My First Granddaughter-A A +A
Friday, August 23, 2013
I FELT a sudden rise of adrenalin. I received an invitation for a debut (18th birthday) at the Luxurious Holiday Inn of Clark. It is an invitation I could not refuse.
I am a proud father. My eldest child, Raymond, is everything that a father dreamed of. He excelled in almost everything. He topped the entrance exams for Grade 1 Sped pupils. He was unreachable as number one from Grade One to Six. He got all the gold medals in academics. He was the undisputed champion in Mathematics in the Central Luzon Area. At that early stage, we have lost count of his number of medals. He passed the rigid qualifying exams for Philippine Science High School. He was offered a scholarship from the Pampanga High School. We opted to choose the latter for his secondary education. He was awesome. He continued his winning ways. Nobody in his class could compete with his grades. He was unbeatable in scholastic contests. He graduated valedictorian, bagging aJJ the academic medals in English, Science and Mathematics. The world was at his feet.
He took the college entrance examinations at the prestigious University of the Philippines. I looked at the list of examinees but to my dismay, his not name is not included. It turned out that there is a separate list of the first 40 topnotchers out of 10,000 aspirants. I jumped with joy when I read my family name, Viray. He was extended the privilege of enrolling at the abbreviated course of seven years medical course known as Intra-Med.
Everything seemed nice and made of spice. Then he discovered girls and girls discovered him. On his sophomore year, he met an attractive girl, Bootsie. There was a discernible change in his behavior and attitude. He became solitary. He was brooding. He closeted himself inside his room. He could not be reached in his boarding house. He became scarce to his friends. He seldom talked to us. His grades plummeted.
"I am a concerned friend. Your son does not go to school anymore. Here is his address at Novaliches." The phone went off.
I and my wife rushed to the given address. Lo and behold, my son lived there with his female partner and she was pregnant.
Shocked and frustrated, 1 asked the nagging questions.
"Where did I fail as a father?" We practically dragged down the young father from his live-in partner… I remember the year, 1995.
Raymond had to secure a leave from the University. He said goodbye to the Medical school. Doctor, he was not destined to be. His daughter became a blur and was perceived more as an obstacle, rather than an inspiration.
He shifted from Medicine to Law. Happily, he resumed his winning ways. He graduated Cum Laude from his Juris Doctor (Bachelor of Law) from the Ateneo de Manila in 2002. By that time, we ignored the fact that his daughter was six years old.
In the year 2004, Raymond got married and started his family. He had a daughter, then a son. Understandably, they were apples of our eyes. Unseen and untold, the baby born out of wedlock is unknown and we pretended that she does not exist.
Exist, she does. Her name is Mona. She has a pretty face. She is plumb with baby fat. One thing is obvious, she looks like me. She is a Viray. She is dark and it is undeniable - her profile is my female version. I saw her in 2006. She came to our "bufete". I embraced her as my lost granddaughter. She was uncomplaining and forgiving. She knows that I am his Grandpa. I was invited for her graduation from the elementary grades but for some reason, I was unable to attend. Then, I lost contact and I almost forgot about her.
Then I got jolted. "Dad, we are going with you to Holiday Inn.", Arvie, my younger son, said. Off, we go to the hotel destination. Everything was impeccable. The roses from white to red decorated the tables. There was a live band. The guests are well dressed. There are more than 3 dozens of medical students from the Ateneo, classmates of the celebrant. The whole 2-unit ballroom of the Inn was teeming with vibrant people. The food was abundant. There was glitter all over. The atmosphere was mesmerizing. There was fever pitch anticipation for the star of the night - the debutante.
The drums boomed. The cymbals banged. She came out from a man-made cocoon. The caterpillar is now a butterfly. Then she took the mike in a smooth and endearing tone - "I welcome everybody. I thank you for spending time for this important occasion."
I am reunited with my own kind. I could have embraced her but I thought I was undeserving.
Meet Mona, my first granddaughter.
Published in the Sun.Star Pampanga newspaper on August 24, 2013.