There was a time when you and Alex were in pre-school that you each had a notebook where were wrote and answered each other’s notes everyday. I think we stopped doing that when we moved to Lola’s house and I really missed answering your short notes. It was a good introduction to communication, wasn’t it? Perhaps, it was even partly instrumental in honing whatever writing skills you have today. Your teachers have been saying that your English essays are exceptionally good and your argumentation even more so.
I reread that first paragraph and it’s like capturing a lifetime in so few words. Fifteen years. I can almost still feel you in my arms, so tiny (okay, Alex was tinier — just so you don’t complain) and so dependent. You’re not so tiny nor dependent now. My, you’re taller than I am and, pretty soon, your boobs will be bigger than mine (don’t object!!!). hehehe
Honestly, I am just so amazed sometimes when I look at you. It seems unbelievable that you were that baby with a head full of hair, wrapped in a yellow blanket and sleeping peacefully in the hospital’s nursery. I cried when I first saw you, you know that? Not because I was sad — oh no! The feeling was just so overwhelming. I could see you, finally, after struggling to keep you alive and healthy in my womb for eight months. It was a mixture of relief and celebration. You were alive, you were whole and you were healthy. Considering how many times we almost lost you, that moment was nothing short of magical.
And when I first held you in my arms… well, I was so still. In fact, I felt that the world stood still for a few seconds in deference to that wondrous moment. As the years went by, there would more special times. But nothing — nothing — will ever compare with that moment when I first held you, and I pulled back the blankets to see you while you just laid there peacefully which I took to mean you were happy and content that I was your mommy.
But that wasn’t the first time I knew that I loved you. I loved you even before I saw you and held you — even before I knew what you looked like.
Gosh, how long ago that was… Time flew so fast I don’t know when I made the transition from being a “young mother” to being just a mother. I didn’t feel I was growing old because I was having too much fun raising you and Alex. Ahh… the memories of a very young Sam when she was told she was going to have a baby sister or brother.
Whenever you had gas pains and nothing seemed to work, I would kiss your tummy and you would stop fussing. When I was pregnant with Alex — you were a year old — and I was in pain because of hyperacidity, I remember that night you wouldn’t sleep. You sat next to me on the bed, in your pink and white sweater, and you were kissing my tummy. Was there more that a mother could ask from a one-year-old child? I knew, young as you were, that you would grow up sensitive to the feelings, to the pain and suffering, of those around you, that you would care and you would do what you could to ease the pain. And I loved you even more.
Yet, you often tried our patience too. You were always impossible at bedtime. Why you refused to sleep earlier than 1.00 a.m., I never understood. But you were never one to go with rules you did not agree with, were you? You did not even subscribe to adult logic, probably aware even then that adult logic was not always logical. That night when everyone was just so tired and you wouldn’t sleep and Daddy lost his temper and hit you with his slipper, remember that? You screamed at him and he told you to say sorry. And you told him, “Bakit ako magso-sorry, ikaw ang namalo, ang sakit-sakit, ikaw mag-sorry sa akin!” You were only three years old. And Daddy couldn’t stay angry with you after that.
Neither were you the kind of child to allow your creativity to be limited by the toys you had. When you wanted to play, everything was useful, even my brother, your Ninong. Remember that afternoon when I was cooking dinner and I left you and Alex watching cartoons with Ninong and he fell asleep on the mattress on the floor? I would never have known you had stopped watching TV had he not woken up, calling out to me for help because you had poured oil over him and Alex was pricking him with a plastic fork with one hand, and “cutting” with a plastic knife on the other. It seemed that you decided that you and your sister would cook dinner too and Ninong was going to be it.
What about that time when I was in the kitchen and I got all flustered because Alex was wailing while you and she were both running around in circles all over the living room? You were holding a piece of Scotch tape and a tip of Bensia pencil and telling her to hold still because it was time for her dextrose. It took a long time to calm her down.
Gosh, baby, I can tell a thousand stories about you and not get bored. I can talk about you for hours and not feel tired. You have always been a source of pride and mystery to me and I know that you are unraveling still. In two days, you will be 15. Not exactly the easiest stage in life — no longer a child but not yet a woman. In so many ways, you’re still very much a child. But in so many ways too, you show maturity beyond your years. Make the transition when you’re ready and when it feels right. We won’t hurry you up. Live your adventures. Enjoy life. Be happy.
P.S. Two photos were removed upon complaint of Birthday Girl. Kainis.