We all know that kids love Christmas day. Alright, make that kids and kids at heart love Christmas day. This year is no different from what I’ve seen. This year, we got to spend Christmas with the grandparents. Though not all four at the same time. We’d like to think that the first two were advanced Christmas presents (we had them back in November) and the next two as real-time presents (they are here, right now).
There are a number of things to be excited about during the Christmas season. For one, we have always regarded it as a family event. Back in the Philippines, our Christmases were considered family reunions as well. At least as far back as I can remember. I think I was about in my teenage years when our numbers started dwindling down. It was either some have gotten too old to visit, or some have already gone far away out of the country and some just didn’t have the time. Those were good times though, and at least for this year, we get the chance to spend a Christmas with family members that are close by.
Next, we have food (lots of food). For some reason, food has always been in abundance at the house during this period. It sort of helps that there are some special food that only come out during December (some of which we do miss) such as Puto Bumbong, Bibingka and Dinuguan. There are some that are available in Singapore such as chestnuts and ham, but I guess there’s something about the ambiance back home that makes early morning cravings just a wee bit more special.
Then there are gifts. Young and old alike, everyone appreciates getting a gift or two (or three, if you’re counting). And yes, it’s not about the gifts but about the thought behind these gifts that matter. Of course, that’s not to say that one has to think about what gift to give (specially to someone named “your wife”) since it becomes quite a bit of a struggle to find that perfect gift that’s just right. Luckily for me, I am a mind reader and I happen to know what my wife wants for Christmas (when I ask her). While surprises are good, we have learned to appreciate gift-giving ad-hoc style by bringing them along to pick their presents out.
And of course, you can’t forget Santa Claus. You can’t have a proper kid’s Christmas without Santa. This, I’ve got covered. Mainly because I have Santa on speed dial and he’s got a helper in the form of Matthew’s fairy odd-parent. How they manage to pull off their magic is beyond me. But their presence, and our belief in them, have always put a smile on Matthew’s face. That is priceless.
In this day and age, the mobile phone has overtaken the analog phone for calling up people. While we do have a so-called land-line, we also have our own mobile subscriptions. The land-line is mostly to avoid radiation from mobiles, but when I think about it, it feels a bit redundant. We have mobile phones to be contactable on the go. At least that was the original plan for having mobile phones. With the advances in mobile technology however, we now hold the power of pocket computers. And these hold for us great things in many areas of our lives. Of course, these advances are not without their caveats and it differs from person to person depending on one’s needs and wants.
This brings me to the question about giving our children the responsibility of keeping mobile phones of their own. Matthew had just turned ten last November, but is age the only criteria? Of course not. And here is the scenario that we have had a few times (or call it an excuse, if you will) .
We started asking Matthew to come home by himself after school. He brings a bicycle and a big-a$$ heavy bag every day. But we always tell him to call home before he rode off from school. This is so that we can gauge how long it would take for him to get home. There are times that the queue at the payphone becomes quite long that his mother had started worrying when he has not called in yet. He would sometimes ask to call home from the school office, but he couldn’t do it everyday as other people use the office too. It becomes even more difficult when it rains. Then there are times when the plan changes and either my wife suddenly can (or cannot) pick him up from school. There was no way to inform him of any change in plans. Maybe some (or all) of these reasons are petty to some people, but put simply, we just want to know where our son is now that he is growing up. Having a phone does not totally remove the anxiety of him not being on sight, but at least it gives one that sense of security (however false it may be) that he can be contacted.
What about all that smartphone stuff then? Well, he has been pretty happy with his mobile.
A Nokia 105. It’s good enough for calling and texting, plus the battery life is dope lasting for 5 days or more. Let’s hear your iPhone do that.
It looked like we were on a roll. Matthew had his birthday and it seems that we have been celebrating it for a whole week. It had been an exhausting week, that much can be said. I didn’t think that being ten years old would be such a big celebration for us, but that’s how it turned out and nobody is complaining (at least until I get the bill).
We had sort of celebrated with his friends two nights before his actual birthday and we had a small surprise party for him on his special day. Two days later, we were on our way to Batam to see his cousins. It was only that morning that I actually realised how much of a celebration we had been having to be honest. And now that I have, it is such a great blessing to be with family and friends to share your special day.
Growing up has its share of ups and downs and lefts and rights. Matthew had definitely been going through several paces at once and (from my perspective) he looks like he is having a bit of trouble coping. Either that, or he is trying his best to put up with his promise of not wanting to grow up. As an adult, I already know that growing up is not optional, it is something that is forced upon us by circumstances and to some degree, fate.
I do hope that we find our way to get through the next phase of our lives together. Parents always want the best for their children. How we get our children to understand that seems to be the difficult part.
Whenever Matthew needs to call my attention, he would say “Hey Dad! Dad! Dad!”
And he always calls my attention. And mum’s as well (of course, he calls out “Hey Mum!” when he wants to talk to mum). This is how he calls me when he wants to ask about the Titanic. This is how he calls me when he wants to tell me about how ear wax flavoured every-flavour-jellybeans taste like. This is how he calls me when he wants to tell a joke. It is how he calls me when he wants to ask if he could play Minecraft. It is how he calls me when he needs me to get him underwear when he forgets to bring one to the bath. In fact, this is how he calls me for just about anything.
One day it just hit me that I should rename my blog and update it as well. That’s how we got to where we are now.