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.