I guess the first and most celebrated milestone of any baby is the day she turns one. There are people who plan these events like they were planning weddings. Seriously. The wife began making plans for Isay’s first birth anniversary the day after she was baptized. Isay was just four months old during her christening.
It’s a funny thing because if you really think about it, the one birthday you’re bound to have absolutely no recollection of is your first.
But in an age where you can easily pack memories into digital packages and unbox them years later looking like they happened just yesterday, celebrating a first birthday gives you a chance to create time capsules that you can show your kid when she grows up—you know, to give her an idea what the world was like when she turned one.
(Before I begin, allow me to apologize for not having posted for quite some time. Three months, yes? Between covering Manny Pacquiao’s last fight and some seismic shifts in the office, things have been pretty hectic my end and there was little time to update my blogs. Hope this post makes up for lost time.)
I had always been fascinated with the word ever since I encountered it a few years ago.
It is said that the word, which has Welsh roots, has no direct English translation. After cursory research on it, I understood why. English even struggles to define hiraeth. I came across several attempts to define the word in English, and three caught my attention. There are dictionaries that refer to it as that intense longing or yearning for one’s homeland. Some define it as some sort of melancholic homesickness for a home one can never return to. Then there is my favorite: A longing; a heart-gutting yearning to belong that dissipates only after one finally finds his home.
That last definition is what resonates with me a lot.
THERE isn’t much that a boy like me can give to a baby girl like you.
So, you know, I wrote you a song.
It isn’t much. Very rough and still needs a lot of work. There are so many mistakes that I didn’t edit out anymore. I am hopeful that by next Christmas, when you can actually listen to “carols and other Yuletide tunes,” you will get to enjoy a more polished version of this.
It was a great month. I celebrated my first birthday as a dad, Isay began slowly turning to her side. She was flashing gummy smiles and I was two weeks into doing a bigger share of child-rearing responsibilities. The wife had just maxed out her maternity leave and it was time for me to step up to the plate. There were a lot of nervous moments (try giving your baby a bath for the first time!), but things slowly smoothened out as the days passed.
If ever there was a month where mornings with Isay took off on a deeper, more special meaning, October was it. More sunshine walks together. Basketball chats while I bathed her. Breakfasts where I’d pull her crib to the dining table so we could “talk” while I ate. Isay slowly getting used to me feeding her through the bottle.
ONE of my most favorite things on earth nowadays is watching Isay sleep.
There are very few things in this world that can compare to the sight of a little innocent girl lost in some dreamland that you cannot even fathom. She has a look that has just the right mix of vulnerability, contentment and bliss that makes you sigh like nothing else can and creates a sense of envy inside you.
Only a child can sleep with that “measure of calm and peace that all of us seek and never really find.”
The only thing we can do is stay awake at night, keep our eyes open and stare admiringly at those who can.
I’VE been chronicling Isay’s journey in this world via different platforms. I have a little baby journal where I write letters to the little bugger when I feel like it. Lately, that means once a month—on her monthsary date. There are photos in the journal too. Over at Facebook, I have a public album where I post one photo a day, a selfie with Isay accompanied by random thought balloons.
In almost all of those photos, I make up comments that she cracks based on how she looks in the picture. What’s unwritten, but implied, is my end of the conversation.
It will be too much of a hassle to import the whole set (as of this writing, Isay’s been with me for 74 days already) so I’ve decided to share some of the best ones in this post. And then from hereon, I’ll try coming up with a best for the week based on the likes each photo gets.