My nephew, Robin, was born in Seoul on the 3rd of December 2012, in sub-zero conditions. We're tickled of course, since, except for my mom who's Chinese and Robin's dad, who's Korean, we're all proud, tropical creatures. We've only ever known Cagayan Valley, where the sun's glorious heat is forever trapped between the Cordillera and Sierra Madre mountain ranges. It's like living in a greenhouse all year round. Robin, in contrast, is a winter baby - our family's first and only.
I can't even explain the joy I felt when Robin was born. His mother - my sister, Teri - documented Robin's birth every step of the way. She must have had her smartphone on her side whilst she was in labor. The entire family was on mobile group chat, volleying excited text messages, photos, videos, prayers...
Chris' pic used to be my iPhone wallpaper. Now, it's Robin. I kiss Robin's pic every day.
I'm unlikely to have kids of my own. I'm much too scared that I'll have to raise someone exactly like me. It's not that I turned out horrible. I know I didn't. I just... don't know how my parents managed to put up with all my shit whilst I was growing up. Hell, they still put up with my shit from time to time - up to this day!
"Isn't it wonderful," I texted my mom, "that the child you raised now has a child of her own? Doesn't this validate all the values we treasure as a family?"
Robin may not be my child. But he's every inch my baby.
My winter baby.