FATHER, MOTHER & SON… for just seven days (1st of 7 parts)
Yes, an angel came from heaven, transmogrified himself into a baby boy and presented himself to someone I would just refer to as ate* (a–te) Baby.
That Tuesday morning, while I was preparing for work, ate Baby came. Even without me seeing the one calling out my name from outside of our house, I was pretty sure it was her. That bass booming voice was so familiar.
As I opened the front door leading to our terrace, what greeted me was like a scene from a movie – an old frowzy woman standing cleaving to a new-born infant slovenly swathed in an old blanket. She inquired if I still wanted to adopt a child and entreated me to get the baby she was clutching.
Of course, I and my wife wanted so badly to have a son or a daughter. We have yet to have one at that time. We wanted so badly to hear in that house the reverberating cries and the timorous laughter of an infant. But that notwithstanding, I just could not grab that lovely angel from the hands of ate Baby. I wanted to make sure that there was no monkey business involved. I needed to do some investigation. Besides, I wanted to discuss it seriously first with my wife.
I then told ate Baby that we will inform her that night about our decision regarding the infant.
My wife was still in bed, probably half asleep, when I re-entered our room. Before leaving, I informed her about the baby. I saw her eyes sparkled in excitement and told me that I should have awakened her when ate Baby came.
I told her not to make any decision without us talking about it. Besides, at that time, I was talking to another party regarding a 7-month old baby named Niña. Then I left hurriedly for I did not want to be late for my work.
But as I was having a meeting with my colleagues in the college where I was working, it was almost noontime then, I received a call from my wife. She told me that another party was interested in taking the baby, thus I have to make up my mind. I told her to give me until evening to decide. But she was adamant demanding that I had to decide already.
That’s her, what she wants, she should get immediately. It has always been like that. She told me a mouthful – about being indecisive and the likes.
I tried to figure out how to best navigate around her pressuring me. I called her back and said that I would leave the decision to her. But, I assured her of my support for whatever she wanted to do. I ended the call telling her that it was my turn to report in the meeting we were having. The truth is I was already done reporting. Had I not done that, she might have continued talking and we would be coming full circle.
As far as I could recall, she had never made a major decision. I doubted if she would do so that time.
After a couple of hours, I called my sister-in-law and asked what was my wife’s decision on the baby. To my surprise, she told me that my wife had already brought the baby home.
It was a mixture of emotion that I felt. WORRIED! She made a major decision without us seriously conferring with one another. EXCITED! I felt an inexplicable excitement. There was seemingly a magnet pulling me home. Indeed, it was different because in the past how I wished that I could just stay in the office and work a little longer. But that time, I know that there was an angel at home and I would like to be acquainted with him as soon as possible.
I have not clutched a baby I could call my own for a long time. The last time was when my first son was born – 21 years ago.
On my way home, I whispered a prayer that may He make me and my wife ready for whatever responsibilities and challenges we were about to face.
When I got home, the baby was sleeping under the staircase – in the daybed where I would be lazing off while watching TV in our living room. Seated beside him was my wife, all smiles and so enthusiastic essaying her newfound role as a mother.
I approached them, knelt and gazed at the baby. He had fair skin, softer than cotton. I kissed those rosy cheeks. He reacted and what a wonderful sight I beheld – his skin turned crimson and let out a short shriek as if feeling delighted by what I did.
I visited ate Baby in their house after dinner. It was an angel she brought to our doorsteps and words are not sufficient to express my gratitude for such. However, I had to tell her about my reservations. Firstly, I made it very clear that I don’t like that the parents of the baby live just nearby. It would make our situation, and most especially that of the baby, so complicated if the parents are just around. Lastly, I don’t like that anyone would take advantage of our situation – childless for a long time – and play with our emotions. As it is, the long wait for a child of our own is already emotionally distressing, and if the one given to us will be taken away for whatever reasons there may be, the pain will be much more.
I told her that I could rebound easily from emotional distress stressing that I am a tough hombre. But it may be different on the part of my wife.
For all those, ate Babe said the magic words – “Trust me.” Then she told me that I need to accompany her the following day to the midwife who attended to the mother of the baby. After that, I went home happily armed with an assurance of a person saying I should trust her.
Many “firsts” happened that evening. There were no disagreements that transpired between me and my wife. We ate happily together. We talked. We planned together. We woke up together to attend to whatever our baby needed. I would say it was a miracle – a miracle that happened because of the presence of an angel. And that was only the baby’s first night with us. We also had a lengthy discussion about how should we call him. We decided to name him MARC ANDREI and his nickname Santino.
I slept approximately a couple of hours only. I could have gone sleepless and I would not complain.
* Ate is a Filipino word which means older sister. The word is usually used by Filipinos to call women slightly older than they are.)