Saturday, August 23, 2003


Prepare yourself for a note from an absurdly proud father.

Yesterday, Sage to attend some other little kid's birthday party over at the playroom (a catered party, which bodes ill for me because of the "keeping-up-with-the-Joneses" syndrome which necessitates that when Sage turns two, we have to hold something similar and invite all these kids over).

One of the games they played, with a special prize at stake, was the Statue Dance - you know, music plays and kids dance; music stops and the kids freeze - anyone who moves while there is no music is eliminated. Well, Sage, with her Sex Bomb "ocho-ocho" moves and head-bobbing, outlasted all the other children and won her very first competition at the tender age of 18 months.

She came home with her special prize (a "construct-it" house that confounded her happy mother), with a huge smile (she had an armfull of other goodies too, but those were the result of her uber-zealous and very aggressive yaya, Diovine).

So there I was, inordinately proud of her success - which may be good or bad, but I don't care, all that matters is that she won and I'm delighted she did. So of course Nikki and I cooed and told her her how wonderful she was, and Sage took all of that with good grace.

When I was growing up (and, to be honest, up to now), I longed for a kind word, a pat on the back or hint of pride in the eyes of my mother and step-father whenever I did something special or achieved something out of the ordinary. I never really got it.

Bitter example#1: I win a Shakespeare competition at the Cultural Center of the Philippines and am awarded a trip abroad. Instead of celebrating with friends, I rush home to tell my mom.

Dean (happy): Mama! I won! I won the British Council thing!

Mama (raising an eyebrow): Dapat lang. (Of course you did).

Bitter example #2: I show my stepfather a telegram informing me that I won Palanca Awards #3 and #4.

Dean (handing step-father the telegram): Look at this!

Step-father (reads the telegram): You must be jaded by now.

And there's more. And yes, that is sadly one of things that motivates me up to now. A sublimated need to prove myself to my parents.

But my daughter will never get that crap from me. She doesn't have to win anything to be loved. But if she does achieve anything, big or small, she'll always hear a kind word from me - I will hold her and tell her how lucky I am to have such a wonderful child.

The best Alfar.


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