Father, Mother & Son…for just seven days (4th of 7 parts)
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 rollercoaster 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 rollercoaster slowly climbing up. But again the tracks upon which my rollercoaster runs 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 immediately after hearing that. 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 our son, and sobbed unabashedly and repeatedly asked him for forgiveness.
Another spin, another twist, my car in the rollercoaster then climbed up again reaching perhaps the top of the tracks. 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 taking care of 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 rollercoaster 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?”
Father, Mother & Son… for just seven days (3rd of 7 parts)
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 I initially rejected him 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 rollercoaster 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 giving up on Marc Andrei, then she must make sure that I would no longer see our son 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 did so.
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 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.
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?