1:49 PM Friday, September 24, 2004

Ela is my favorite niece. She's turning eight this December. She's the daughter outside of wedlock of my cousin Arnel. My cousin has three other kids (Kyle, Bryant and Kulay) now with his wife.

I just heard that Ela's Mom is now 4-months pregnant and that she's getting married this October. They both don't have jobs and Ela's Mom is staying with the guy's family.

What breaks my heart?

Ela was left with her maternal lola, and her Mom has asked my cousins to visit her more so she won't feel that she's got no family left.

And of course, I hate her mother right now, even if I understand how shameful it must be to bring along her child from someone else into the house of her in-law.

But isn't there more cause for shame to leave your child behind? A child whose father has always asked to raise her?

I've cried over and over my niece's plight... and I can't bear to witness the fact that she's now being put aside because her parents have to tend to their other families. I hate them for not planning ahead for this, for causing her pain, and for not being strong enough to stand up for her.

Like what I said, my cousin is willing to raise her. His wife is also alright with the idea, and has always been kind to Ela. My other cousin's wife (who lives next door to them) is also willing to raise her, because her husband is Ela's ninong anyway. But we all know Ela won't allow it. Her visits there became fewer and farther between after Bonita was born, because my Tita finally has another granddaughter. And it became least frequent still after Kulay was born, because her dad finally has another daughter. How can we really convince her that she belongs there? How can we make her feel that she's as equally loved?

I hate to see her watchful, expressive eyes sometimes... when I see her observing her dad give Kulay tummy kisses. I'm sure, Kulay's giggles, though music to our ears, always drives a shaft of pain thru her heart... because she knows, her father never did that to her. Arnel, though willing to raise her, has never even held that child. It was Arnel's brother who took care of her when she was a baby, or whenever she'd visit us.

But she'd never cry. I know she gets hurt but she'd never cry. I know visits there emotionally exhaust her, but she'd never cry.

But I would, every birthday she has where her father won't show up. And every time she's sick. And every time I have to remind her father to send her money. And every time she refuses to spend Christmas with us. And every time I see her father look with loving eyes at Kulay. And now, everytime I remember that her Mom has also betrayed her.

And then I get to read this and I want to cry again...


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