No, Tian-Tian, Godzilla is not in California

Tomorrow is my little grandnephew Tian-Tian’s birthday.  He’s turning 5 on Feb. 20th, and that’s today in the Philippines, since it’s a day ahead there. I should remember to video chat to greet him tonight; that’ll be around noon there, party time with family. He calls me Auntie, just like his parents, though I hope he’ll learn to call me Lola (Grandma)  I’m the sister of his grandfather.  Though I admit, Auntie sounds young, I want that extra special umph of the name ‘Lola’. A great deal of wisdom and warmth emitted by that name (not to mention the soft and delightful “privilege” of the hierarchy).  But the little boy doesn’t know that, so it’s fine that he calls me Auntie.

   Happy 5th birthday, Tian-Tian! 

Tian-Tian (nickname for Sebastian) is a very smart and lively little boy, inquisitive and curious. Ask him for the capital of every country on the map, and he’ll answer you correctly with no hesitation at all.  Singing is one of his talents.  When he was three during my vacation in the Philippines two years ago, he sang me a sweet little song in Tagalog that lent homage to the  brilliant moon.  I fondly remember his rendition of “Sa ilalim ng liwanag ng buwan”  – meaning, under the light of the moon.  So whenever I see the moon, feeling enchanted, I hum Tian-Tian’s little tune and insert my own poetic lyrics —  in the Filipino language, they sound haunting and spellbinding.  Isn’t the quasi-mysterious aura of moonlit nights supposed to bind a spell?  Well, in a way it does to me, that often, when gazing at the moon traveling the sky, a quirky habit creeps up.  Randomly, I dispel poetry in the tunes I spin around “Sa ilalim ng liwanag ng buwan”.  Moon-struck, you might say.  I have Tian-Tian to thank for that.

But, something else extraordinary and cute.

Recently, Tian-Tian’s father told me that the family viewed the movie, Godzilla.  The setting for the film is California.  After watching the monstrous shenanigans of Godzilla who wreaks havoc everywhere, his little boy got so worried and blurted to his parents – what’s going to happen to Auntie Linda in California?  So alarmed was he that his father had to contact me on Message so that Tian-Tian could see and video chat with me.  What a sweet little boy!  I had to assure him that Godzilla is no longer in California – that he’s gone away and won’t be coming back.  But I also pointed out that what he watched was just a movie, a made-up story, a … I found myself at a loss for words that instant.  How could I explain to this little boy that the drama on the screen was unreal?  That there is no Godzilla.  That California is fine, and that I’m all right.  I finally suggested to his parents not to show “horror” films to their very young son and their 6-year-old daughter Rit-Rit.  For this little boy, his stark imagination evoked by the Godzilla movie induced great concern for someone he cares for in California, this Lola whom he calls Auntie. Quite endearing.

If we could only peek into the minds of little children, we’d probably find that life is so simple and “black and white”.  The hues in between that sprout as they grow later morph into impressions that develop judgments and conceived values.  It is, however, the very delicate simplicity of children that makes the world seem happier, brighter — and exciting, even in the midst of a Godzilla episode on the screen, as for this little boy.

Oh yes, Tian-Tian Pandes – there is no Godzilla in California!  So have a wonderful, happy birthday – with love and hugs!

Linda P. Jacob

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