Be good to yourself. People will only treat you as well as you treat yourself. ~ M. V. Hansen

Monday, April 9, 2012

Baby Jacob - My Quasi-Orphaned Nephew

Caring for a baby isn't easy, but earning a baby's love makes it all worthwhile.

He used to be just Yemuel, an angel's name, when I first saw him some time October or November of last year. He has cute round eyes and a smile that won me over. He did the same with the rest of my family, especially my father who is doubly happy for having a male grandchild. 

Yemuel's dad happens to be my cousin John who has no intention of marrying Rose, the woman who gave him his firstborn. He's one of the men who likes to plant their seeds anywhere just for the heck of it; many think women are merely sex objects and don't care about the consequences of their insensitivity. On the other hand, Rose is one of the young girls who isn't ready to be a mom yet, but then the unexpected happened. John's role, at this time, is to provide Yemuel's material needs, primarily his diapers, vitamins, and milk.

Anyway, it took seven months for Yemuel's parents to register his birth. My mom and a nearby midwife helped facilitate the process. John sold his motorcycle to pay for the hospital expenses incurred during his birth. At that time, Rose worked as a canteen assistant; her boss was John's friend. She and John said they were intoxicated when Yemuel was made. And because he wasn't really serious with her, John didn't tell anything about his impending fatherhood. His having a baby then surprised us.

When my dad saw Yemuel, he wanted a different name for him - "Jay". It doesn't jive with Yemuel so I suggested to add Jacob - a Biblical name. His parents seemed okay with it, for they didn't delete it when my mom wrote that name on their baby's birth registration form.

A recent drama - A memorable Lenten season 

As of this time, Rose has not returned yet after being told to leave by my dad. John's dad, my uncle, told negative stories about her, most of which involved the lies she said about her job and the people she hangs out with. Consequently, my dad's initial view of Rose was negative as well. My female cousins (John's sisters) and my family as well got upset with her when she would tell us she'd just buy diapers but she'd come home after eight hours or so. Obviously, the diaper served as her way of "escaping" her responsibility to look after her son - even for just a day, for she was working somewhere else. 

I won't go into further details, but the day after she left, my dad realized his mistake. I was able to contact Rose and they talked, with my dad asking her to come back. She said "Yes", but we haven't seen her yet. I tried to call her again, but it's obvious she didn't want to talk and it seems she doesn't want to live with us to take care of Jacob full-time. 

I can only speculate about the reason why my uncle would tell my dad all negative stories about Rose. The only positive thing he said about her was that she cleaned his house - something that his own daughters failed to do. What is clear to me is that he thinks I'm in favor of Rose and that I believe her lies. 

Unfortunately, what is not clear to my uncle is that I do know Rose lies a lot - but is there a way to change the fact that she's Jacob's mom? Rose's family lives in a far away province. She ran away from home, for reasons that she lied about, I suppose. It's pretty obvious that she doesn't want to go back yet and that she savors the freedom of being independent from them. 

I've stopped contacting Rose. In my last text message to her, I expressed my frustration, for I - together with my daughter - helped her carry her huge bag to the jeepney terminal. On behalf of my relatives who have hurt her, I apologized for the cruel treatment. I put myself in her shoes and I don't want to be treated the same way. My dad had my uncle bring Jacob back to his place (my uncle's) after being told of another negative story. I expressed my disgust over what happened as we have no right to do so. All these drama happened on Holy Monday. Dad talked to Rose around midnight of Holy Wednesday. It is past Easter Sunday as I write this.

The almost orphaned Jacob
If Rose wants to see her son, she's free to visit; otherwise, my family will take good care of Jacob. As for my dad, he said that until Rose returns, he'd feel responsible or still guilty about what happened. I told him, it's already enough that he realized his mistake, told Rose about it, and asked her to come back. The ball is in Rose's court now. 

It appears to me that if Rose really wants to see and to take care of her son, she would have already returned and reconciled with my dad. My parents no longer have the kind of strength they used to have when they were looking after my own child. Certainly, if Rose were around, we wouldn't worry much about who will look after Jacob. At 20, Rose only thinks more about herself in the guise of saying she loves John and her son. She does need guidance, but my mom and I have no power to influence what goes on in her mind or what she wants to happen to her life. 

I've already advised Rose to go back to her province even if that meant bringing Jacob with her. It will be very painful for us to see Jacob go, but if that's what Rose wants, there's nothing we can do about it. I'm thinking of talking to a social worker about his situation should she never return and have opted to abandon him instead.  

Jacob has two quasi-moms in the house at the moment. My mom and I take turns to bathe and feed him. Most of the time, I put him to sleep at night. My daughter looks after him when I need some shuteye and to also prepare his milk. It's not easy to take care of a baby, but there's a feeling of happiness each time he smiles at us and laughs at our silly faces and whenever we tickle him. He's an angel sent unexpectedly. I pray that we'll be able to take good care of him well and that his biological parents will realize that he is worth more than the freedom that they continue to enjoy.


Finally, Rose came by to visit Jacob. My dad felt relieved that they were able to talk. I was also able to ask Rose if my analysis of her behavior as a parent is right. She smiled and nodded, confirming that she really doesn't want to look after her son. He's not her sole responsibility; he's my cousin's too. 

Undoubtedly, Jacob is a product of an unwanted, unplanned pregnancy. I pain for him. Hopefully, I and the rest of my family will be able to fill the void that his parents created for him.

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