Getting my hands on books about Attachment theory brought to mind a couple of babysitters that took care of me and my siblings.
Rosa, who never failed to show up every Christmas morning with a loaf of bread or monay as pasalubong, would sob uncontrollably as she saw us. She’d hug and kiss us until we squirmed.
Rosa took care of my three siblings, I think. My elder sister would ask me from time to time: “Do you remember your babysitter?”
I’d shake my head.
“Her name is Naring.” My sister had shown me her photo before. Naring was one-eyed. I mean she seemed to have cataract in her right eye. In that photo, I was probably three years old, and suddenly I had flashbacks.
“Ah Naring. She dropped me on the ground, head first.” I wonder how often she did that.
Perhaps she was a kind and devoted nanny but that was all I remember. Wait, I clearly recall, too, how her friends would pretend to wring her neck and she’d act as if she were dying.
I’d wail until I was gasping for breath. They seemed to enjoy it. Naring had that satisfied smile as if it reassured her my wailing meant I couldn’t live without her.
I could, though, and I did but who knows how that lame trick screwed me up?
My sister and brothers eventually chose partners that did not seem to remind them of Rosa. I didn’t marry a one-eyed man reminiscent of Naring but maybe I developed a complex for men who always had something up their sleeves – pretending to be sick, pretending to suffer, pretending to be dying….then bouncing back when I cry my heart out.
Naring never visited us on Christmas nor on any special occasion. Rosa didn’t mention her name although she was probably the one who recruited her.
I guess I will never know who this person is, the one who molded me in my formative years, in the same way that I will never know those men who played with my feelings.