On Hometowns

Dear Poj,

These are one of those days when I wish we could fast forward to your teenage years, me lecturing you to wake up early, you grunting in your sleep. Both of us could pretend we were bedbugs and just snuggle in bed the whole day and night long. But your biological clock is wacko (actually, it’s actually quite normal for babies but I like to exaggerate) because it seems ever since you were born, you made it your private commitment to wake up between 5:30 to 6:00 in the morning when I’ve just barely touched my head in the pillow.

Today was like that. I slept at 3AM because I had a deadline to catch and if there’s one thing Advertising has ingrained in me, it’s to be subconsciously a stickler for corporate deadlines. The rest of my life can be free range. The first thing you say to me is ‘Mom? Namnam?’ quite sweetly actually. And when that doesn’t work, you place my face between your hands and exclaim ‘MOOOMMMMM! NAAAMMMMNAMMMM!’ which is baby talk for ‘You’re my mother. It’s your duty to feed me. God and the government are watching.’

After which you proceed to roll yourself on top of me, treat me like a trampoline, bite my hand sometimes my toe, scratch my face and almost apologetically, put your forehead beside mine and then pull me to get up. When I’m fully awake which takes about an hour or so of your prodding, we go outside, turn the lights off, greet the ancestors from the picture wall and then go down for another sunny morning.

These days we’ve taken to going out to watch your goats being led into pasture. And most recently, we watch the migratory birds and mayas at play. Picture small albatrosses playing with brown mice in the air. That’s how it looks like.

It’s a beautiful place, this hometown. I’m glad I showed it to you. Somehow I find comfort in letting you stay in a place where our ancestors can keep watch, generations of people who’ve had a hand in making you who you are now. And most of all, it has enough room for your dramatics. Above all else, I think that’s what a child of your exuberance needs most: space to grow.

I’m going back to sleep. Wake up your grandmother.

With toothpicks on her eyelids,


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