Father, Mother & Son… for just seven days (2nd of 7 parts)
DAY 2 (Wednesday)
My emotional rollercoaster was still at the highest point in the tracks. Life taught me though that it will not remain up there. I wanted to cheat. I wanted to put a stopper. I wanted my rollercoaster to end its journey right there. I didn’t like my ecstasy to end. The ecstasy that having Marc Andrei brought. If ever I’ll be drowned I’d like it to happen in the lake of overwhelming joy, not in the quicksand of despair.
As I head out of the neighborhood, I passed by both well-wishers and hecklers. The well-wishers expressed their happiness that we finally have a baby at home. I didn’t mind the gibes and taunts of the hecklers. They were unsuccessful in demolishing my resolve of embracing Marc Andrei as my own. They did not even succeed in uprooting the joy that the baby planted in my heart.
The hecklers don’t understand the simple truth that to be a parent, your son or daughter need not be biological. That’s probably the simplest way to explain it.
The whole day of Wednesday that my emotional rollercoaster traveled in a plane of happiness on top of the tracks. There were no bumps. It was a joyful ride, indeed, making me forget momentarily to anticipate that anytime there may be an unexpected twist or bend or I may reach the end of the plane and then plummet down.
I thought of a lot of things for Marc Andrei. He instantly became an additional source of inspiration. Like an excited first-time father, I informed my colleagues and friends at work about my baby, my son, our son.
Some of them warned me to proceed cautiously in handling matters related to Marc Andrei.
In the evening, accompanied by ate Baby and ate Claire (a first-degree cousin of my wife), I went to the lying-in clinic where Marc Andrei was said to be born. It was something that I wanted to do the other day before deciding whether or not we will take Marc Andrei. But my wife hastily made a decision which at the end, as a husband, I respected and supported. Actually, I admired what she did.
I listened intently to the midwife. From her accounts I learned that the mother of Marc Andrei is a 19-year old student from Manila whose pregnancy was kept from her parents. She did not intend to keep the baby for it would complicate matters for her and her family. She wanted badly to finish her studies and having a baby will be a hindrance. Thus, she wanted the baby to be given to a childless couple for adoption.
I thought I was listening to a synopsis of a story. It was too familiar. I read a story (or is two?) that is similar. I teach literature and how many have I told my students that “Literature is a reproduction of life.”
But I have no choice but to believe the story.
I believed the midwife (or shall I say I didn’t care whether it was the truth or a lie she recanted for I was so blinded by my yearning for a baby). Besides, the midwife is a distant relative of my wife and a close friend of ate Claire who happens to be a midwife also.
When I asked that a document be prepared and signed by the mother, a document expressing her willingness to give the child to whoever, the midwife said it was unnecessary telling us that we can rest assured that there will be no legal impediments that we would be facing much as the mother was not keen on keeping her son. I felt uncomfortable when I heard that but what choice do I have.
The midwife also added that I need to pay P6,500 for her services and requested that an amount be given to the mother. She did not specify how much and pointed out that the mother just needed a little financial assistance having spent so much in her effort to hide her pregnancy.
I promised to pay the midwife and give the biological mother of Mark Andrei a certain amount as soon as possible.
I was exhausted upon reaching home that evening but seeing Mark Andrei gave me a different kind of high. I planted a kiss on his cheeks and my exhaustion was gone. I was still in cloud nine.
Then I thought of the financial obligations that parenting would require. I just closed my eyes at that instance and murmured, “God will provide!”
A couple of hours before midnight, I prepared everything needed by Marc Andrei – the bottles, the milk, the diapers, and the cotton. That was something new in my routine and I think I did it so well.
On the bed, I sat beside my wife, and recounted what transpired in the lying-in clinic. She just listened. I noticed that the enthusiasm she had the previous night was gone. Probably, it was due to exhaustion and lack of sleep.
Then she said something that almost made my world cave in. She wanted us to return Marc Andrei to ate Baby. She realized taking care of a baby was difficult. Then suddenly my emotional roller coaster hit a twirl and a bend then started to plummet down.
I rarely blow my top but when I get angry things could go ugly. I bombarded my wife with harsh words. I have never spoken to her that way since we got married. I told her to imagine how shameful it would be if we would turn our backs on Marc Andrei. That was exactly the reason why I was telling her that we needed to be careful in making the decision, but she did not listen. And when she experienced how difficult it was to take care of a newly-born infant, she wanted to give up so easily.
I asked her many times if she would not reconsider her decision. She responded negatively.
I felt a mixture of emotions.
I was so sad. I was facing the specter of losing my son. I wanted to think that my wife was just kidding. I was already so emotionally attached to Marc Andrei at that point.
I was also infuriated. The fickle-mindedness of the lady of my house is unbelievable. Marc Andrei is not a toy that could be dumped just that. If she actually gave birth to our son I would think that it postpartum depression. But it wasn’t. I wanted to think that she probably got overwhelmed doing things she wasn’t accustomed to.
It was hard to imagine the heckling we will receive from the people in the neighborhood. Should that happen, I was sure we would be the topic of gossips for months to come.
How would Marc Andrei feel if in the future he’ll get to know about this unfortunate event in his life? What will a grown-up Marc Andrei and the well-meaning people around us think about my wife… about me?