Little children. They bring out the sunshine. They bring out the stars. Smiles, laughter and candies, too.
Little children overwhelmingly charm with their antics, playfulness and especially, their refreshing innocence. They warm my heart, as in a magic spell. Only that, the endearment does not go away. I shall share some of that charming spell.
Gerlyn, mother of my grandnephew Tian-Tian, told me that her son loves the blog I posted on this website, “No Tian-Tian, Godzilla is not in California”. In that article, I mentioned how he got quite concerned about me after watching a Godzilla movie with California as its setting. Just turned 5 on Feb. 20th, Tian-Tian staunchly appreciates a piece written about him. So delighted is he that to this day, he cajoles his parents Siegfrid and Gerlyn to read the article to him every single day. I am enamored by this one admirer of my writing, barely out of his toddler age, yet soaking in the pleasure of a tribute posted on his birthday. If no one pays attention to that Godzilla blog but for this one little boy – I am euphoric and grateful.
More magical charms.
Tian-Tian has a sister, almost 7-year-old Rit-Rit who, even from her very early years, has shown great talent for dancing. I have seen videos of her in nursing or pre-kindergarten school, where she claimed center stage and awed attention for her unusual grace and perfect rhythm. When I vacationed in the Philippines over a year ago, I observed this little girl’s penchant for dressing up in cute, shiny party outfits before performing her dance moves for the family. I remember her well in an Elsa frock (from Frozen) or a Cinderella costume as she captured our hearts with nimble steps well timed to the music. Truly a sweetheart.
Then, there’s Dani, now 4, daughter of my niece Elaine. Dani is a delightfully rumbunctious youngster with a strong will of her own. When I visited the family in the Philippines, I observed that she stubbornly refused for anyone to tie her hair in a ponytail or clip her hair to the side. She insisted that her hair, about shoulder-length then, should always be combed to freely flow down, framing the sides of her face. So very young, but she knew exactly what style of hairdo to sport. I remember that one time we were seated leisurely in the lobby of a hotel in Las Pinas. Dani, then not yet 3, busied herself pushing heavy wooden furniture from their usual spots. She determined to rearrange the hotel lobby. Her father Jensen anxiously trailed her as he tried to stop her. In a funny way, she spooked me — I thought, that little girl must be Wonder Woman reborn. Such strength power! In recent video chats with her Mom, I noticed Dani calmly settled on the edge of the bed as she focused on a cartoon show on TV. And yes, at these times, a neatly ponytailed hair! A definite change, though I marveled at imagining her performing her little Wonder Woman power romps. Sweet and cute, and still rumbunctious.
And then, there’s her brother Miggy, just a few years older, verbose and adult-like in his conversation. Often trying to be wise like a mini Yoda, if there’s anything more mini than the Yoda of Star Wars. I remember Miggy stalking me at a crowded restaurant, making sure I wasn’t lost and that I found the buffet table I was aiming for. Maybe because he thought this Lola needed help in her food search in that huge buffet extravaganza. Or just maybe, he decided I needed a bodyguard in that mass of hungry customers. Once, he startled me by reaching for a glass way above his head to get me juice from a large bottle dispenser. I expected the glass to fall and break as it tittered precariously when Miggy grabbed it off its shelf. Ah, the solicitous, gentlemanly and protective Miggy!
Ethan, youngest son of my niece Hazel and husband Larry, turns 12 on March 7. This youngster has demonstrated computer skills that make him the go-to-person for family zoom meetings. When technical glitches and lost connections happen in the course of conversations across the miles, the usual remedy is to call Ethan. This boy is always quick to the rescue. But I often remember that 6-year-old Ethan, exuberant about the bling-bling shoes we got him for Christmas, strolling back and forth with those new pair as though he was walking on air. Those footwear with the bling-bling seemed like magic carpet to him. He floated. A great delight to watch.
Zi is my niece Nikki’s one-year-old boy. An infant when I visited the Philippines a year ago, unaware, he would spin a spell on me that made me sing “Torete” every time I saw him. The refrain is simply the echo of “I’m crazy about you”. Recently, I saw photos of Zi, his head bald and shiny after a shave by his father Gab. This, after the old folksy belief that if a child’s head is shaved, thick and lush hair will grow. My heart actually skipped a beat upon seeing the absence of those lovable curls that carelessly drooped over his eyes. I wait eagerly for the curls to grow back. Bald — but I’m still “torete” for Zi.
And then of course, I remember when my son John and daughter Joy were little children, and us seated on the floor as I taught them the song, “Jesus loves me this I know”, and with clear voices they enthusiastically rang out the tune and lyrics – pure, heartwarming music to my ears. Or, the times they eagerly looked forward to family nights on Fridays, when we spread thick blankets on the carpeted floor of our family room where they, their father and I all slept after a marathon watch of family movies. Those little children are now in their 40’s and married. Where did time go? Sweet nostalgia.
Then now, I have an 11-year-old grandson Eliott (son of John and Natasha) who warms my heart every time he calls me Lola and seriously explains to me all about Minecraft, the Marvel heroes, or how Lego tiles create figures and structures, or why I should include more action and dialogue in my fairy tales, or whenever I watch him play a Schubert, or Beethoven or Chopin piece for his 6th year piano lessons.
Little children – they bring such joy. But, these little children grow up fast. Too fast. Enjoy them, appreciate them, spend more time with them, and love them dearly – seemingly soon, they’ll be flying off the nest for college or some distant adventure. So, bask in their endearing, magical charm.