Jeff left home for another business trip in China and suddenly the bed is empty.
So I invited the kids to sleep in our room, a gesture only accorded to Jeff Junior when Daddy is around because he is smaller in size than the twins, which allows him to sleep comfortably on our double-sized bed.
Putting them to sleep at 8:00 p.m. is a test of willpower and patience.
All sorts of excuses come out.
“Mom, I am hungry.”
“Nanay, I need food for my belly.”
“Mom, the sun is asleep. I need to see it when it’s awake. I wait for the morning.”
I read them a story.
I sang two songs.
I threatened Nicholas that he will face the wall if he doesn’t stop asking me for candies at bedtime.
A car pulled over near our gate and Jeff Junior thought it was his Daddy so he got up, opened the window and with his signature high-pitched, two-year-old voice called out, “Heeeey Dad!”
Only that there was no Dad because he will be home at around 8:00 a.m. the following day.
Jeff Junior looked at me with a disappointed face and cried.
“No Daddy, no Daddy,” he repeatedly said.
Antoinette was ready to give her baby brother a hug. For the next five minutes, I watched in pure awe as my daughter comforted his younger brother by alternating between touching his forehead and hugging him close to her chest.
It was one of the most beautiful sights in the world.
Thirty minutes later, it was Antoinette’s turn to cry. She wanted to sleep on top of me the way a baby does.
She said I hurt her feelings and cried.
A loud, annoying cry from a four-year-old girl.
Before I could even tell her to stop crying, the boys already surrounded her. Nicholas kissed her on the forehead and hugged. Jeff Junior rubbed her belly and said, “Don’t cry. It’s okay Tone.” This was followed by a rain of kisses which sent Antoinette to a laughing spree.
By 9:00 p.m., the three mutants were exhausted. Nicholas was the first to sleep. Jeff Junior closed his eyes a few minutes after. I followed suit because the last thing I remember was seeing Antoinette standing by the window, telling me that the rain is making the moon sad.
It’s 1:05 a.m.
I woke up with a dry throat.
To my right are the three reasons why I am more exhausted every single day and why I often feel guilty about not doing this motherhood job well. They are also the sources of my happiness; the ones who motivate me to better in what I do; the ones who let me see life with unicorns and rainbows despite the presence of horrible people and unbearable road traffic situation.
Jeff just sent me a Facebook message saying he just safely arrived in Manila from Beijing and that he will now transfer to the domestic terminal for his 6:00 a.m. flight to Cebu.
I replied with a photo of the three on our bed.
Jeff Junior talked in his sleep, something that happens often.
He was smiling as he said, “I’m happy. I’m happy and I know it.”
He clapped his hands.
Then sucked his thumb.