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How many Nitas are out there...?

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His name is Calvin. He's three and a half years old, has an Indonesian Mom, an American Dad and one little baby brother. This is the boy who would clutter the entire house with his three hundred some odd little Hot Wheelers, jump on newly polished Chesterfield leather furniture and drag our poor Golder Retriever by his tail around the backyard. The wrestling practices with Dad have proven to be very useful to knock off some bullies at school regardless of their size.

There are days when he made us laugh out loud with his silly conclusions like "Splendid means you are very good at climbing" or " Hawaii is where the Eskimo people live," or running around the house shouting "My underwear is in the bunch!" But this is also the boy who never forgets to give me a minimum of four hugs a day, and who makes me shed tears every time I cry and sing "You are my sunshine" on Mother's Day.

I can't recall how many "I love yous" have been spoken from his tiny lips. Yes, he is the one who has changed my life forever with the spring in his step and the gleam in his eyes.

His name is Connor. He's four months old. Born ten weeks earlier than his actual due date, he made realize that miracles do exist. From the moment I saw his frail 2 lbs. 15 oz. body, deep in my heart somehow I knew that he was my little champion. Never once he gave up.

When everything seemed to be wrong and those hospital visits turned into bedside vigils, the look on his face was always saying, "I'm alright, mom. I will make it, you see."

He was right. He made it and he made it with the bang. Today he's a healthy 13 lbs. baby, as plump and stout as he can be. Soon he will join forces with his brother to plot how to blow off our roof.

They are my sons, whom we have loved from the second they came to the world.

Her name is Nita. I met her a couple of years ago at my husband's company Halloween party. My husband's friend Jack brought her there as his this-week-only girlfriend. Although I thought she was no more than 20 years old, she looked worn out. I tried to find a slight sign of youthful vitality in her, but didn't succeed.

We had a conversation, and she told me, "I earn my living by giving my services to bule. I don't care how old they are, I don't even give a s*** who they are, as long as they bring me a little fortune for me to afford nice things for myself. I got knocked up once, he's now 8 months old living with my parents in the kampung."

"Are you thinking someday to get him back?"

"Hell no! I didn't want to have a child to start with anyway. I kept the baby because my friends told me he will look good since he's of mixed blood. How foolish I was to listen to them."

I suddenly shivered, for I couldn't understand how a mother could deny her own child. I always thought that mothers fell in love with their children the first time they lay their eyes on them, but I was wrong. I was wrong to assume that to love is not from the brain, but it comes from the heart.

I was wondering how many Nitas are out there ....

His name is Mark, a very successful businessman in his early fifties. He lives in Jakarta even though his wife of 20 years and their 2 teenagers are living in the States, for his wife wouldn't give up her career there as a lawyer. Mark met a bargirl at Tanamur about 3 months ago and is thinking about slipping a ring on her finger sometime soon, leaving his family behind. When I asked him why, he said, "I'm a guy, although my family always comes to visit me every 6 months, I need more than just a plutonic relationship."

"But what about your children?"

"They are big enough to take care of themselves. I still can afford to pay for child support and alimony, and my wife is making good money. I'm sure they can manage it."

At that moment I only could stare at him, desperately wanting to tell him to dig up some good memories. To look back to the time when his children were still needing him more than anything, not remembering them as teenagers with their shrugged shoulders, rolling eyes and deep sighs. To recall the joy of watching them grow, and to realize that we don't inherit our world from our parents, we only borrow it from our children.

I was wondering how many Marks are out there ...

I'm far from being done . But if there is one wish on my mind, it's for God to make me a better mom and to enjoy it as long as I can.

© Priscilla McDonald
Seattle, August 2002

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