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Sunday Lifestyle

Reunion for Tristan

FROM MY HEART - Barbara Gonzalez-Ventura - The Philippine Star
Reunion for Tristan
The author with Tristan or “Trey”.

Once upon a time a very long time ago, I had little children — three girls born one after the other, then five years later, a son. We lived in a big house on the upper side of town and every Easter my friends and I would get together to make at least a hundred Easter eggs that we would have hidden in the garden while everyone was at Mass. When we got back, the egg hunt would start. Now all those children, scattered around the world, are in their 50s and 60s. We have only retained our memories. I remember it as one of the Easter Sundays when we had lots of fun.

When my children hit their 20s and 30s, Easter Sunday fell off my map. Some of them didn’t believe in it. They didn’t want to do Easter eggs anymore. For me, making Easter eggs was then the most fun. I loved making them look like bugs or little cars. But my children had grown and had taken Easter festivities into their own hands. To be honest, I don’t remember what we did after we stopped painting Easter eggs.

But last Easter Sunday, to me, anyway, was the most memorable in a long, long time. It might have begun on the Wednesday before when I received a text from my first grandson whom I (and only I) call Powie. I spell what I call him that way: “Powie.” I cannot stand to see his name spelled as “Paoie.” I can’t pronounce that. His real name is Paolo and we — my mother, whom her grandchildren called Mamoo, my youngest daughter Panjee and I — took care of him when he was 11 months to two years old.

This was when we lived in the United States. There were no maids and we all had jobs. I honestly don’t know how we did it but we managed to take good care of him and do our jobs at the same time. I remember how much I adored him, my first baby grandson, who would frequently fall asleep while I was feeding him in his high chair.

Now it’s 36 years later. He has a wife and a baby. My very first adorable great-grandson. He sends me a text to tell me he is here with his wife and child, staying at his in-laws’ home and he wants me to meet Tristan. That’s the name of his little one. “Can we have lunch somewhere on Sunday?” Powie asks.

His wife’s mother and I have sort of made friends through our cell phones. She and her husband were going to the States for Christmas and for Ding’s (that’s Powie’s wife’s name) delivery. She ordered rosaries to give away for Christmas and I made sure I delivered them on time through messengerial service. I knew her name was Odette, but that was all I knew.

This time I sort of hinted to Pow that maybe we could just have lunch at their home so I could meet them personally. He texted back to say my wish was granted. The Chiongbians also wanted to meet me at last. The next three days had me levitating. I was so excited and so happy to be meeting my first little great-grandson at last.

It was a bit mad for me because first I had to return a rechargeable electric fan I bought a week before to keep my husband cool during the one day of the year when the building where we lived would turn off all electricity for 10 hours. My husband and I would have to spend all day indoors without air-conditioning. I charged the fan but it did not work when needed. A minor fight, which will get bigger if they don’t refund my money. I also had to rush through my weekly groceries, buy a lime cake, which I was curious about, only to be later disappointed. Finally I got myself there.

And that’s when I thought I would soar with joy! I met Tristan or “Trey” or whatever you want to call our beautiful, smiley baby boy. I carried him and kissed him a million times, I think. He sat on my lap until he started stretching and squirming because I wasn’t carrying him right. I got him to laugh, gurgle, coo and cry at my first visit.

Then my son Gino arrived. He lives about two blocks down. Then my other grandson, Nicc, whom I hadn’t seen for at least two years, arrived. Then my granddaughter, Maxine, joined us wearing a headband with two little pink bunnies on it. It wasn’t meant to be, but it turned out to be a very happy family reunion.

I am so profoundly grateful to Ed and Odette Chiongbian for hosting this family reunion so deliciously for us. Tristan and I will never forget that we first met at your lovely home.

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