Nori, my younger sister had spent three summers with us. Helping us with the mission works that we could no longer handle during summer. She had spent many hours with the children and she had written her reflections. I just posted as it is. I should have posted this long time ago here but really couldn’t find the time to do so. This is the first installment of several stories.
I was reading Grace Cho’s God’s Favorite Face and except for Chai, all the other Dek-dek are chattering as they compare their noses, eyebrows, lips, hair… the noise was so deafening that i had to sssshhh! them. Yex Chai was in a very pensive mood… actually, she was sort of melancholic. In a matter of split second, i tried to analyze what was happening to this girl.
Possibility 1. Separation Anxiety. Lola Linda, Auntie Selma, Tita Dadai, and Eb-Eb has left the other day and they have gone back to the Philippines. The AVSTM big brothers had left the day after. The kids have been counting days and we are also going home with Ross.
For some days, the house was full… 28 people plus one dog… Narlin and Joey slept on the living room for two weeks or so. They planned to buy a tent and set it up in the yard, but after the earthquake, the tent available in town were all sold in one day.
Summer is a busy time for missions. A lot of groups come in to spend time with the Dek-dek. The house is practically full. There was too much commotion and each meal is like a feast. MaEng is always busy in the kitchen plus take note of the cleaning, washing, marketing, groceries, etc. and the planning that goes behind each menu. The washing machine is running everyday.
But summer is almost over. Rainy days start to set in. Schools in Thailand will open on the third week of May. The busy-ness will soon end. The visitors are going home group by group.
Possibility 2. Yex Chai is missing her mommy, this is how the Dek-dek explained it. The other day, while waiting for the music to be downloaded for their interpretive dance lesson with Kuya Ross, I read Robert Munsch’s “I love you forever”. It is a story about a mother and her son. Featured in there are the most important yet crucial stages in the life of the child and the way the mother would carry the baby (as a real baby, a toddler, a child, a teenager, an adult, etc) and the song she always sang for him. I tried to put a tune to the song. It does not sound so right, and it is not at all original. I have taken a chorus of some song, but i cannot even remember which one is it.
The lyrics of the song goes like this, “I love you forever, I like you for always… As long as I’m living, my baby you’ll be.” Since the song was repeated several times, the children were able to memorize it all at once. They sang it while preparing the table for lunch, while washing the dishes, during their silent moment as they take their nap, as soon as they woke up, and practically every lull moment.Yex Chai proudly told me that she has memorized it and that she can sing it.
Most likely, the children are correct in their diagnosis. Or, it is also possible that all of them started thinking about their parents and their home. Some of them literally felt so homesick afterward. But maybe, Yex Chai felt it more. I suddenly reckon that someone hugged me from behind and asked me, “can I call you mommy?” and i just replied with another question, “Why? do you want to call me mommy like Ycoi?” “Yes!” Others said, “we want to call you mommy too.” But I never heard anyone call me mommy yet…
I stopped reading the story, and i signaled Yex Chai to come closer… She was in tears and was almost sobbing. I felt her forehead, “no fever Yex Chai, but what seems to be the problem”. As she tried to control her sob, I immediately hugged her close… and let her sit on my lap… and as i held her, i cradled her a bit… kept her there… and continued reading the book. Then the Dek-Dek started talking again relentlessly.
That night, after the devotional time, and as we close in prayer, the Dek-dek remembered to pray for Yex Chai and for their own parents back home. All these times that i was with them and that we are having our prayer time, i only hear them pray for Tatay and Nanay (Joey and Narlin). While they were away, i even hear the Dek-Dek prayed for them in their supposedly silent individual prayer before they sleep. But I hope this night as they felt that nagging loneliness may it help them see that their real parents need their prayers too…parents whose hearts miss the little one whom they will love forever, they will like for all time, and whom they will call “baby” for as long as they live.