I have a new friend. She’s a really cute girl too. Feyma is OK about it, though. Don’t worry, I’m not going the way of Steve Pavlina, though. No, I am not talking about any kind of girlfriend, I’m talking about a young niece of mine named Nicole. Well, really her name is “Princess Nicole” and she will be quick to point that out if you forget! Nicole is 4 years old, but will be turning 5 this week. She spent about 3 weeks with us over the holidays. I really got very close to Nicole over the past few weeks too. I am writing this on Saturday, and she is going home to GenSan today. I will really miss her, and she tells me that she will miss me too.
Of course, I’ve known Nicole for a long time, but we always had a bit of a language barrier before, since she only speaks Bisaya at this age. Now, though, since I can also speak Bisaya, we really hit it off this time. We spent a few weeks as best pals! At first, Nicole was a little hesitant of me, but that cleared up right away when she found out I could also speak her langauge now. Since then, I’ve even had to ask Feyma to take her downstairs every now and then, just so I could get a break! Not too often, though, because I have enjoyed spending time with her.
When Nicole first came to stay with us, she didn’t talk to me too much. After a while she started calling me “Uncle Bob,” and after a week she started calling me “Daddy Bob” which is still what she calls me now. I am a sucker for little kids, especially little girls, and I have to admit that she really has her hooks in me. When she goes home, it will be really sad to see her go. She is always happy, and playful, and I like that.
Nicole had never gotten a Christmas gift in her life, so it was really fun to have her here for Christmas. We didn’t spend a lot of money, but we bought her a Barbie Doll, a little kid’s makeup kit, a new pair of shoes and a few nice clothes. She was absolutely thrilled. She didn’t let that Barbie out of her sight for days and days! She is also very proud to go with Feyma to the mall and wear her new dresses and such!
It was really interesting during Christmas, because she didn’t even know what to do with the Christmas presents! My nephew told her that you would get the present from under the tree and throw it in the garbage, and she actually did that! We all had a good laugh, and then told her that she was supposed to open the present and get her gift from inside before throwing the wrapping into the garbage! When she did that, she was quite shocked at what she found inside! Just watching her having her first Christmas experience really touched my heart and made me feel good.
After Christmas, when New Year’s came along, Nicole’s brothers and parents came up to Davao to spend the holiday with us, and when they go home (which will be later today) they will bring Nicole home with them. A lot of times over the past few weeks, Nicole has told us that she wants to stay here and live with us. It really gives me mixed feelings to hear that. Firstly, I would love nothing more than if she were to stay with us, I really love this little girl so much. However, it makes me feel sad too, for two reasons. Firstly, it makes me sad because I know that her family has limited resources, and that is part of the reason she wants to stay with us. Secondly, it makes me sad because as much as I would love to say “YES” – I just can’t do it. I have already got 4 kids of my own, and I have other nieces and nephews living with me. The family is already big enough, and I can’t really take in every family member that I would want to. I love having kids, it’s the best thing in my life, but my kids are well on the way toward growing up. Been there. Done that. Got the t-shirt. I am at a point in my life where I just could not take in a young child. I can see the horizon of my life, and there are things I want to do when I reach that horizon and don’t have commitments to kids anymore. I want to be close to the kids in the extended family, but that can no longer include accepting them into my immediate family and having them live with me.
Nicole’s birthday is this week, and Feyma and I bought her a new bike for her birthday, something which she has never had before. She is so happy and proud of her new bike. On New Year’s day, I spent a couple of hours just sitting out in the yard watching Nicole riding her new bike! It was a lot of fun, and made me feel good to see the joy on her face.
I’m looking forward to seeing Nicole again soon. I hope that she has a good life back in GenSan!