TO ALL MY CHILDREN,
I am blest to have all of you. It is not true that I lost count of your number. I know you personally by heart. I am always there at the time of your birth. As a matter of fact, I know all of you individually from head to toe. I know every detail of your persona although at times I would forget your birthdates. I am never particular with dates to be frank about it. I would also forget mine several times also. Of all numbers, dates for me are trivial.
But be that as it may, I was there enjoying fatherhood with your arrival. I could not find the exact emotion, the genuine love I have for your mother for conceiving and giving birth to you. Your presence in this world made me whole. You gave me a full meaning of what life is all about. You have defined my being. Although you probably lost track of any caring recollection of me, somewhere at the time of birth up until you were able to appreciate your situation, I was there for you all along. Those were times when your memory has not matured yet. When you were so young, toddling and vulnerable. When you see the world only through my eyes, navigate your surroundings through my agile feet; challenge the threats of environment through the strength of my health. You were a part of me. A spike in your temperature could send me scampering for emergency already. Your cough alone could compel me to renew my faith despite having lost it during my carefree youth.
I was your playmate, your toy, your puppet, your doll, and your favorite punching bag. Sports, violent work, martial arts never had a dint on my body but you know what? I lost all my front teeth as a consequence of your baby kicks! And every time I would have my dental look fixed by a set of orthodontists, my implants would be a wreck after another round of our rough plays. My frontal bone near my nose would be deformed, in my estimation, as a result of dental implants! But that’s par for the course as they say. It’s part of the territory. For every broken tooth, a fairly happy baby I have made. And it was already like reaching paradise for a parent.
Actually, I was lucky, had your mother been the one to kick me, my face would have been more deformed for life! That is a joke, of course. Your mother loved me more than any other in this world until the library and arts claimed my consciousness.
I still could vividly recall how I gallantly would go to the front line of succor whenever you have colds and you would experience difficulty in breathing. I would instantly suck your nose with my mouth, slurping away slimy substances that impede your nasal cavity. And I would gently repeat the procedure until such time that your breathing would resume to normalcy. I know it was effective since after a few mouthful attempts, I could hear your small voice muttering stability in deep slumber.
I have never waned nor diminished my strength whenever I would coddle you in my arms. Complaining was not a term in my personal dictionary. I could even stand for the entire week without sleep and still would display a good smile.
I enjoy telling the world how we were before because it was the most memorable and significant part of my unheroic life. As a matter of fact, it constituted the very essence of my existence. It defined the core of my role in the universe. That period in our respective lives, whether we are aware or not, was the substance of my entire being.
But as soon as you gained a foothold on your environment, the moment when you began to appreciate your surroundings including the way your seniors treat you, life has unfolded a new chapter. Mine would have to fade and wither, and in your case, yours will blossom. Life goes on, moving towards the future, the past will remain as such, the future about to become the present. I no longer represent the center of your universe. Your perception has relegated me to the periphery. I am already an audience keeping you company from a distance. You are now at the center of your own cosmos.
Time says that we move forward along with its ticking. Time indeed waits for no one. You must proceed where we have left and rush towards a new understanding of what reality should apply for you. I have been through the same process and believe me, there is no formula. It is nature repeating itself. Everything is a clone of everything. But it would rely on how you intend to lead it. If you are smart, then everything is laid out for you. If not or you choose to be otherwise, then you simply forego the pleasure of satisfaction.
I say choose because education is the vortex of being smart. Disregard the field of reading, writing and computing, you will remain ordinary and always at the mercy of those who passed through the regime of learning. I want to stress this precisely to explain the joy I had when you were wrapped in my arms singing lullaby, having mustered the art of patience internalized through years of learning. That is right, a sharpened mind will always love sincerely.
The Bible is also clear on this. In John 1:4, it has been said “I have no greater joy than to hear that my children are walking in the truth.”
I may be somewhere, distant as you were, at times nearly forgotten because of detachment but I was there when you have no concept of your self yet. As soon as you began to grasp reality, as soon as you gained consciousness of everything, I rescinded into the shadows. It is a painful separation but it is part of the natural cycle. One must die for others to live. An old tree must fall so that the sprouts surrounding it will grow.
I feel proud, so much happy and very privileged to have been a part of your formative years. Tragedy could no longer reach it. Suffice it to say that I live through you and the generations ahead.
Your father and former playmate.