It was not the best time to fly on a Philippine airline.
The newspapers were screaming about how the US FAA had downgraded the Philippine aviation industry to "Category 2" - in the company of Bangladesh, Ivory Coast and Ghana.
For someone like me, who has always been inherently afraid of flying - it was to be a leap of great faith to take this "optional" trip - at this time.
It would take something powerful to get me to go ...
And powerful it was .
The son of my sister-in-law was marrying the girl with whom he had had an "on and off " relationship of many years.
He was the ringbearer in my own wedding once upon a long time ago.
His wedding was to be held in Singapore.
I was to be one among the "godparents"
Gosh - where has all the time gone?
There was so much I wanted to say ...
But time, fleeting rapidly as it does - had overtaken me
I watched this "little boy" grow from a playful impish waif cavorting in the buff as ocean waves lapped under his feet
Watched as his toddler eyes popped at the sight of Christmas goodies
Ran to his side when his growing but frail little body burned with fever
Smiled in amusement as he scaled the ladder of education despite a lazy academic demeanor
Laughed knowingly as his adolescent episodes of hormonal rush revealed themselves
Stood back - amazed as he intuitively learned how to dismantle and assemble automobiles
Admired the development of a quiet but effective business manner
Appreciated his uncanny ability to command the loyalty of people around him
Suffered quietly as his heart broke
Flushed with excitement as it mended
Silently supporting his initiatives for independence
While insinuating a sidebar of wisdom
Allowing him the benefit of my years of experience
Without encumbering him with the weight of intervention or supervision
Loving him from a distance
As I do all my nephews and nieces
As I do all who I have had the honor to be "godfather" to
As I do all of my "family" ...
I have become perhaps Sicilian in that sense
For I have painfully learned in my own life
That when the chips are down
And walls are crumbling around you
True refuge is to be found ... only in family
In those who have loved you simply because you are
I watched as the couple gazed into each others eyes
With knowing smiles on their faces
Hands in each others hand
Hearts in each others heart
A tear welled in my eye ..
I watched the "little boy" slowly waltz away
Slowly float away
Slowly fade away
Into a life of his own ...
They turned to each other
The strains of a wonderful choir in the air
The glint of sunshine reflected in their loving gazes
His parents looked on quietly- wanting to hold on, but knowing it was time to let go
A lump formed in my throat
The tear in my eye slowly trickled down my cheek ...
I thank them for allowing me the privilege of standing as "ninong".
It is a trust I take seriously.
As they leave behind the struggle of getting what they want - to face the challenge of wanting what they got
I resolve to be there for them ...
To be their refuge
To be their confidante
To be their adviser
To be their friend
To be family ...
I do it with all sincerity
In the spirit of the song that was the center of their vows ...
I do it ...
"never with sadness,
always with gladness
I do... "
Good luck mga anak
Dito lang ako kung kailangan nyo ako
God Bless you both always