July 16, 2009

three hours ago, i kissed my nephew goodnight.

rewind a few minutes before my mom cuddled and tickled him and prior to that, about an hour after eating dinner, there we were in my room, talking.

is existensialism embedded in the genetic code? or is faith something we imitate from our primary caregivers?

Anton voiced out a concern near the end of our conversation. he asked me with some anxiety and fear, tears staining his eyes, “tita ing, what if walay God and wala ta dire and wala ta naborn, maunsa lugar ta?” (tita ing, what if there’s no God and we weren’t here and we didn’t exist, what happens? what would we be and what would we do?)

religion is one issue i still haven’t come to terms with up until now. but since my nine year old nephew’s question, i’ve been asking urging myself to get a move on and to actually live up to my answers. but what if there is no eternity after all? and how could i have been optimistic enough to assure him that there is when i myself haven’t even established a concrete belief in either the non-existence or the existence of a higher deity? what a hypocrite.

how can i guide him to be hopeful and trusting when i myself can’t even hold up to my self-esteem and view the world with rose colored glasses? how can i help him be a better individual, able to empathize and act for change when i, the “role model” is still standing, walking, waiting on shaky ground?

he’s a smart and perceptive kid who knows how to care and how to follow rules. but i want to instill in him the faith that my parents imbued in me. i want him to have a beacon of hope for when the world becomes too much for him. i want that for him because no one deserves to feel afraid of ending up being nothing and to believe that our lives are of no significance. in the first place, our mere birth already means something, so we can’t be nothing now, can we? i need him to be whole and to be whole, he has to establish a firm belief in things that are beyond our hands, of a higher being who somehow governs our ways and how trusting in something incomprehensible can make all the difference in the world. but how will i do that if i’ve already began to strip off my wings feather by feather, long before the question was on the table?

three hours ago, i kissed my nephew goodnight.

his mom is currently out of the country, working for ten months now. his dad has another family while he juggles with my nephew’s school age and his younger son’s preschool activities. meanwhile, my nephew rallies back and forth between our house and his dad’s just to maximize family time.

look what he’s become now: midway through lethargic-psp-toting-basketball addict and a little scientist with his heart on his sleeves.

my place on his growth is crucial now. i have to hurry up before he climbs up to puberty where androgen and testosterone rule me out of his life. and i don’t want to mess this kid’s cognitive and moral development just because i passed on some morbid strain of DNA that enables him to think of life too much in the future. but what can i do? if i could, i would want to take that particular chromosome from his genetic make-up just so he could enjoy life better and be a normal kid. if it’s possible, i would like to have the gene surgically removed so he can be happy instead of ending up like his tita ing.

so every night before he sleeps, i think of all the nights an eight-year old girl once spent her nights lying on her bed, wondering about afterlife accompanied with a weird sensation in the pit of her stomach and tracing patterns on the leaves of the trees outside while her sister beside her dreams of rainy showers with dad and mud pie and beauty and the beast; and i end up angry with myself for not having been sociable enough to distract my imagination but more so for dragging a brilliant but broken nine year old kuya into my morbid labyrinth of miserable curiosity. or is it more of curious misery? pfft. i feel like Erik from the Phantom of the Opera.