As a matter of fact, they have every positive trait known to mankind – and animalkind, if animals concerned themselves with such things – and in short, are paragons of virtue in every way, if I do say so myself. And I do say so myself; as their mother, I have unlimited bragging rights. So there.
Ohana collage: From top left, clockwise – Alex and Ik on our front steps; Ik in her preschool graduation regalia some years ago; Alex, Ik, and nommage at Chili’s last July 6; me, peeking; Alex on a “Ducati” at TimeZone, and little does she know that it’s the closest she’ll ever get to riding a motorbike; Alex and Ik at the Union Church of Manila Sala.
Alex is nearly 17, a frosh at De La Salle-Manila, in for BS Psychology with the end goal of being a “pee-sychiatrist”, as the Animaniacs call ‘em. She can make Windows Moviemaker walk and talk and Patapon cry and beg for mercy, but dissolves into a puddle of jelly each time she recalls Johnny Depp’s drunken swagger in the Pirates of the Caribbean movies. Her favorite comeback: “Riiiiiiiighhht…”
Me: “How would you raise your children?”
Ik: “I was thinking I wouldn’t be a typical mom myself.”
Alex: “I was thinking – with a crane…”
Ik turned a decade old last month, and is in fourth grade at Colegio de Santa Rosa-Makati. Multi-school spelling bee champ last year, emerging artist, talented storyteller, collector of puns, palindromes, and optical illusions, she has a gift for coming up with witty one-liners that explode in your head like the jelly from inside a donut. For instance:
Me: (singing off-key to the tune of whatever song is playing in my head at the moment) “Go to sleeeep…! It’s time for sleeeep…! Switch off your laptops right nooow…! Don’t make me come over there and do it for yoooou…!”
Ik: (stares) “Mama could be her own Disney movie.”
Or take this exchange – please! – from when she was five years old:
Me: (watching a concert DVD) “That’s Frank Sinatra.”
Ik: “He’s old.”
Me: “He’s dead.”
Ik: “Dead? As in, ‘used to be alive’?” (ponders) “That’s what I mean by ‘old’.”
Every night is comedy night over at our house. With the wisecracks these kids come up with, they could beat the trousers off any improv artist when they come of age. Heck, they’re funnier than a lot of those wannabes that go on reality TV.
I am thankful for the privilege of their company each day. As I watch them grow up, I realize that among all their gifts, that of laughter will sustain their spirits and help them cope with the myriad vicissitudes of life.
Okay, now we’re getting too serious. Jelly donut, anyone?