It's beginning to look a lot like Kai's second Christmas, every time I go up to Baguio, the frequency of which has lessened as deadline crunch for writing projects draws ever closer.
We moved to Baguio in June of '92. As we were about to mark our first Christmas there as settlers, my spouse Rolly bought a barely two-feet tall artificial tree from a UP Baguio colleague. The size was perfect for me and the children--we just put it atop one of Jerry Araos's medium-size bangko from his bartolina series, and it looked grand in my children's eyes. Kimi and Ida were seven and five, respectively, that year.
By that time, I had slowly acquired trimmings for our little Christmas tree from my shopping visits to a branch of the House of Ramie when there was one on Broadway Avenue in New Manila, Quezon City, where the children's preschool was then located, or to Christmas bazaars. I always bought these decors in pairs. Some were given to the family as Yuletide gifts. That early I already wanted to bequeath my two girls a big box of tree trimmings each for that time in the future when they would set up their respective homes and trim their own trees for their families.
Through the years the collection of trimmings grew, but the tree did not. By the time the kids were in late childhood, it was sagging from the weight of decorations so Rolly bought another. That one, too, had to go after a few years.
There were two years when we didn't bring out the tree for the holidays because my collection of trimmings was misplaced. It wasn't my job to store them away. My ways in the house are too helter-skelter for that so Rolly always took care of small details like orderly storage. We didn't count on that senior citizen factor called pag-uulyanin.
It has just occurred to me that those trimmings are several years older than buttony Kai. It has become a mealtime tradition, even if it's just breakfast and lunch, to turn on the lights and let Kai enjoy the "show" after she is done downing, or refusing, her food.
Looking at the pictures of the tree I took in the daytime with the twinkle lights on, I noticed that I seemed partial to angel figurines--you can never have too many angels, in a manner of speaking. The stars we put atop the tree are also growing in number. In time we will tell what the star means to our grandchild.
Well, when Kai/Butones reaches half my age--that should be 27 and a half--she'll have plenty of guessing to do like what was Booboo thinking when she bought a pig with a ribbon? Or a Lassie dog in a basket? Or even more absurd, a bear with a Pierrot collar?