my in-laws and other relatives. So it won’t be a totally strange location for them to see.

Actually, God knows I’m alright. As a matter of fact, I can honestly say that I am very much alright. All these news that I periodically receive, and all those calls too, there is nothing left for me to whine for. Rather, I can only thank enough that even when we are not living in the same worlds, I am wholly satisfied how they walk their lives. Twenty-eighth of January in 1998, it’s been so close to fourteen years now since I last saw their faces. Of course I miss them a lot too, just the same as maybe how they miss me. In due time, when all their missions in life are fulfilled, I know we shall be altogether again – forever.

Geeze, how time flies. My watch is now suggesting dinner. Well, I hope I can still have a little more Facebooking later to check for more updates, before taking a good bed rest again. Actually, my doctor always advises me not to tire myself too much. It’s just that I can’t help the longing anymore. With all such kind of news, who can? So guess I’ll be dreaming about each and every one of them tonight. Though I think I’d be dreaming of them even sooner than that. I’m sleepy now…

Good night Jesus, good night Mommy. Good night kids, and good night to my six grandchildren too. Until then, my most beloveds. See you all when I see you.

Monday, December 19, 2011

Simply Yohan

1999. 21st of December. Tuesday. Looking at the calendar, it suggests we’re being just a few more days before the turn to a new millennium. Jackie and I geared up for work, drove her to her office, and then proceeded to mine. Nothing unusual. Just one of those another ordinary day.

Came 10:00 AM, I received a call. Said she’s back home to pick up the stuffs she particularly prepared for the day we had been anticipating about. She’s feeling it; she was already to give birth anytime. I took off and rushed back home but found no trace of Jackie. Neighbors would tell me they are gone. Pretty sure, it must be taxi I met at the crossroad.

I proceeded to the hospital with my heartbeat pacing like the beat of the car engine. And as soon as I had parked, I sped inside. I was met by her OB, told me it was a swift delivery – 20 minutes, tops! Reading the aura of excitement and eagerness on my face, I was pointed to the nursery. There I saw a thinly wrapped child so delicate, sleeping so calmly with her distinct sunken pair of dimples. Undeniably so beautiful. Very adorable…

Looking at her pink face, I guess I shed tears of joy. For 4-years and 10-months, the waiting is finally over. I closed my eyes and thanked God, in the highest spirits. Another blessing to thank for. Another reason to be motivated. Another inspiration to a happy family life.

I went to my wife in the recovery room, still sedated but half conscious. We held hands and kissed. It was a very ecstatic moment. I told her how beautiful our new baby is. She just dizzily smiled back, and slept. In 2-days we would return home. Everyone would be very happy to see her. And after 3-months, we christened our daughter “Joanna Carolina”, with her second name after my mother. And we fondly call her “Yohan”.

To date, just a few days more and she will turn 12. The years rolled so quickly that we almost did not notice her grow so fast. Well, at least to me – because if there’s a list she keeps where I would certainly topnotch, it must be the number of times I am away during her birthdays.

Among our three daughters – which is all we have, Yohan is our middle child. She holds the most difficult spot among our siblings. She has a 4-year 10-month gap with both of her sisters. When she converses to her elder sister (Carla Janina), she must elevate her mind half a decade over her age to cope up with Janina’s mind frame. And when she talks to her little sister (Carla Juliana, or Jia), she must reduce herself to another almost 5-years to alleviate their stance.

Not provided of any choice, either she plays a forced adult, or a temporary toddler. For her to be comprehensive, she must be able to lithely swing within that almost 10-year span between her sisters. I really have no idea how she does it. Either it is a skill, or something she is bound to be outstanding at. It is tough, but she knows it is the only way that she can aptly communicate with her sisters.

That’s why sometimes she’d rather choose to be alone and be vividly quiet. She would lock herself up, or would choose to be distant from our sights. I must know, at times she’d just want to be herself; of her age, of her own mind structure, and just be naturally by her own habitat. Because the moment she strikes a conversation, she’d end up playing in character again.

This must be the reason that she is never a Papa’s girl, neither a Mama’s girl too. There are indirect strives between us. We, her parents, would always want to comprehend. That’s what parents are expected to do anyway. But sometimes, the intangibles are just too vague to understand. Just so profound and delicate and fragile, but must never be ignored.

She would never reiterate asking favors. Once shot down, she’d just weep by herself. That’s when I and Jackie have to be mind readers. We have to really dig her to speak her mind. Not that she is unspoken, not that she is shy. She just doesn’t appreciate repeated conversations.

Yohan is not as bubbly as Jia, nor as eye-catcher as Janina. She can be as funny as hell, and can be noticeably jolly. But her personality would usually situate her to take the backseat. She normally spares highlight moments. She has a big heart for that. She doesn’t care much about accolades. She can just be a calm and quiet supporter.

As parents, particularly to me, it pains my heart that our Yohan is just unique as compared to her sisters. She may yet to speak her heart out, and just be vividly open. But in delight, she is still young. And since she just recently turned ‘from a child to a lady’, now she has all the time to mature, and see what her world has to offer. Maybe it is just one of those stages where a middle child must undergo. Surely things will be processed as she grows. And we will never stop to show she is no different among her sisters in terms of our love, support, guidance and compassion.

But make no mistake, there are things she does best that are so distinct of and very particular about her. When down, she would exactly know how to cheer us up, and catch us before we even hit the ground. She is a very loving person. She is always around when love is quiet. How she cuddles me is just superb. How she holds her Mom speaks a lot. She would strategically exist at the midst of every silence. She would always fill the missing link.

And she is also full of surprises. She sends me e-mails about any good thing she is sure would paint a smile on my face. She is also a good artist that each time I go overseas, and as soon as I arrive elsewhere, and as I unpack my things, I would find her self-made cards. And yes, her messages are so simple yet so deep that you would not expect it came from the heart of a growing young lady. She chooses her words so profoundly. She is a very caring child.

To imagine her pretty face is always easy – as if her dimples and wide eyes are just affront smiling. God thanks heavens, I could never picture not having her as our child. Her dreams largely speak how much love is in her heart as it would always include her siblings and not just for her own self – it’s always “we”, too seldom for “I”.

Yohan my child, we may not swear too much promises to you. But you know within that you are much loved, equally same as your siblings. But it is your special day, and actually your last birthday before turning into another dazzling teenager. There’s just one thing I can assure you though. However things go, whatever happens in the future, always remember; me and you, and Mama too - we will always be a team. We will focus on track of your big dreams. And with your overwhelming insights, there is no way we shall ever go backwards. That will never be an option. Because life will be easy - as you will be there to carry our spirits up high.

Again… we love you, our dearest Yohan. I would never wish you to be good on anything – because I know you shall always strive to get better.

Happy 12th birthday, Yohan, and you are much loved..! God, I can’t wait to wrap my arms around your tiny frame now.