Andrei and Adeline

In the last couple of years, I have been blessed with a nephew and a niece – Andrei and Adeline. Andrei is the older of the two, having been born eight months earlier than his cousin. He is my brother Adner’s eldest son, while Adeline is my brother Arjyd’s younger daughter. Both are our darlings and the apples of our eyes.

At first I didn’t know what to do with them. Holding newborn Andrei for the first time was scary for me; he’s so tiny and fragile I thought I might break him. It’s the same with Adeline, except by the time she was born I already knew how to hold an infant properly. It’s baffling how human babies start out small, delicate and helpless, doing nothing but sleep, feed, poop and cry, and then grow up to become the most ferocious predators on the planet.

andrei and adeline

Fast forward a year and a half. Both babies are now toddling rugrats, always getting in the way, prone to screaming and tantrums when something doesn’t go their way. Oh, but what charmers they both are. Andrei is a little rogue with an impish smirk. Adeline is a little princess with a ready smile and a twinkle in her chinita eyes.

I have no doubt these two kids will grow up beautiful. Their parents and my parents are seeing to that. Both are showing signs of being headstrong and stubborn, two traits we all have in common in our family. Both seem to have a streak of independence in them as well. As far as I know, Andrei hates being interfered with. Adeline, on the other hand, will only reach out for help in walking and moving about when she wants to be helped.

When they are in the middle of a tantrum, I find myself losing patience and wishing they would soon grow up so it would be easier to make them behave. But when they are laughing and at play, I wish they would stay young and innocent, their laughter crisp, clear and uninhibited.

I don’t know what the future holds for these two children, the next generation of our family. But I pray that they would grow up strong enough to withstand the challenges that are sure to come their way. And I hope they grow up secure in the knowledge that they will never be alone, that they have each other and that we – their parents and grandparents and uncles and aunts – will always be there for them.


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Anna Sibal-Gonzaga is a freelance writer based in the Philippines. She likes reading books and watching movies and TV shows in the sci-fi, fantasy and historical genres. She is also a casual gamer and an all-around nerd.

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