The familiar road filled me with warmth, knowing it was the first time my daughter would visit the place where I grew up. The streets reminded me of my days as a kid, running around playing patintero or hide and seek. She may be too young to realise it but she’s stepping into history as we entered our home in the Philippines.
I was easily forgotten, left in the background, the moment my family saw MiniMe. I happily let her be in the limelight, showering everyone with joy even with just a shy smile. How can one little person bring so much happiness to people?
It wasn’t hard travelling with MiniMe. She was a gem, as always. It was my anxiety about “what ifs” that created more of a problem than anything else. She didn’t sleep much on the plane though – not her fault. The moment she entered the plane, people immediately noticed her. They all wanted to make her smile, thus delaying her sleep.
At the Manila airport, we got similar attention. It was hard to avoid it even when I tried to cover her pram. A spotlight seemed to be on her constantly the moment she was born.
I took her to the mall with my sisters and I could not believe how much attention she was getting. The salespeople stopped working and gathered around us. People stopped to look at her, touch her, play with her or try to make her smile. We were forced by the SM people to join some baby star competition. We were almost mobbed. My little baby is a crowd drawer and crowd pleaser. Even when she had a fever from the sudden change of weather, she was still smiling and playing up.
After the third trip to the mall, I decided to leave her at home with the folks. While I appreciate the oohs and aahs of the crowd, I prefer people not touching my little girl. I’m not much of a people person and I was really glad that Australians respect personal boundaries. But the Filipino culture is totally different. Thank you for showing your fondness but I don’t know you people from adam. I don’t know where your hands have been, I don’t know what your personal hygiene is like. I don’t know you.
If only I was that honest.
The airline hosts wanted photos with her. My sister’s workmates wanted photos with her. My mother’s workmates wanted photos with her. My friends took photos of her and stole printed photos of her. Another friend in the US uses her photo for her PC wallpaper and has a photo framed on their mantle. Yes, my baby is loved. Very much loved worldwide. My heart is filled with joy by this fact.