Monday, June 1, 2015

Letter to Kate

1 June 2015

My dearest Kate, 

Happy sixth month, darling!

We celebrated your half-a-year ten days ago. In the flurry of things, we were only able to take your sixth month photo the next day. 

I am writing to you because I want to start a tradition of putting in a journal my thoughts, my memories, my hopes and apprehensions concerning you. I would have opted to write in a paper journal but experience tells me that papers get lost, pages eaten by moths. And so I have decided to use this digital space as our memory keeper. 

When you're old enough to read, perhaps the Internet has evolved then. And the Internet of Things has taken on a more 'tangible' meaning to the everyday life. But as I'm writing this, we only have a vague sense of what it will become. One thing for sure though, we know that there is a permanency in the worldwide web. Even if this letter gets deleted, erased, corrupted or purged, somehow if you look hard enough, you will stumble upon it at some point. Before I digress further, am ruminating on your sixth months in this world. 

Exactly on your sixth month to the day, we parted for the first time. I was to attend a five day event for my work. I stayed in a hotel (Sofitel Philippine Plaza) in Manila, about 30 minutes away from our home then. It may seem not considerable but in our time the traffic was horrible and unpredictable, and the event-hours extend until late into the night. Hence, my decision to sleep away from you. 

You have to know that this was the very first time that you and I weren't sleeping in the same bed. Saying goodbye at the lobby of our condo was hard; it felt like my heart was being ripped away from me. And there you were too innocent to know that Mama is not coming home for the next five days. You were only too happy to be outside -- because it's what you love to do. Your idea of fun is being outside the house -- in the hallways, pool area, lobby, wherever there are people you can socialize with. 

At such a very young age, you like cheering up people especially the old ones. There is one grandpa who is smitten by you because you always light up whenever you see each other by the elevator area. 

You smile, coo and laugh at other babies and their nannies. In return, you are rewarded with morning greetings of Hello, Kate! everytime, all the time. Oftentimes, I overhear neighbors inquiring about you when you're not outside yet by seven o'clock in the morning. My heart swells knowing how blessed I am that in my imperfections and shortcomings, God has blessed me with a happy child. 

On the last day of my business conference, you fetched me with your dad and grandma. Your feet bounced and your widest grin greeted me. The first embrace we had squeezed my heart so hard I was afraid I would embarrass everyone by crying. I was too ecstatic, too overjoyed to see you, I almost forgot to kiss your dad in greeting. 

It was short-lived though. You cried your heart out when the novelty of being held by me wore off. You frantically searched the hotel room for your other mama. You cried buckets. And your tears were so huge I gave up comforting you and surrendered you to the other woman in your life. I would have been jealous by your fierce and young love to her, if she's not my mother. I have never been so grateful in my life until that moment -- other working mothers do not have the same luxury I enjoy -- the care and love of a grandma of her apo (grand daughter). 

It took a long while before you were comfortable again to be with me. We played around; gawked at the pretty surroundings, the enchanting Manila bay and the charm of the resort. 

When it was time to go home, I held you in my arms. The movement of the car lulled you to sleep while I try to imprint in my mind the tightness of your hug around my neck as you lay your face on my shoulder. I feel like I'm the luckiest mother in the world!

Do you know that you like to eat everything around you including my limbs? Yes, you nibble at your stroller, the railing of your crib, my fingers, your toes, my toes... even my face when you're "nanggigil". One would think that we starve you. But then when fed, you play with your feeding bottle. You toss it around, bite the nipple, toss the bottle one more time before you would drink a few drops. Yes, you were a very playful baby. 

We played to our heart's content at night. And even if my eyes were already drooping from sleepiness, a coo and a smile wake me up instantly. I realized that I will never be sleep deprived for long because you are growing too fast. 

One day, you were so bald with only a few wisps of hair on your head. I don't see you for a week, and am struck by your seemingly full head that has grown almost overnight. 

Your face looks different everyday. The tiny changes amaze me. I cannot trust my memory for in my mind you looked bigger, longer. Your dad must have snapped over a thousand photographs of you. One afternoon, I decided to walk down memory lane, and there you were so, so tiny. You looked so fragile. It made me wonder how was it possible no one managed to crush you. 

I love calling you, my little kate. Even if you are bigger than the neighbors' babies who are older than you. I love telling you stories. I love singing my made up song for you, all the time. 

I love waking up with you. You are the prettiest sight everyday. There are no Monday blues with you. 

When I am itching to travel, I turn to my books so I can hop around the world without leaving you. Yes, one day, we will go on a world adventure together. We will scale mountains and skyscrapers, we will dive in the history of the world, and we will lounge in the grand vistas of nature's beautiful landscapes. We will catch the dancing of the lights, of the aurora borealis of the northern skies in Europe, see the geysers and visit the fjords. Admire the works of the masters and commune with nature. 

For that I cannot wait for you to be a little bit grown up so that we can get started on a grand adventure. For now though, I will sleep and dream of beautiful places... wake up with this stunning view. This, I wouldn't trade for the world. No matter the itch if you're not in it. 

I love you, my little rascal.