Friday, September 9, 2016

Dear Miguel (Imported Blog 1 ca. 2001)

Nobody told me that fatherhood will be such a thrill. As a single person, one rarely projects himself as a parent, so what a pleasant surprise fatherhood has been. And continues to be. I hope that I never outgrow this mindset. What follows is a letter addressed to my firstborn. This was written on his birthday scrapbook one night while waiting for a late visitor. The guest never did come, but the time spent musing on the first year of my son was worth it. My wife has been asking for a similar letter to my secondborn, and before I get accused of favoring one over the other, I should get around to doing it soon. He is two now, after all.

Dear Miguel,

When mommy and I were planning for your first birthday celebration, we said we will have just a small celebration; but we were so thankful for the blessing of your first year with us, mommy specially, that our plans grew and grew and your birthday in a way became “engrande”, but we wouldn’t trade it for anything less.

Mommy particularly wanted to start the celebration with thanksgiving mass and Fr. Cris (who officiated our wedding) remarked at the power of one child (you) who could gather all those present even though you were just a baby. Of course that could only be possible with our families and friends who support us and love you. All your aunts and uncles and cousins from Cavite were there except Auntie Caca who was in Bangkok, and Auntie Chuchi and Uncle Boy whose dad was sick in the hospital. On the Nacpil side, your ninong Ritche was absent because he was in the States, and Tito Doy and Tita Ann were in Hawaii. Your Ninong katukayo, Atty. Vasquez was on time. Your ninong Demo was also there with his whole family along with Lola Angus, and of course your special ninong Gani came.

"Among" said in his homily that it was unusual that a birthday party start with mass, and that sometimes we forget how lucky and blessed we are with the families that we have. Maybe he was saying how lucky you are to be born to your mom and dad, but really I believe it is the other way around. That it is us who have been blessed to have you as our son. Everyday I pray that I prove worthy for being chosen as your father and ask for the grace to bring you up as a true child of God. As a weeks-old newborn, do you know, you kept looking at the crucifix in mom’s bedroom and would smile and seem to be carrying a conversation with Jesus? The crucified Christ and later on, the Sacred Heart, were the first figures you recognized. We’d ask you “Where’s Jesus?” and you would always look in the right direction. You also had a habit of stretching your arms out wide while lying down; with your intent gaze and white baby clothes we were saying "magpapari ka yata" (at bagay). In mass, I had to take you out only twice during your first year, and we always brought you each weekend we went. You were such a friendly baby that we can always tell when those seated behind us at church were playing with you. After mass, the Riveras and your ninang Marian would always carry and pass you from one to another until it was time to go. Lagi tuloy tayong huling umuuwi. You are a real blessing not just to us your parents but to many people as well.

Your first year you were sick only twice (once sabay tayo, to the great worry of mom of course), you had diarrhea only once, indigestion once, gas/colic once, no real terrible colds, and you fell from the bed only once. See! Your only real problem was your allergy to milk but we finally caught that at three months, and your only all-night crying bout was at the hospital when your inexperienced mom and dad had you roomed-in Saturday night (you were born Friday morning and was given to us by that afternoon).

Talagang blessing ka sa amin anak. Your Tita Beng and Tito Ronald are specially fond of you, as is your Lola Ma who calls you "Casoy", short for CaviteƱong tisoy. Our visits to your lolo and lola at Cavite are always welcome occasions. Lolo calls you "Megi" and that has become a running joke specially with your Auntie Chuchi. Lolo Toto can always rock you to sleep with his very original lullaby and his special dance when carrying you. When in Cavite, your sleep patterns would always be changed because your cousins from Uncle Chito and Auntie Brenda would always stay with you in our room in Binakayan. Love na love ka rin ni Trisha who once asked her mommy to buy you a special toy that she herself picked para “give natin kay Miguel”.

From the day you were born, you have been a real blessing. Do you know that Lola Hope came all the way from Cavite to help mommy take care of you for the first few days? When we spent Christmas at Cavite, Lola Hope’s special role was to give you your bath as mommy recovered. How you loved your baths. This first birthday of yours, you had your first dip in a pool. Tito Jay held you; then later I did. How you cried when taken out of the water. Mommy said that later that night, you would move your hands as if splashing water, while you slept!

You are truly special Miguel, and I will always pray for your good health both in mind, body and in spirit. May God always be your guiding light and may you one day prove to be salt to the earth, light to the world. I love you. Mommy loves you. Jesus loves you.

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