Monthly Archives: March 2013
DAY 5 (SATURDAY)
My car was right on top rollercoaster track and I know that soon, after a twist, or a bend, or a spin then down again I’ll go. But while my emotional rollercoaster was traversing a plane at the pinnacle I tried to enjoy the ride.
In the wee hours of Saturday morning, I took care of Marc Andrei, I allowed my wife to have a well-deserved sleep. It was a crash course I took up that time – Babysitting 101. I put milk on a dispenser reading carefully the instructions in the can (from the original milk given by ate Baby we decided to buy a better infant formula – SIMILAC – that was prescribed by the Pediatrician who checked Marc Andrei that day). I happily attended to Mark Andrei’s need that night. I hummed softly to his ears songs to put him to sleep (I think he liked best the “hummed” version of “NOBODY”). I clutched him gently in my arms whenever he would not stop crying. But when I felt that Marc Andrei’s back was wet, I was forced to wake my wife to change our son’s diaper. Well, I have not tried changing Marc Andrei’s diaper yet, so I paid attention to what my wife was doing at that time because I wanted to do the honor of changing Marc Andrei’s diaper the next time around.
My wife went back to sleep, she had not had a good one in the past days, I followed shortly thereafter when I was sure that Marc Andrei was safe, secured, and comfortable.
I didn’t get much sleep that day but I worked all day inspired. There were no classes but I went to school to finish paperwork that piled up in the past three days. With so much enthusiasm, I recounted to some colleagues our experiences the past days.
Then night came. While Marc Andrei was deep in slumber in the daybed, I and my wife had dinner. She was obviously perturbed, she was seemingly not minding what I was telling her about my plans regarding Marc Andrei’s papers. I sensed trouble. I was afraid my rollercoaster would soon hit another spin, another twist, another treacherous dive. I just hoped that it would not be so trenchant a fall that could throw me off my car in the rollercoaster.
After dinner, we sat separately at both ends of the daybed, March Andrei was between us. Then I asked my wife to drop whatever bomb she wished to explode.
What she told me left me dumbfounded.
My wife told me that the mother of Marc Andrei is not a 19-year old student from Manila but rather a woman from Bulacan. And of all places, the mother is from our own community, right in the neighborhood where we are residing, and living just two houses away from us.
Down went my car in my emotional rollercoaster. How I had wished I was just dreaming at that point.
My wife told me that it was whispered to her by very reliable sources – by well-meaning people who thought we deserve to know the truth. But ate Baby is a woman not capable of DECEPTION. I know I could TRUST her. Like my mom, who was born in Lal-lo, Cagayan, ate Baby is an Ilocana. We would normally speak in Ilocano when there were no other people with us who could not understand the said dialect. We are both officers of our homeowners’ association, I was the President and she was the Vice-President. I had to give her the benefit of the doubt. I believe that she perfectly understood what I told her that Tuesday night when we had a serious talk about Marc Andrei.
But just the same, I have to act on the matter divulged by my wife. After dinner, I started piecing together things said by my wife and the information I gathered clandestinely from our neighbors, especially those who were residing nearest to the reported real mother of Marc Andrei. Then I talked to ate Susie, my confidante in our neighborhood, who, like me, can speak both Ilocano and Ibanag.
Ate Susie could not believe what she heard. She doubted that ate Babe would deceive me and my wife in that manner. I asked ate Susie (and she agreed) to drop by ate Baby’s house and see how the latter would react if she would tell her that we are again thinking of returning to her Marc Andrei because we already know who the real mother is.
Notwithstanding the situation that emerged, our love for Marc Andrei remained. My wife and I talked about all possible eventualities. She made it so clear to me that even if the real mother lives just nearby, she wouldn’t mine. Marc Andrei is hers and nobody could take him away from her.
Then at almost midnight, I received a text message from ate Susie saying that ate Baby denied knowing who the mother of Marc Andrei is.
From the last hour of the previous day up to the first minutes of the following, my wife constantly bugged me about getting Marc Andrei back. She pleaded repeatedly but I did not budge. Then my roller coaster hit another spin, the fickle-minded lady of my house asked me to accompany her to get Marc Andrei back from ate Baby. Then I looked at her and saw the sincerity of her intentions. I got excited at the prospect of getting my son back, I felt my emotional roller coaster slowly climbing up. But again the tracks upon which my roller coaster ran is so unpredictable, I may just pass through another twist then suddenly from up, I will again be brought down.
I wanted to make sure of how my wife was really feeling at that time. She probably was just conscience-stricken. She probably was thinking about what I said that things will never be the same between us after what happened. Or it could be a combination of both. Whatever were her reasons, I didn’t really care. What’s important for me was the prospect of Marc Andrei returning to us.
My few minutes of contemplation resulted to a plan. I thought of testing the resolve of my wife in getting our son back. Then I told her that if she really wanted to be a mother to Marc Andrei once again, she should go by herself to ate Baby and convince her to give the baby back to us.
It was actually a tall order for her to do that. I know my lady so well, she has a lot of good qualities but she would never swallow her pride. She would never undo things she has done.
Then I tricked her when I said that before I left ate Baby’s residence, there was a couple who came to take a look at Marc Andrei. It was a lie that I had to say to put pressure on my wife in case she was really intending to get Marc Andrei back.
She went out of our bedroom, I was not sure where she was going. I did not bother to check. I just heard the creaking sound of our front door downstairs. I presumed that she either went out, cast her pride aside and proceeded to ate Baby’s house and get Marc Andrei back. Or she’s just seated in our terrace getting a whiff of fresh air.
I don’t know how long she was out, but I felt it was an eternity. But as always, I believe that people get rewarded for their patience. I didn’t mind waiting for long. I didn’t mind if it was a jiffy or an eon that passed by. What’s important was the next scene that I saw in the silver screen of my life was a MOTHER tenderly caressing a BABY.
After a few more minutes, my wife, her eyes like a well of tears, entered our bedroom, lovingly clutching Marc Andrei. She sat by my side, still embracing my baby, and sobbed unabashedly and repeatedly asked our baby for forgiveness.
Another spin, another twist, my car in the roller coaster then climbed up again reaching perhaps the top of the tracks again. Never have I felt so ecstatic. But I did not let her notice it, I pretended to be indifferent. I really had my reservations, I know I have married and loved one fickle-minded soul. What I could be witnessing was just a flash in the pan. But it was not.
MOTHERHOOD became my wife in the first hours of that Friday. Marc Andrei kept crying that time, not unlike during his first night with us when he would only be waking us up when hungry. My wife didn’t put down Mark Andrei on the bed, she just let him stay in her loving lap from the wee hours of that Friday morning up to time that light slowly took over from the darkness of the previous night.
My wife didn’t know that each time Marc Andrei would cry I would be jolted from sleep but pretended to be asleep, I intentionally let her do everything for Marc Andrei that night, I made her feel how difficult it is to become a MOTHER and see if the following day she would give up our baby for good – keeping of course my fingers crossed that she would not.
Each time I would wake up during those wee hours of that Friday morning, what a sight I would behold – a mother lovingly caressing her baby. My wife didn’t know that I heard her talk to Marc Andrei saying how sorry she was for her briefly giving him up. My wife also mentioned that she knew that the reason Marc Andrei was crying was because he felt unloved. She asked our baby for forgiveness and for a chance to prove that she could be a good MOTHER to him.
Then again at work, that day, I resumed on bragging that I have a son. Some were scratching their heads saying, “How is that? One day you have a son, the following day you lost him, then the day after you have him again.” One of them even naughtily quipped, “What about tomorrow?” That made me pause for a while and contemplate. What if tomorrow I lose my baby again.
When I went home that Friday night, there again was Marc Andrei, soundly asleep in the daybed. My wife, smiling, was seated nearby. It was a scene I thought I would no longer see again. I knelt and reached for Marc Andrei’s cheek and there planted a kiss. Lo and behold, his skin turned crimson again, he opened his eyes and let out a brief shriek as if acknowledging my presence..
My emotional roller coaster stayed at the topmost portion of the track and brought me to the depths of ecstasy again. It was a wonderful night, I and my wife avoided talking about events of the previous day, we just laid out plans for Marc Andrei. Our son had a peaceful sleep waking us up only once for a milk.
At one point when I prepared his milk, I looked at him and whispered to myself, “Will my son be mine for good?”
Day 3 (THURSDAY)
The joyful ride from Tuesday to most part of Wednesday abruptly ended when the lady of my house was ready to give up her one-day old motherhood. My heart bled for Marc Andrei.
He was born into this world that fateful Monday night (11:04 PM), but abandoned by the mother. Presented to me at around 8:00 AM that Tuesday, but initially rejected for I needed time to decide. Deprived of privacy and much-needed rest necessary for a newly-born infant when made like the object of a carnival-like spectacle. Scrutinized by the entire neighborhood whose desire for something to gossip about is unbelievably insatiable. Taken by the lady of my house. (I was not sure of her reason – she craved so much to be a mother or she was just afraid someone else would take away Marc Andrei). Briefly found a home and the warmth of loving parents but not yet totally shielded from the prying eyes of the people in the neighborhood. And when he was starting to settle down in an abode where he felt he was welcome, suddenly, one fickle-minded spirit would again thrust him back to the limbo of uncertainty.
Marc Andrei! What a beautiful and wonderful being. Truly an angel, but unwanted. Marc Andrei did nothing wrong to deserve the kind of treatment he was getting. But what can I do, I can’t be the mother and the father at the same time. I need to work, I can only take care of him at night. I thought of bringing him to my father’s hometown but it was not as simple as I initially thought it would be. I even thought of hiring a nanny and get for her and Mark Andrei a place to live.
And so, my emotional roller coaster plummeted so fast in the tracks. On its way down it wriggled through treacherous dips and spins. From the lake of tremendous joy, I was submerged again in the quicksand of sadness and despair.
With a heavy heart, I dialed the number of ate Baby that Thursday and told her about the bad news. Still, I would like to shield the lady of my house from the harsh criticism she may be receiving should people know about her decision. Thus, I told sister Babe that just in case people in our neighborhood would ask, let it be known that it was me who made the decision.
As always, I prayed that may the best thing happen to Marc Andrei that day.
My wife called up when I was in my workplace and asked what time would ate Baby be coming to get Marc Andrei. I told her around noontime.
If in the previous day I was ecstatic telling everyone in the workplace that I have a new son, that time I just stayed glued in my seat in the office and contemplated. Then I got my phone and uploaded the pictures of Marc Andrei to my desktop computer. I had his first picture as my screen saver. It was a sight to behold but looking at it was a bad idea for it made me feel sadder.
I received several text messages from my wife that day. She tried so hard to explain her side. I decided to respond just once telling her that if indeed she was hell-bent on surrendering our parenthood of Marc Andrei, then she must make sure that I would no longer see him when I arrive home. Then I turned my phone off after saying that.
I talked to a couple of trusted friends and told them about the situation. I really didn’t like to do that for it was like making my wife look bad. But I had no choice.
I was supposed to be home by 5:00 PM. But how would I feel in a “Marc Andrei-less home” and seeing there the fickle-minded spirit that caused his disappearance. At around 6:30 that afternoon, I walked towards the center of the town. Luckily, I chanced upon old friends in a food stall. I begged that they accompany me at least for an hour and listen to what I had to say. They acceded.
They said it was time to drink. So, I ordered, not wine, but soft drinks and some finger foods.
They did nothing but listen. I recounted to them the events in my life the past days, as silent tears were rolling down my cheeks. Good, it was dark in the place where we were so they may have not noticed it. But my cracking voice could not hide my sadness and disappointment.
I thanked them for bearing with me. They wished me the best and after they delivered that oft-repeated phrase said too people burdened with problems – “We’ll pray for you!” – we parted ways.
I was home before 8:00 P.M. anticipating the worst that may come that night.
Marc Andrei was still there, sleeping soundly in the daybed, the same place where I saw him first when I arrived home Tuesday afternoon. My wife explained that ate Baby came that morning but she was out of the house and has not returned since then. Thus, our baby was still there. I did not say a word to her, I did not even kiss her as I usually would do upon arrival from work.
I gave ate Baby a call and she arrived 10 minutes later. We had a brief chat. I set the “damage control scheme.” I told her to say whenever asked that we needed to return Marc Andrei because we have an obligation to take another baby who we were really eyeing for adoption, that it was I who decided to let go of Marc Andrei, not the lady of my house. Like a knight, I must protect my fickle-minded damsel in distress.
My wife cried profusely when ate Baby carried Marc Andrei out of our house. Was it love or guilt? I was not sure. I accompanied ate Baby back to their house. I stayed there for an hour. I told her that it was the most painful thing that my wife did to me, it was simply unforgivable. Ate Baby told me to understand my wife but I said I have forgiven her many times for the pains she caused me (the way she forgave me also in the past for all my wrongdoings) but this one is different, this one is hard to forget and that I may not be able to forgive her for it.
When I got back home, my wife was crying. She asked for forgiveness and understanding. I saw guilt written all over her face. I just nodded and told her that from that night onwards, a lot of changes might happen.
I went to our bedroom and contemplated about the things that I needed to do. The worst plan I cooked up was to leave the house the following day.
When she entered our bedroom, to my surprise and amazement she asked me to go back to ate Baby and get Marc Andrei back. What I heard did not make me happy but rather annoyed. Angrily that I told her that Marc Andrei is not a toy that you throw away then pick him back up when you realized you still want to use him.
Not five, not ten, but more than twenty times that she pleaded that we take Marc Andrei back. I did not say a word anymore, I just responded by shaking my head.