YOU are now ten years old and, for sure, expect your old man to blurt out the typical “where did all those years go” kind of a line because it does feel that way. Having seen you grow from infancy to a young grade schooler now seems like a blur indeed. But that mix of joy and wonder as I held you for the first time – scarcely hours after you were brought by your mama into this world – is still as vivid as the actual moment itself. I remember saying “it does not get any better than this,” and surely life has been a lot better with you in our lives; except life itself is not perfect.
Indeed, no person goes through life and claims to live it under perfect circumstances. We continue to journey through a world that is far from perfect, and all we can do is strive to make things better every day. Today, the worst of the curve balls thrown at us is of course this pandemic. Making things better is truly a challenge with record-shattering case positivity rate almost every day, and we can only get a lame apology from the President saying he did the best he could under the circumstances, and if his best was not good enough, then he is sorry.
I have heard that song before, and by that I literally mean a song by a certain James Ingram, but you do not really know what I am talking about. Maybe I will try to explain this later if you even care to know what I am keeping on about. It just frustrates me to think that those words from no less than the President means nothing to assuage the big letdown that you must be feeling at not being able to invite friends over on your birthday – like you used to.
But I do appreciate your capability to have a heart and mind big enough to understand that we cannot hold the whopping blowout that we have hoped for in this considered milestone year of yours. For quite some time, we have always imagined how it would be like – this transitioning of yours to the double-digit age. We just did not expect it to be held hostage in these perilous times.
Last year was a foreboding, of course. You had your 9th birthday under quarantine. If it was indicative of what we might expect on your 10th birthday, the President did say – two months before your 9th birthday – that by December of 2020 “tapos lahat ito” and that “we would be back to normal.”
We are now in the middle of September 2021, and we are being dealt with the worst of the pandemic by far. Now the President no longer talks about getting back to normal. He is instead saying, we should stop thinking about an end to the pandemic, rather we should learn to live with it.
I wish I could tell you that the President is not a habitual liar because Presidents are not supposed to lie. I wish I could tell you that when he made these declarations, he made them based on information that he knew at that time. If he is not lying, then he clearly does not know what to do with the information being provided as it continues to be updated. There is no semblance of a plan, or a strategy, or that one attribute of a President that you have learned in your civics class: leadership.
Telling us to live with the pandemic is but a sorry excuse for his failure to keep this crisis under control. It is all he could do to state the obvious. “Maraming patay, maraming tinamaan ng COVID.” If vaccines and medicines give us hope that this Covid-19 problem could be brought to heel, the outlook so far is that the occurrence of infections far outpaces vaccinations and therapeutics. Did they ever give us the real picture as to why vaccination rates are few and far between? Is it a supply problem (logjam or the lack of it from the sources)? Logistics (how to move them especially to far-flung areas)? Or manpower (the lack of medical professionals to administer the shots)?
So, while the President and his people are going about in all directions like headless chickens, I am obliged to talk to you about duty. Because you are not yet eligible to have the Covid-19 vaccine, it is your duty to keep yourself safe by postponing that 10th birthday blowout because we can always have it another day. By not having a bash, you are also keeping your friends safe in the hope that you will see them again at some future time.
There is nothing I want more than to see you in your school uniform once again and to pick you up after school, instead of your learning modules every grading period. This solo pajama party has been going on for so long that I think you will agree, it is getting a bit ridiculous. But I guess our tailgate picnics seem to work for now. Let’s hope it won’t rain this weekend.