Age of Innocence

 

You may call me a sentimental father and I will be fine with it. I have two children that are five years apart in age. My daughter is a teenager now and just like any teenager, she has her little world she lives in. I would also say that this is the age where a person is trying to spread their wings and learning to fly. This is also the age where she wants her independence from us as parents. She wants to hang out more with her friends and think of her parents more like a walking ATM to pay for all her expenses. I can’t blame her as she’s figuring out her role and purpose in this big wide world. Haven’t we all been there? But oftentimes I feel like I want to turn the clock back to the age of innocence where I could still cuddle and play silly games with her without being scolded for being an immature papi. 

Good thing, I still find my consolation from Varen, my eight-year-old son. He still loves to cuddle and I can still play all kinds of silly games with him like booger game or mad singing games with 99.99% chances of still getting his exhilarating laughter from him. “Do it again Papi! Do it again!” he often says. Of course, as a good father, I would do the stupid game all over again, which then often annoys my wife and my daughter all at the same time: “Stop it! That’s just annoying!” 

 I truly treasure this fatherly feeling with Varen. I treasure each moment when I can still hold his hands, his not-so-tiny-hands-anymore folded in my palm, while we’re walking from the parking lot to his classroom. I love hearing his response when I said to him, “I love you Varen. Be a good boy.” With his still cute childlike voice that hasn’t been robbed by puberty, he would answer, “I love you too, Pa.” It makes my heart sing, every time, even though I’m beginning to notice that he gets embarrassed now when I smooch him in front of his friends. Sometimes he has to hunch his shoulders because I kiss his soft cheeks so many times even though he never directly asks me to stop. I simply couldn’t resist his baby smell. I asked him one day, “Are you embarrassed that I kiss you at school, Varen?” “No.” he answered, although I knew from his expression that his nice answer he gave was only to please me since he didn’t want to offend me. O, did I tell you that I also love when Varen turns his body and waves his hand to me right before he enters his classroom even after all the holding hands and kisses ceremony? As if he’s not ready to let me go.   I know that it is just a matter of time before the sense of urgency to learn to spread his wings occurs to Varen. Puberty will come no matter whether I like it or not. His cute childlike voice will turn into an annoying croaky adolescent voice as I once had. His soft baby cheeks will turn into a teenager’s cheek that is peppered with acne. His baby body odor will disappear and disgusting puberty body odor will take over. And of course, one day, he may say to me “I don’t like cuddling and your silly games are just too silly for a man like me, Papi. And please, don’t kiss me at all.” I hope it never happens but who can guarantee it? Isn’t that the reality of life? Everyone changes just like the ever-changing seasons of life. As much as I love for my kids to stay babyish and cute, I wouldn’t want them to stay that way forever. Yes, I want them to learn to fly, see the world, and one day build their own nest. But right now, let me just savor the age of innocence to its last drop.   “Don’t you see that children are God’s best gift, the fruit of the womb his generous legacy? Like a warrior’s fistful of arrows are the children of a vigorous youth. Oh, how blessed are you parents, with your quivers full of children! Your enemies don’t stand a chance against you; you’ll sweep them right off your doorstep.” Psalm 127:3-5 (Message)  

Love and prayers, 

Vincent Arishvara 11212019