Thank God for little kids!
There must be something in my face that kids can only see.
Maybe, in their eyes, it’s either I look like a clown or a doll (no, never a doll!). Maybe more of a clown. Or a funny fish with bulging pair of eyes and twistedly concave mouth. Or a ready-to-amuse hairy monkey.
Just this evening, as I boarded a jeepney on my way to a friend’s house, there was a boy, about two, who was having a tantrum that his dad (I assume) turned him over to sit on his mom’s (I also assume) lap while I was slowly inching my way to the only space cleared for me as the passengers edged sideways. It was just across the family (again, assuming).
The boy was still twitching up and down churning muffled cries as I sat down, clutching my travelling bag and knapsack in front of me.
My first thought was that, maybe he’s hungry, or tired and sleepy. Just like his parents when I stole a look at them.
Then the boy sat still, stared at me. I guess he took pity on me as I squeezed to my place, two bags on my lap, and trying hard not to slide from my seat. Good thing, a passenger alit and all my behind got a full cushion.
The little boy had gone quiet, and yes, he continued to look at me. No, he’s not frightened. He was also not ecstatic, not even smiling. Just a curious gaze, I think. Once in a while, he would look at my seatmate but his eyes would return to my face, or was he looking at my nose? My forehead? My eyebrows?
I can sense this from my sight’s periphery, and I would occasionally stare back at the boy, with a half smile. I didn’t know for how long our mutually curious stance went until the boy fluttered his eyes and began to sleep!
And I remembered another little boy too during the Simbang Gabi just a few hours ago that day. He was hyperactively walking back and forth on the pew and on our seat during the Gospel reading. His mom (a former neighbor coz we moved) somehow surrendered to his boy’s activity. During the homily though, the boy sat between me and his mom. And before the sermon was over, the boy was leaning on me, and was already asleep!
Is my presence a sleep inducer? I can assure you, NO. My aura’s a bit frayed this evening.
There was another instance at a wake’s mass a few weeks back, I was sitting and leaning on the stairs when someone tapped my leg. And you might have guessed it. Another young boy, all vibrance amidst the weeping family members. I could only smile at him and gave him a hush-hush look. But the tirade went over and over with him giving me a tap and would seemingly hide himself from me only to scuttle to my place and tap me time and again!
Do I look like someone who’s all to willing for peek-a-boo? Again, NO. Not on that particular time.
One early morning, just almost a month ago (this I am sure since I was waiting for my pending Big Breakfast meal and focused on reading the headlines on the Ampatuans), there was yet another another boy (oh, boy!). He was with his family sitting three tables away from mine. Transfixed as I was scanning the newspaper, I could still here his giggles. As I looked up, I was happily surprised to find that he was giggling while looking at me! Well, his chin was on his mom’s shoulders (I am assuming again that she is his mom). His dancing eyes were on me! The two tables were empty so I know that he was not making fun of anybody but me. The mom got curious at his son’s giggles and even looked from behind her and saw me as the only person there. She smiled at me too. Even as they stood up to leave, the boy was still giving me nice smiles and giggles. That made the mom smiled and even gave me a nice goodbye wave.
Was I in a playful mood that time? Goodness, NO. That morning was a pure letdown.
I had never laid eyes on these tots. I was simply and justifiably someone unfamiliar in their eyes. And yet, they were willing to share with me their untainted sense of contentment and happiness.
However I felt as nothing, empty and non-important, my varied experiences during these instances, as I look back on them, gives me an undeniable sense of joyous wonder and unadulterated pride. Because in those wee moments, with these little guileless souls, I knew that the youngsters were not really seeing nor feeling me.
Those tots, bewildered maybe or simply just “believing” were actually being comforted and playing with my “companions” who, during that time, were just as busy with them as on me. Because as I look back, those were the times when I was at my lowest. Only now do I fully accept and understand that in times when my spirit flashes an SOS to HIM, HE sends extra guides to soothe me. And those tots whom I encountered, seemingly comforted by my presence were actually living proofs that I were in the company of angels, giving my guardian angel the ayuda he needs!
Those tots have to make me realize it — because I was so blinded by my hurts to believe that they really do exist.