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NOT a big deal to most, but a big one for me. Doomed to an abject sentimentality borne of sixty five years, which in turn is affected by cabin fever, little things suddenly mean a lot.

Memories often play funny tricks with regard to one’s perception of space and time. A boy, whom you have watched grow up from a tiny baby to a young man, has a frozen-in-time little boy image in your mind’s eye that you never seem to forget. In fact, it is always with that same image that you imagine him to be, whenever you think of, and much less, interact with him in real time. I guess that is why we often hear from children the phrase, “But I’m not a little kid anymore.”

I have got two gems-of-a-boy who have already discovered their own little niches in the adult world. However, while the first-born had already been on his own and now successfully navigating his way along Manila’s business district, the young one still stays with us, the clingy ones, still in test flight mode, but with a first writing job that consumes much of his quarantine moments in these work-from-home days.

Not that we mind. True-blue pinoy parents that we are, we would prefer it that our children stay longer with us under our roofs, for as long as they want, and the hell with the opinion of others.

Then I always wonder, why is it that they always appear in my dreams as the little tykes that they once were, instead of how they look at present? That might be a psychiatrist’s dream case study right there but I surmise that it’s merely every parent’s subconscious desire, that their children will never grow old and stay as their babies forever.

I have this lingering image in my mind, of a park scene wherein a father is coaxing his one-year old boy to walk towards him. As the smiling babe awkwardly baby steps in his direction, there is cuteness overload. However, I see everything unfolding differently. With each step toward him, the boy is ironically learning to step away in the opposite direction.

I have always kidded some of my friends who have growing-up daughters about that fateful day when some young man will eventually come knocking. Being on the opposite side of this spectrum, I am now of a similar frame of thinking; my son may be driving me now, for errands and wherever I need to go, but it will not be long when the tables will be turned and he will be using our wheels for dates. (And hopefully with one of my friends’ daughters.)

During his little bot days, I have not only been tatay, but close-in buddy, and confidante as well, accompanying him at almost every step of the way, in both school and other activities. The time when he will say he is driving over to visit some girl or finally say he has decided to permanently move out, definitely feels closer, and nothing is going to stop it. Oh well, from Matchbox cars to Tamiyas, to a Honda, that’s a tale right there. In all, I just have to say, darn them little baby steps in that park.

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