The Internet is an amazing medium. Through it, I found Flips (the online community for Filipino Writers) and through Flips, I met Rebecca
. She wrote something about writers becoming moms and moms becoming writers and children teaching moms while moms teach their children which made me stop and think about all the wonderful things that I've shared with my son. I keep an intermittent journal and I have the tendency to skip days and weeks. When something memorable comes along, I'll keep that in a pocket of my brain and write it down because I want him to read about it later on and remember.
One of the things that I've noticed is transference of values by example. I suppose our children pick up things from us and we pick up things from them so that without our realizing it, our loves, our prejudices, the way we think, the way we live is mirrored upon each others lives ... we absorb and learn from them, just as they absorb and learn from us. It's something like learning by osmosis.
Just the other day, Joel surprised me when I asked him to practice his flute on his own. He went, "Hay naku talaga." And I had to laugh, because I do that too.
He has an exceptionally good vocabulary and understand English and Dutch and talking with him is so refreshing. He looks at life in a very straightforward way and that encourages me and has that wonderful curiousity, the desire to discover everything that's to be discovered. I find myself diving back and reaching inside to find the child in me, the one who wants to look beyond what seems to be to what really is.
These are the things that I want to share with him. I want to give him that vision of seeing beyond flesh and bone to what's beyond. To look beyond the structure of things towards the essence of what makes life what it is and what makes people tick.
I hope that someday, when he grows up, he'll find out that what really matters are those things that the eyes can't see and that money can't buy.
In my journal, I've written an account about a game that we play every now and then. It's called looking behind what's invisible. I wrote this in my journal as an exercise not only to capture the moment, but also to encourage myself to keep on writing, even when it seemed that all of my creativity was just going into bringing up my son.
Behind all things invisible….
rcloenen-ruiz for Joel Jan
“You have to look for it…” said the little boy with an expectant smile. “You have to look for it behind everything that is invisible.”
“Where?” Asks the little boy’s mother. She smiles at the little boy and her face is all tenderness.
“There.” Says the little boy. His eyes sparkle and the dimples in his cheeks deepen as he tries to submerge his laughter in mock seriousness.
“It is hidden there and everywhere, behind things that are invisible.” His voice rises and trills with laughter.
His mother laughs. They have played this game before. She raises her hands in the air, laying them with the palms flattened against an invisible wall or is it a series of invisible paintings hanging on an invisible wall? With a flip, she turns the invisible painting over and her face takes on a comic disappointment as she starts to flip one invisible painting after another, until her hands travel down the wall to the exact level where the little boy wants her hands to be, so that when she turns over the last invisible piece, she sees the train that he has hidden in plain view.
“There it is!” She claps her hands together.
The little boy's grandfather has stopped listening to the conversation in the living room. His eyes are on his grandson and he smiles as the little boy crows out in laughter and races to where the train lies under the table.
“Again.” The little boy commands. His cheeks glow like apples and his lips are red from excitement. He clutches the train in his hands that have grown sturdy and strong.
His happiness permeates the air like perfume, and all eyes turn to gaze at him.
The old man trembles in his chair with emotions that he cannot put into words and his wife’s lips take on an indulgent curve as she looks at the little boy.
“Come and sit down.” The old woman says. “Come, sit down and eat your cake.”
The little boy’s father looks at him with loving eyes and stretches out his arms.
“Come.” He says. “Come sit on my lap.”
The little boy’s gaze travels from one face to the other. He smiles and rocks on his heels. He sticks his finger to his forehead.
“Let me think…” says the little boy.
Then his laughter wins as his eyes meet his mother’s eyes.
“Close your eyes.” He says.
And they all laugh because they know that he will choose this game above cake and cookies.
“Give me a hug and a kiss.” Says his mother. “Give me a hug and a kiss, and I will close my eyes.”
Someday, I will grow truly old. This flesh will deteriorate and time will probably steal from me the freshness and the vibrancy of these moments. When that happens to me, when these words become nothing more than a jumble of letters whose meanings I can no longer analyze, I hope that these words will still remain as a written record for my son.