My son, all of eleven years is now a tween going pubescent. When I look at him, I hardly see any trace of the once chubby baby who was addicted to Tomica cars of all shapes and colors that he was able to fill a three-foot display cabinet with his collection. Thank goodness he is past through the stage where he tries everything he sees on TV – from putting on a pair of handmade wings (which cost us five hundred bucks in 2004) so he could be like Aguiluz (Richard Guttierez’ winged character in Mulawin) to collecting Bey Blades, marbles and Tom’s World game tickets. Gone were the days of imitating Mom—trying on my undies sandwiched with napkin (which he rummaged from our plastic cabinet while I was at the office) and trying to pee while sitting or squatting.
With a tint of sentimentality, I miss the days when he was just starting to write and he would send me notes with scribbles of a five-year old, expressing with all candor his dream of building me a hotel when I grow old with servants at my beck and call. I miss the days when Rovik, at just two years old, would rattle off the whole chapter of Psalms 23, Trees by Joyce Kilmer and Dr. Rizal’s “The Monkey and the Turtle” (which I turned into a monologue piece) in just one sitting. As a tender shoot, my son was a sponge, absorbing an avalanche of linguistic pouring borne out of my outrageous desire to raise smart, intellectually superior tots. (Thank heavens I’m past the stage too of setting high expectations and being too hard on myself and others for failing to meet those exacting limits)
I remember the first time he went to school, Rovik was as excited as a wriggly in an ice-cold dip. It was a major event, as we (Dad, Mom, Auntie and the maid) all woke up in the wee hours of the morning to prepare for his big day. School stuff was neatly packed inside a crisp, blue snoopy backpack that reeked of SM. His baon—a cup of steaming hot rice and smoked bacon—was inside his kiddie tupper lunchbox, ready for the taking. When the school service (which we loaned from the bank especially for him) arrived to pick him up—the kid dressed to the nines (the uniform was not yet available), kissed us, letting out a part command “Mom, I’ll go now. You wait for me when I come home, ha?” to which I replied, “ Of course, I’ll be here when you come son. Don’t worry. By the time you arrive before lunch, I will have been back from the office.” As he boarded the service to join the other kids, Mom and Dad waved goodbye, inwardly praying all would be well in his brave new world.
The twist came when after about four hours, he was back from school expecting the same people to be on the same spot where they waved their goodbyes earlier. Of course, no one was around as we went about our own agenda for the day as well. Dad was in Makati. I was still at the office and the maid was busy with house chores. Me, oh, my, when the school boy learned that I was not around yet to welcome him from school, he threw an unexpected tantrum—throwing his school bag and spilling its contents on the floor.
When I arrived home minutes later, our pillows littered on our vynil-tiled floor along with Rovik’s day clothes. I could hear sobbing and some ramblings from inside our bedroom. When I called his name, the door flung open and with hands on hips, my son, in between sobs and with accusing tone, shot back, “ Bakit wala ka Mommy? Di ba sabi ko you wait for me? Why did you go to work? Kaya nga ako pumasok sa school para hindi ka na mag work!!” I was so amused with his logic in going to school that I forgot he made a jungle out of our tiny room. He thought what he was doing was the solution to make Mom stop from working, as if he would earn dollars and contribute to the household expenses once he went to school. He, he. How I wished he were right. Oh, to be in the world of kids – why didn’t I have this reasoning when I was a kid myself?
Flash forward to 2011, six years after pointing an accusing finger at me, being a Kuya (elder brother) and leaving behind the kiddie stuff he was once crazy about, what has become now of this kid? The list gets longer by the day. I guess it deserves a new post.