Monthly Archives: March 2013
5th Day (Saturday)
I was up in the switchback and I know that soon, after a twist, or a bend, or spin then down again I will 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 Sister Babe we decided to buy a better infant formula – SIMILAC – that was prescribed by the Pediatrician who conducted the routine check-up on Marc Andrei that day); I prepared milk for Marc Andrei whenever he craved for it; 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 awaken 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 next time.
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 and secured.
I had not 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 divan, I and my wife had dinner. She was obviously perturbed, she was seemingly not minding the developments 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 may throw me off the rollercoaster.
After dinner, we sat separately at both ends of the divan, March Andrei was between us. Then I asked my wife to drop whatever bomb she wished to explode in my face.
What she told me left me DUMBFOUNDED. The mother of Marc Andrei is not a 19-year old student from Manila but rather a woman from Bulacan… and of all places from our own community, right in the subdivision where we are residing, and living with her mother just two houses away from us.
Down went 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 Sister Babe is a woman not capable of DECEPTION. I know I could TRUST her. Like my mom who is a DUPAYA from Lal-lo, Cagayan, Sister Babe is an Ilocana. We would normally speak in Ilocano when there were no other people with us who could not understand the vernacular. We are both officers of our homeowners association, I am the President and she is the Vice-President. I had to give her the benefit of the doubt. 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 Sister Susie, my confidante in our subdivision, who like me can speak both Ilocano and Ibanag.
Sister Susie could not believe what she heard. She doubted that Sister Babe would deceive me and my wife in that manner. I asked her and she agreed to drop by Sister Babe’s house and see how the latter would react if she would tell her that we are again having second thoughts about taking 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 Sister Susie saying that Sister Babe denied knowing who the mother of Marc Andrei is.
(to be continued…)
3rd Day (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 jostled 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. Pitifully taken by the lady of my house (I was not sure of her reasons… she craved so much to be a mother or she was 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 Batangas… but it was not as simple as I initially thought it would be.
Then I thought of hiring a nanny…
But I don’t have the extra money…
Besides needed is a house though not cushy …
for the nanny, Marc Andrei and me.
And so… my emotional rollercoaster plummeted so fast in the switchback. On its way down it wriggled through treacherous dips and spins. From the ocean of tremendous joy, I was submerged again in the quicksand of sadness and despair.
With a heavy heart, I dialed the number of Sister Babe that Thursday and told her about the bad news. Still, I would like to shield my 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 I who decided to return to her Marc Andrei.
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 Sister Babe be coming to get Marc Andrei. I told her Sister Babe may come on or before noontime.
If in the previous day I was ecstatic telling everyone in the workplace that I have a new son, 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 beholding it was a mistake for it all the more thrust me deeper in sadness.
Several text messages were sent to me by my wife that day, trying so hard to explain her side. I decided to respond just once telling her that if indeed she was hellbent 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 off my phones
It was at that time that I needed to talk to that young lady at the other end of my other experience. It was always to her that I ran to whenever I need someone to talk to. But I did not like to bother her anymore about my personal problems, and I was not sure if she was still willing to listen to me. I turned to another friend and told her about my dilemma, my emotional roller coaster the past days, I really didn’t like to do that for it was like painting a bad image of my wife to them.
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 PM, 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 listened to my plight. They heeded my supplication.
They said it was time to drink… so I ordered drinks and PULUTAN… drinks – SALABAT… and pulutan – BIBINGKA.
They did nothing but listen. Admittedly, I am a melodramatic person. Dramatic scenes on boobtube and the silverscreen could easily make me teary eyed. I recounted to them the events in my life the past days, as tears were streamrolling my cheeks. Good, it was dark in the place where we were, they may have not noticed that. 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 for problematic people – “We’ll pray for you!” – we parted ways.
I was home before 8:00 PM anticipating the worst that night.
Marc Andrei was still there, sleeping soundly in the divan, the same place where I saw him first when I arrived home Tuesday afternoon. My wife explained that Sister Babe 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 do upon arrival from work.
I gave Sister Babe a call and she arrived 10 minutes thereafter. We had a brief chat. I set the “damage control scheme.” I told her to say whenever asked that we needed to let go of 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 was crying profusely when Sister Babe carried Marc Andrei out of our house… was it love… was it guilt… I was not sure. I accompanied Sister Babe back to their house. I stayed there for one hour. I told her that it was the most painful thing that my wife did to me, it was simply unforgivable. Sister Babe told me to understand my wife but I said I have forgiven her a thousand 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… 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… there I saw guilt written all over her face… I just nodded and told her that from that night on, a lot of things will be changing.
I went to our bedroom and contemplated about the things that I needed to do. The worst plan I cooked up in my confused mind is to leave the house the following day.
She followed and to my surprise and amazement she asked me to go back to Sister Babe and get Marc Andrei back. What I heard did not make me happy but rather annoyed. Angrily that I retorted that Marc Andrei is not a toy that you dump then pick him up when you realize 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.