Longings of an Adult Childhood


My youngest child Abby and my eldest grandson Jacob.

That’s my youngest child Abby asking. My former students at the Manila School of Evangelism would remember that little girl five years old in 1989 who kept telling them she missed her mother and that she wanted to go home, but she would not without her daddy. Her way to defy parental separation was to leave her mom for a while and live with me as I kept transferring from one job to another. Yes, she was that close to me when she was young. But the long night time in that school room that became our sleeping quarters after school hours would often pester her heart like a virus. She would cry out for Dioly’s motherly presence and her way to connect with her was to pour tears over Mr. Felipe Cariaga’s junk phone, and I would grant her that wish—in my newfound skill of mastering the art of make believe— and she would cry on that phone the whole night, stopping only when sleep invited her to rest, and then she would blurt out in her gentlest way, teary-eyed and tired, “Pauli na ta” (”Let’s go home,” meaning to Bacolod, meaning leave this job). This rite repeated itself from day to day, from night to night.

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