Lance Michael

I do not know what my brother was thinking when he named his firstborn Lance Michael but I thought it was a combative name ever bestowed on a baby boy.  Why, I only recall uttering “lance” in prayers and that goes something like “pierced with a lance.”  And Michael, of course, he is the prince of the archangels!  He drove evil away from the purest heavens. And he did it with a lance.

And  my nephew was so named.  My mother sometimes call him Lancelot.  But my brother just call him Lance.

I  met Lance two times.  First when he was a toddler discovering walking cum running.  His mother brought him from California and we had a chance to play with him for an hour.   I ran after him and he ran away from me.  He held  forks with puto in each hand.  I was afraid he might trip and hurt himself with the forks.  But he was sleek and evaded me all throughout.  We ran around the sala in circles and I didn’t catch up.  All the time I was yacking “Lance, be careful!”  But after half an hour, he suddenly stopped and looked at me.  He gave me the forks with puto.  I was so surprised and said “Why, thank you!”  And then he looked beside me, took a feeding bottle from the nursemaid, slouched on the waiting couch and drank his milk.  What could I say but “Oh Lance!”

The second time I saw Lance was in ’04 when he came for a brief vacation with his brother Louie.  This time, he was a young boy full of energy.  He played with his cousin Adam without inhibition. He dove to the floor to hide from him.  He enjoyed pizza and malls.  And he was an ace in computer games, finished one in a few hours while muttering the entire script of the Hunchback we were watching.  My first lesson on multi-tasking, huh!

Lance was a happy child.  He laughed when I showed him the naked “Oblation” posted at the entrance of the university.  I told him it was his dad’s school and he marveled at the thought.  He would have enjoyed our walk in the lagoon had I not made the mistake of stopping the taho vendor from pouring in more taho in cups.  Louie, I think, was counting, and the tantrum burst when I said enough.  Louie pinched me many times and Lance turned into a concerned elder brother taking care of Louie.

Lance prodded me to drive faster because his mother drove fast.  I showed him the unruly Filipino pedestrians jaywalking all over the streets.  And he was shocked.  I also showed him the tree in the middle of the street.  And his eyes widened.  So he learned about the Philippines!  He asked me how to close the window of the L300 and I told him he had to manually roll it up.  He smiled, quietly admonishing himself for not figuring out.  Well, had I grown up with push buttons, I definitely would not have known.  So I said “Sorry Lance, this is the Philippines.”  He never commented.  He just smiled.

Lance is a binatilyo now, so his maternal grandmother said.  She was here for Christmas.  I talked to her in her home in Quezon City.  And he is the best brother in the world, she said.  When I told my mother about that on the phone, my mom related how Lance would slice the meat before eating so Louie would not choke.  And he would usher his brother to the bathroom for toilet needs.  And how he would abandon everything he is doing just to see that Louie is all right.

What is a brother?  The answer is Lance Michael.  His name spells it all.  He is the overseer and the protector of his brother, no matter what.   God bless him for that.

And so I say my special prayers for our Lance.  So young and so dutiful.  So caring and so loving.  No doubt that is why he is called Michael, our prince!

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