For unto us another son is born, our second son —JAMES which means “My GIFT” in Hebrew.
That was thirty-two years ago today, March 11, 2020.
Like his mom, he’s born in the Year of the Dragon.
During my pregnancy back in the old house of my parents-in-law, I would literally play music the whole day long thru our new cassette player then. Music was my constant company while hubby was away for work. My late mom would tell me again and again that my son has the makings of a great musician.
Life in the 80’s though was a bit of a challenge in our marriage as technology was barely at hand and no househelp was around. Doing household chores was a daily routine. On a positive note, it may have a bearing on what he has become in terms of work ethic.
My love for fish & veggies during my pregnancy is also ingrained in his system up until now.
I remember well the hours before his birth. My dear ob-gyne & late Ninang — Dra. Coring Bacacao really waited on another bed at the delivery room for more than two hours for my full dilation. She was forced to prick my bag of water for my delivery as James didn’t come out as expected. It was almost beyond I can bear but all the pain was worth it after seeing him in perfect health.
Upon his birth, he expressed a notable voice (with his first cries) and his “gifted” forehead was noticeable. When my late mom saw him for the first time, she exclaimed, “Bright gyud ni nga bata!” (He must be a brilliant boy!)
My late dad would call him the “little President Fidel Ramos!”
At a young age, James already showed intelligence in diverse ways. He was more than excited to go to school long before we thought of it. His excitement in school was not complete though without me. I had no other choice (despite my discomfort with a bulging tummy of my 3rd pregnancy), but to stay outside his classroom for a week — to help him combat his separation anxiety & his transition as a young learner, so eager to learn every inch of the way.
When asked one day, who amongst the four of them is my favorite, he readily answered “the four of us are mom’s favorites and we are greatly loved by her too!”
He was his older brother’s little buddy and more often than not, mimic his kuya, especially the manipulative crying every time I go out for a date with their dad.
Discipline along with his brothers would come thru firm whacks the hind with a little rod, stick or belt. Their dad would explain things — the reason for such disciplinary measure and each would receive a tight loving hug after discipline time.
Academically, he was a consistent honor student in his younger years.
He learned to play the guitar thru his dad when he was in Grade 5.
In his HS years, he fortunately became part of the first SPA (Special Program for the Arts) @ DCHS-Davao City High School of which, their first Rondalla Group was the only Mindanao representative during the FIRST International Rondalla Festival held in Albay. He had unforgettable memoirs of that chapter with his extra-curricular activities. The souvenirs he gave me from Albay are still kept in my office.
Another beautiful memory of James is still well embedded in my mind when, during their Rondalla Recital, my hubby was about to leave after their group performance. I stopped him when I saw James carrying a keyboard.
We lingered a little & to our surprise as the curtain was rolled up for the next performers, right at the center of a Ladies’ Band was James — on the keyboard. I rubbed my eyes if it was only a dream. But there he was, playing confidently the keyboard.
We were a bit startled as we never knew of any time by which he learned to play the huge piano owned by his great grandmother In the old house we used to live in. The said piano, during his childhood, was already transported to Lugait, Misamis Oriental.
Little did we know that his Rondalla instructor taught him how to play the keyboard inch by inch as he saw our son’s interest and potential.
Whenever I meet James’ SPA adviser — Mm. Glecy, she would happily tell me some stuff about him — always upholding him with high praise and regard for his academic and character stability.
In college, it was another surprise when we learned that he had passed the auditions for the University Chorale thus, became a member and a scholar thereafter ‘til he finished college.
James’ scholarship was a great help especially during the multiple crises our family went thru those years.
His love for books & fascinating movies continues to improve him. Driving to & from his workplace are times of enriching his core thru audio books and life-giving talks.
Still fresh in my memoir was that time when the university chorale conductor himself considered James to take his place should the former leave his post. That was a serious talk between me & Sir Peter during our Graduate School days.
He did well also in the field of film making. His two Films at different times in his university life bagged major and minor awards during the university Film Fests.
One of his films also won in a Mindanao-wide competition, of which (I just remember in the course of writing this blog) his Plaque in a Dream Catcher still hangs at the door of our house.
His innovative and creative skills in the world of technology made him join and win a number of online design competitions. One of his designs has been used by Trust Home Depot in Davao.
Eventually, he finished MassCom with sublime colors & heeded the invitation of Tay Ernie to join Southpoint School family.
Like me, his first assignment was in Grade 3 then he moved to teach in the HS department. He then became the school’s IT admin.
As part of his professional development, he enrolled in a short-term course that enhanced his skills.
It was years ago since he’s been given the chance to work outside the Philippines thru my dear friend and his mom-in-law, Melanie. Special thanks to you Mel for co-parenting with me in leading James to where he is now.
As a son, he knew my humble gift in writing. He came up with a proposal almost five years ago to open my personal website — having him as my website admin.
Since then, my little writing prowess has been put to use, writing on insights and experiences in the Literary World, like sowing seeds of truth here and there. It’s heart-warming as my blogs are read by friends & loved ones in the local, national and international arena.
I know that one day I shall be compiling all my blogs in a book and your contribution anak is continually appreciated.
You can check what he’s up to at jamesbacarro.com
My 56th birthday gift of an Apple iPad with a keypad from him has been making my blogging more convenient, smooth & fun with all its features. As he continually upgrades himself, so do I…thru him.
Thanks to you for believing in me.
Moreover, James’ love life is historically & amazingly beautiful with his childhood neighbor and playmate —Hannah. We used to live next house to each other for three times.
As time passed, we separated ways for many reasons.
Their coming together was rekindled at our humble abode as our two families were reunited after more than a decade of not hearing from each other.
They eventually became colleagues at work. It was then & there that the spark of love encompassed them and continued for years abroad. Their relationship has proven that love waits, love plans and prepares and love saves.
What’s more than fascinating is the fact that both were invited to join SPS family on different times by Tay Ernie.
His proposal to Hannah was even featured on ABS-CBN in February 2017 as part of their Love Month celebration on TV.
Their dream wedding in year 2016 officiated by no less than Sir Ernesto C. Abella, our great spiritual father & former spokesperson of PRRD, has become an inspiration to many lovers, relatives and friends.
Their union has been blessed with the first Princess in the family.
We had a remarkable time with them and the family of Hannah in Singapore after their wedding. That gift they gave us as parents was our first and last international trip (for me and hubby, my 4th visit though in SG).
It was in year 2018 that I had the chance to be with them especially with our dear princess in UAE. It was supposed to be a 3-month visit but was shortened due to the physical condition of hubby then.
James may be the farthest amongst our four sons but his love had always been there for his dad thru all his support in many aspects.
For sure it was never easy on his part to hear of his dad’s passing on while away, just days before their coming home. Would have been hubby’s bliss, to have met for the first time, the first princess in the family as he was joyfully anticipating for it.
Their coming home may seem late but we knew that in His sovereignty, nothing happens by chance, there are no random things in life. The universe has orchestrated every single thing. Our Creator and Sustainer of Life has done and continues to do BEAUTIFUL & PERFECT things in His own great time.
Four months after the passing on of hubby last 2018, they invited me to join them in their Japan family trip. That was a great relief & solace in the time of our grief. Besides, going to Japan has been part of my Intention board.
This year, my uniquely-remarkable 56th birthday celebration was made possible by Hannah & James @ Ras Al Khaimah, UAE. It was beyond my expectations.
This second visit to UAE, (more than 3-months long vacation) also gave birth to another vacation, visa exit to Armenia — amazing & beautiful memories with them and my first snowfall experience! (Read another blog on Beyond-beautiful Armenia…)
My endless thanks to you Jahmazing!
As a mom, I have seen his sincere dedication and commitment to everything he works on.
His audacity to travel alone for work in another country was remarkable as he braved himself before the intimidating Immigration Officer.
As to his work, it is my utmost joy and thanksgiving to know that James’ boss already prepared a position for him beyond where he is now. He had to forego it though and wait on how time will continually unfold for him and his family, having other considerations.
His dad may not be physically around but am seeing him being lived out by James and his brothers in the realms of great love and concern for family, sense of discipline, responsibility and constant curiosity about life.
To our dear Hannah, thanks and appreciation to you for being a wife of noble character to James and a doting mom to the first princess in our family.
To Roger & Melanie, thanks for being James’ second parents and Micah, another younger brother.
This blog comes with sincere gratitude for all the love, honor and respect you have given me continually…let me HONOR YOU THIS WAY anak.
Along with my three other GIFTS — your brothers: Jason, Josiah & Joseph, let me greet you a happy, healthy & wealthy BIRTHDAY! I love you so much <3
May you continue to soar higher & wider even on unchartered grounds…
with faith transcending impossibilities and barriers yet with feet humbly planted on the ground.
Be FEARLESS TO ENTER INTO…THE UNKNOWN!
“You shall go out with joy & be led forth in Peace
The mountains & the hills shall break forth before you
There’ll be shouts of joy & all the trees of the fields
Will clap will clap their hands”