Sweet Abundance: Food for the Stomach and Soul
By Kay Habana
I hardly find him resting his head on my chest anymore, sound asleep. He’s just overgrown the capacity of my grasp. He used to fit perfectly in my arm. He used to search for my body warmth in bed and found it hard to sleep comfortably when he couldn’t. He used to lock his tiny hand in mine even when his back was turned away; it reassured him I was close by. These days, so many things no longer are. And I’m saddened by this reality and cycle of life.
My 11-year old son, a baby no more.
He’s on winter break the entire week. I’m thankful for the opportunity that I got to spend quality time with him. It was refreshing that I didn’t have to hurry tucking him into bed before 10 PM and that we both didn’t have to wake up early to get to the bus stop. Considering the bite of the cold the past few days, I’m most glad he didn’t have to be exposed, although he’s always the one telling me to dress warmly because I get cold easily.
It has been a week full of mom-son fun: story-telling, reading, games, catching up on homework, shopping, and the best part, lots of eating. Much as I wanted to prepare home-cooked meals for my boy, we thought of seizing the day from the moment we wake up to the setting of the sun. We tried different diners in Queens, New York City, and Jersey City. A few seemed okay, and the rest, wonderful! As long as they made his favorite sunny-side-up or eggs benedict, he was more than content.
Our days are always filled with activities that give Kael different sorts of experience, experiences that may be happy, inspiring, sad, and challenging, all of which can teach him how to conduct himself in any given situation. No matter what the day brings, I just always make sure that I’m there when he needs me. Usually, when we get home, we settle on the couch. Some days, Kael would ask that we watch the Filipino channel together. I’m not much of a TV person. However, I see his interest in learning Tagalog and in the story lines of these various evening shows, especially the ones with children as old as he is. If there’s one thing that bothers me when we watch together, he’s that type who talks to the characters and tries to predict what will happen in the next episode. Ha! Ha! Ha!
The best part of the day, as simple as it may be, is putting my son to sleep. Yes, he’s no longer a baby. My friends even advise against babying him too much and that he has to learn to be independent. Independence, a word that I don’t like very much, these days. Yes, I look at my son and I see a boy who’s wise beyond his years; a boy who often times gets up on his own and prepares his bowl of cereal in the morning or cooks his own omelet. But, he’s my baby. He always will be. And that truth is reassured whenever I hear him say, “Mommy, can you please scratch my back so I can sleep? Scratch, not rub. Ok?” I don’t doubt one bit that he is my son and my blood encompasses his every being. I see myself in him, calling to my daddy-lolo to rub my back to sleep when I was a kid.
Isn’t it funny? As new mothers, we delved into books that taught us 101s in How to Take Care of a New Born, How to Wean–, How to Help our Kids Learn How to Read–, How to—, the list goes on.
I remember being so obsessed in many kinds of informative materials that talked about child-rearing. “Like there is really that one book for it, huh?” From what I gathered, all eleven years have taught me different things. And many of them, I didn’t read from the book. Every child is different. Every child has different needs. Every child needs an understanding relative to the kind of person that he or she is. As I have found and still continue to discover, I have to pattern my approach to the kind of individual my Kael is.
Ultimately, I keep looking forward to helping and being with my son in his growing years. Fulfilling his needs and dedicating time for him are the grandest gifts I can ever give. This, I know for a fact. Our children don’t need those expensive clothes and toys. They’re not interested in how much money we’ve saved up for them. Their demands are pretty simple—our presence, our care, our love, our time.
Who knows what the future holds? But as long as God permits, my son will have all of me, until such time that he will have his own wings to fly.