It’s been really, really difficult to feature my nephew here lately. I seldom see him since I visit Batangas once every three weeks. But finally, I have collected enough anecdotes under one theme. All it took was a little trip to Antipolo!
Blood of Christ
When I visit Batangas, one of the tasks that I need to do is to accompany my nephew to church. At first, I was hesitant to do this because I’m agnostic and I don’t believe in religion. However, since no one actually knows about this side of mine, I don’t really have a choice.
His dad is not Catholic so he won’t take him. Other members of the family attend the 6am mass, too early and too cold for a toddler. So the burden is passed on to me every time and I pretend I enjoy the priest’s homily and endure the physical workout that is kneeling and standing every now and then..
It’s interesting to go to church with an inquisitive kid. For one, I am always careful not to mention my beliefs (or the lack thereof). His mother wants him to be raised a faithful Catholic, hence the Catholic school and his obsession to Sto. Nino.
One Sunday morning at the local church:
Nephew: Are priests drunkards?
Yoshke: Well, it’s wine. It’s healthy.
Nephew: I’m not allowed to drink wine.
Yoshke: That’s because you are a kid.
Nephew: When I grow up, I too will drink wine in front of many people.
Yoshke: No, it’s not like that. Weren’t you listening to the priest? The wine symbolizes the blood of Christ.
Nephew: The wine is the blood of Jesus’?
He looked at the statue hanging at the end of the church. It’s an image of Jesus Christ, nailed on the cross, soaked in blood. He stared at it for what was like 10 seconds and turned to me.
Nephew: Why would they want to drink that?
He began scratching his head. And I answered, “I have no idea.”
The Old Man on TV
Last Sunday, my family and I went to the Our Lady of Peace and Good Voyage in Antipolo City, Rizal. The entire time I was with my nephew. My sister and the rest of the family went inside the church and insisted that my nephew be left with me since the place was already crowded and other devotees chose to stay outside anyways. There were TV screens outside the church so the ones outside could see the priest and what was happening inside.
I was shocked when he asked, “Tito, can we switch that to Cartoon Network? The old man is boring.”
Just Can’t Wait
“Tito, is it over yet? Let’s go to Enchanted Kingdom now!”
It had only been 10 minutes but my nephew was already itching to go to Enchanted Kingdom in Laguna, which was next in our itinerary.
Yoshke: Well, we need to finish the mass before we could go.
Nephew: How long is this going to take?
Yoshke: Like usual. Less than an hour.
Nephew: (sad face) Why do we have to go through this?
Yoshke: We just need to.
Yoshke: Because you won’t be allowed to enter Enchanted Kingdom without listening to the priest telling you that you have sinned.
Nephew: Why?!?! (just about to throw tantrums)
Yoshke: You see that lady <points to a figure of Mama Mary in front of the church>. Well, that’s Our Lady of Enchanted Kingdom! If you don’t stay here longer, she’ll know. You won’t like that.
He behaved like an angel.
Peace Be With You
We stayed outside for the rest of the hour. When the priest asked everyone to offer one another a sign of peace, my nephew, like always, looked at everyone around him as they say “peace be with you.” In front of us were a couple who kissed each other on the cheek and said “peace be with you.”
A bit surprised, my nephew looked at me as if asking something.
I said, “well, yeah, that’s how other people offer peace.”
He responded with just an “Aaah.”
Minutes later, while we were walking back to our vehicle, he asked, “People on TV always give peace to one another.”
A little later, after minutes of not talking, he just exclaimed, “Why did Audrey slap Dave when he offered her peace?”
“Maybe he didn’t like the peace Dave was offering. Perhaps he wanted JR’s peace” was my answer.
Before we could reach the van, he asked, “If it’s that easy to give peace, why do people always fight?”
Tough question. Being a diplomat-wannabe, I tried to translate what’s in my head into something that a kid could easily understand but it was hard. So I just yelled…
“HEY LOOK! Cashew nuts! Come on let’s grab some.”