Crazy Good Son in a visit to our home
[ NOte from NOel : Forgive our candidness, but we think our children are the only people on this earth who can make us laugh, cry, turn crimson with anger or misty-eyed with pride, growl with irritation or turn goose-pimply with unreserved happiness, in short make us zoom through the spectrum of emotions (and back) without which Life simply wouldn’t be Life… Among the immensely talented group of finalists on this year’s A.I., two hopefuls are both confident and crazy enough to try Queen and Nirvana songs (particularly unsafe for the time and talent invested), and a 90% falsetto and harmonica-dominated performances. So much that we’ve heard the judge/s call them “crazy good”, and given all our history, we think it’s a worthy modifier for Panganay, who from hereon we dare to call “Crazy Good Son.” Thanks in advance for reading ! ]
Dear Crazy Good Son :
an anything-goes, cross-country road trip to Auckland
via Lake Taupo
, I don’t think a birthday dinner of sinigang na hipon
and pork inihaw
(BBQed or steak-style, take your pick) would be fair competition, I wish you well instead and hope you enjoy the adventure of your life on the eve of your 23rd.
Arrayed with options galore, unattached, with no responsibilities and with your life barely begun, it is mostly an alien situation to me, and I can only begin to imagine the anticipation you have for the limitless expanse of life that awaits you.
That you begin a parallel quest to discover a second home in this beautiful country makes your story twice as interesting, as you negotiate the convoluted twists and turns, the unexpected developments, the lifelong friendships and of course, all the romantic encounters (if any) that will undoubtedly spice up the plot of your young life
I just hope you don’t forget, as I know you probably won’t, to thank all the people who have helped you reach this point in your life. It doesn’t matter if they are friends or relatives, allies or foes, buddy or co-backpacker, mentor or peer, in the boulevard of dreams. A simple personal, written or online acknowledgment would go a long way towards confirming what I already know : that you have made an auspicious first step towards maturity, and that you are a fine young man any parent would be proud of.
Just a few details I never passed on to you, realizing now that it would’ve been impossible for your mother to know them, that humid night of April, 23 years ago.
** ** ** **
You were almost born on the 25th, but a mildly difficult delivery (as most first deliveries are
) extended the delivery room ( DR ) time till around one in the morning the next day, in what was then still something of a community hospital but almost surely one of the overgrown, metropolitan hospitals
now. You were lucky enough to have a doctor for an uncle, and not only was he there at the DR to cheer your mother on, he was also there to warn me of the dangers of a wayward umbilical cord
complicating delivery, less than unlikely but still a possibility.
I even remember the hospital bill, which was dramatically reduced because not only did Tito Doc save up on IV fluids
, syringes and gauze bandages (still allowed then), he took care of the OB-GYN
‘s professional fee. Pared down to the room fee (the O.B. ward), the anesthesiologist and DR free, it was a quite reasonable P3,000 which today won’t even be enough for the meds needed for a normal childbirth.
Those days newborns were still kept away from the moms
till it was time to go home and so even for the healthy babies there was a nursery with the traditional viewing glass through which well-wishers could view you. But even before that, your first visitors just a few hours after you were born were Ninong
Dennis (Sy) and Ninong
Raymond (Ong), who kept tabs on you even before you left your mother’s womb. Your uncles and Lolo visited you later in the morning, and were thrilled to see only the 2nd member of the new generation. While all these transpired, I was only beginning to contemplate, while beholding your tightly bundled, serene presence, the overwhelming responsibilities that the next years of fatherhood would bring.
There are many more details, but that’s enough for now.
** ** ** **
I’ve probably said this one or two times during awkward reunions and the few times I was forthcoming enough to say so : More often than not, I’ve lashed out at you in anger rather than a fatherly instinct to discipline and admonish. Better than half the time, I’ve allowed laziness and lame excuses to intervene rather than take a genuine interest in your studies and interests. And too often, I’ve given you baon that barely provided for your transpo and merienda. Awful stats for any self-respecting father, and more justification than you would need for a dysfunctional adulthood.
But if you had anything going for you, it was your immense belief in yourself, a belief that no external source could crack. When no one believed in you, when I even sneered at what I thought was your misplaced confidence, when everyone except your Nana was a doubter, you had a self-confidence that could not be shaken. When I saw your graduation pictures
last year, I had to tell myself that I was wrong and you were right. You had what it took to lay the foundations of success, and my self-righteousness turned to shame, coupled with pride that I had a son like you. Then as now, you deserve every bit of congratulation anak, from a father that fully admits his error.
** ** ** **
Odds are, you’re probably snoozing right now at the backseat of your best mate’s Nissan
, on the Motorway somewhere between Auckland and Wellington, or squeezing every precious dollar out of your birthday money in a roadside McDo or Burger King
. You’ve filled your phone cam with the exhilarating sights, taken in the pure autumn breeze of Lake Taupo, or marveled at the geysers of Rotorua.
Besides the pair of friends with you, you are by your solitary self, with not a care in the world. You deserve the luxury and carefreeness that youth provides, especially on your birthday. Just don’t forget to thank God for creating you, your mother who helped bring you into this world, to think of your siblings back home, and when you have time, whisper a prayer for your dad who continues to love you and think of you every so often.
Happy birthday anak, I love and miss you always, kaawaan ka lagi ng Diyos.