You excitedly put on your parade uniform, turned to me, and said, “Dako ak drum.” (My drum is big.) I just smiled back at you. Secretly, I glanced at your drum. Yes, I think it is big for you. And it is a bit heavy for you. But I knew you could go on with the parade with it.
Look at you now, all grown up. Soon, you’ll be a man, a big man, like you’ve always wanted to become. When I think of you crawling in bed six or seven years ago, I wonder what happened to all the years in between. They just flew by like a blur. I think you suddenly grew up.
I picked up your shoes and cleaned them and you thanked me. I felt a tug in my heart. My heart was broken into very, very small pieces and it felt like the pieces were drained right out of me, like the dry sands that fell from the soles of your shoes.
I looked at you as your turned to walk away, I wondered how it would have made you feel if it was your mother who cleaned your shoes.
Sometimes, I wonder how you manage to go on experiencing life without a mother. Yes, I do love you. Lolo and Lola love you. Tita H, Tito T, Tito N, and Tatay A love you. But I wonder if our love is enough, if it’s ever enough to take the place of a mother’s love.
Sometimes, I wonder if beyond your smiles you keep a secret longing for a mother’s warm hug.
Sometimes, I wonder if your mother ever remembers you. I am hoping she does.
At the parade, you smiled at me while your little hands, covered in white gloves, repeatedly beat the drum with those blue sticks. I am happy to be part of moments like this—your little happy moments, your little proud moments. And I will be happy to be part of more moments like this in your life.
You might someday ask me why your mother have left you. To be honest, I don’t know what I will tell you when that day comes, because I do not know the answer. I would also like to ask her the same question. I myself have always believed na walang inang natitiis ang anak. But in your case, sometimes I doubt the truth of this.
I always hope and pray that you grow up to be a good man. In the meantime, I will try to protect your tender heart from all the harshness of the world until you become strong enough to fight life’s evils on your own.
Let’s sit a while in the park and imagine some things. Imagine seeing the trees dance to the breeze. Imagine seeing lots of birds on tree branches. Imagine seeing a dog barking at the birds up the tree.
Now, imagine that the world around you is mute—you’re seeing the trees dance but you can’t hear the sound of the breeze, you’re seeing lots of birds but you can’t hear them sing, you’re seeing a dog looking at the birds up the tree but you can’t actually hear it bark.
Such is the world of deaf or hard of hearing people. They do not hear anything or if they do, they only hear teeny-weenie fuzzy vibrations of sounds. One time, I just sat in a corner watching them, contemplating on how blessed they are in their silent world, for they can not hear the rattles of the earth nor the cries and the sighs of the hearing world.
But is their world really silent?
They may not hear with their ears but they do with their eyes. They can see colors, movements, and feelings. For almost every sound that they can not hear, they can see or feel something associated to the sound.
They may not speak with their lips but their facial expression and body language say as much as the human voice. And when they speak with their hands, they do it beautifully. Every time I see them sign, I see rhythm, I see patterns. I see fluid movements. I see beauty. I even see the elements of dance. Wait, did I just write ‘dance’? Oh yes, they do dance. They can dance! Even to the music that they can’t hear.
They may not hear with their ears but I’m sure they can clearly hear sounds with their heart —sounds that are even better than that of an orchestra. These are the sounds of friendship, love, and concern. These are the sounds of hearts beating for them—hearts of their family and friends, hearts of those who do not judge them, hearts of those who support their cause, and hearts of smiling strangers they meet as they journey in life every single day.
I hope we’ll all find in our hearts a sincere appreciation of our brothers and sisters who are hearing impaired.
(My gratitude to the Hands for Praise community for the experience. Congratulations on your 10th anniversary. Congratulations, too, to the graduates! Keep signing and keep serving. Keep supporting deaf awareness. For more pics, click here.)
there are days in life that we never forget. like the day i’ve met you. because it was one of those lovely days that i came face to face with friendship. fate is sometimes playful, or how else could we have met?
we are tired but happy feet roaming around.
we are clouds that float from east to west, north to south.
we are hikers.
we are walkers.
we are nature lovers.
we are lovers of hammocks. (oh, how our eyes would shine upon seeing one—especially if it’s hanging between trees.)
we are a pair of old slippers frolicking at the beach.
we are readers.
we are moviegoers.
we are reginians. (na-reveal tuloy ito dito hahaha).
we are stories intertwined.
we are laughters and smiles.
we are little kids inside.
yes, we are all these..and much, much more.
today, i celebrate with you and your family the passing of 365 days in your life. and i hope you’ll have as much peace, fun, and blessings in the next 365 days and beyond.
happy birthday, miss summitville. thank you for such a great friendship. if everyone else is blessed with a friend like you, the world is going to be lot more fun and a lot more crazier, too hehehe. thank you for seeing me the way you do. i am beginning to believe it 😀