Love is not your savior. Love is the luxury after you save yourself. I couldn’t remember where I read that quote but I couldn’t agree more. Love had always been treated like a fairy dust that would magically make everything okay but it’s usually not like that. You have to save yourself to be able to love fully. You have to be your knight in shining armor because there’s not a person in this world who could have control over your life other than yourself. Gold needs to be refined in the fire in order to purify it. I think love’s like that. It needed to be purified by fire in order to give pure love.
I had found and given the purest form of love through my children. Callum left behind four beautiful sons with me. It was a surprise when I found out I was pregnant with not only one or two boys but three. It may have been Callum’s way of keeping his promise to Arthur that they would someday make a band like The Beatles.
Montgomery Francois, Bradley Francois, and Sidney Francois just turned four today. Each of them had different personalities.
Si Monty, the first one who came out of the three, was a bit bossy because he knew siya ang panganay sa kanilang tatlo. He was the one who looked the most like Callum than any of his siblings. From his dark hair, his beautifully dark eyes, to his nose and lips. Monty was the mini version of Callum.
Brad followed after Monty. Siya ang pinaka magaling mang-asar sa tatlo. He had Callum’s playful side. He loved making fun of his siblings and pulling off pranks kaya madalas mag-away ang tatlo. Oh well, boys will always be boys.
Si Sid naman ang bunso sa kanilang tatlo. He was the only one who had my blonde hair and he was the smallest of the three. He kind of comes off as the underdog. He’s a fragile little one and the one who cries the most when Monty and Brad gangs up on him.
Arthur had been nothing short of a great Kuya to them. He was always there to help me throughout my whole pregnancy. My pregnancy was not a walk in the park. I had a lot of complications because it was a multiple pregnancy. Hindi lang dalawa ang nasa tiyan ko kung hindi tatlo. And Arthur would always be there to comfort me and sing me songs. Sabi ng doktor sa akin pagkatapos ko manganak, hindi na ako pwedeng magbuntis ulit. The doctor said if I get pregnant again, I could die from it.
“Daddy!” The triplets eagerly stood up from their seats when they heard the front door open.
I just chuckled quietly and shook my head as I watched the three boys. Arthur sat next to me, eating his dinner while writing his next song.
“Art, mamaya na yan. Kumain ka muna.” I told him.
He took a bite of his hotdog and chewed it. He’d grown into a wonderful young man. At eight years old, he was already making his own songs. He still kept the guitar his Dr. Daddy gave to him. Hindi pa rin natatanggal ang inukit nilang stick figure doon. He had a handful of guitars given to him but his Dr. Daddy’s guitar would always remain his favorite.
“But I need to get it done because we’re going to sing it at the party later.” Sagot niya.
“Do it after your finish with your breakfast.” Sabi ko sa kanya.
“Okay…” He said and lifted his spoon and fork up.
Hindi ko napigilan ang sarili kong panggigilan siya. I pulled him to me and inhaled in his hair. He still smelled like a baby.
“Mom…” He laughed a playfully laughed.
“You’ll always be my first baby! Huwag ka munang lalaki, please!” Sabi ko sa kanya habang pinauulanan ko siya ng halik.
“I’m not a baby anymore.” He chuckled.
“Yes, you still are! You are my first baby! Kahit gaano ka katanda, baby ka pa rin ni Mommy.” I told him.
“I remember being like that with Miggy.” Mama sighed and let out a nostalgic smile. “Kids grow up so fast. Akalain mo, dati baby pa ang triplets, ngayon ang lalaki at ang kukulit na nila.”
“I know, Ma. I wish they could stay a baby forever.” I whined.
“Nako, edi natulad yan kay Ronnie. Ang laki-laki na baby pa rin mag-isip.” Dad suddenly walked into the dining room. Nakasampa na naman ang tatlo sa kanya. Nakalambitin si Monty at Brad sa mga bisig niya habang si Sid ay nakasakay sa balikat niya.
“Daaad.” Ronnie frowned.
“You boys, get down from Dad. Dad’s not getting any younger. Mamaya mabali pa ang buto ni Dad sa likod dahil sa inyo.” I told my kids.
“Are you kidding me, Drey?” Dad turned his head to me, furrowing his brows deeply. “I still go to the gym and I still lift. Hindi pa ako matanda.”
“Right. And pigs can fly.” Ronnie snorted.
“Kayo talaga, pinagtutulungan niyo na naman ang asawa ko.” Mama got up from her seat and walked up to Dad. She wrapped her arms around him and kissed him.
“Ewww!” The triplets giggled.
Ronnie and I both laughed at their reaction.
“Kayong tatlo, bumaba na kayo sa Daddy niyo. Tapusin niyo na itong breakfast niyo.” I told them.
Dad put the kids down and they went back to their seats. We didn’t move out from Mama and Dad’s house. Pakiramdam ko mahihirapan ako kapag lumipat ako. I was a single mom and had four boys with me. Apat na makukulit na lalaki. It was always chaotic. Mama and Dad doesn’t want me to move out anyway. The four boys brings life in this house. Nabuhay ulit at nagkasigla ang bahay noong dumating sila. It was like when we were kids. But ten times more messy and noisy. We only had two boys before, Kuya Miggy and Coco. Now there were four. Madalas magulo ang bahay pero masaya.
“Guess what Daddy bought for you three for your birthday!” Dad said to the triplets.
“What?” Halos magkakasabay na tanong ng tatlo.
“Let’s just say it has wheels.” Dad rubbed his chin.
“A car?” Tanong ni Monty.
“A bike?” Si Sid.
“A ferry’s wheel?” Brad asked with a sly smile.
“A ferry’s wheel?” Kumunot ang noo ni Dad. “You think Daddy could take home a ferry’s wheel?”
“Maybe…” Brad grinned cheekily.
“Well, that’s not impossible. Malaki naman ang backyard, pwede tayong magpa-” He was seriously considering it.
“Dad, no. Huwag mo naman gawin amusement park ang bahay natin.” I disagreed.
“Oh, Nick…” Mama shook her head, laughing. “Kahit sa mga apo mo, hindi ka pa rin nagbabago. Ganyan ang Daddy niyo sa inyo noong bata kayo. Lahat ng hilingin niyo, hindi niya kayang hindi-an.”
“I want a ferry’s wheel in the backyard.” Monty said.
“Me too and a rollercoaster.” Sabi naman ni Brad.
“I want a merry go round.” Sabi naman ni Sid.
“Maybe for your Kuya Arthur’s birthday party, magdidisneyland tayo.” Sabi na lang ni Dad. “But we can’t fit all those in the backyard.”
“Kumain na kayo, okay? The party’s going to start later. We have to get ready pa.” I told my boys.
They did as they were told. Hindi pa rin maiiwasan na magkagulo ang tatlo habang kumakain. They fight a lot. Pag nagkapikunan, nagkakasakitan. But in the end, they always make up. They were boys and boys were usually tough to handle.
“Mommy, si Brad kinuha yung bacon ko!” Sumbong ni Sid sa akin.
“Brad, bakit kinuha mo ang bacon ng brother mo?” My eyes narrowed at him and was met with a pair of playful dark eyes.
He smiled, chewing happily at the bacon he got from Sid’s plate. He gulped it down with a glass of orange juice. “Because I want more.”
“That’s not nice. Give it back to him!” Monty demanded.
“He’d have to get it from my tummy.” Brad patted his tummy.
“Mommy, wala na akong bacon!” Lumabi si Sid.
“You’re being mean!” Monty slapped his spoon on Brad’s head.
“Monty, don’t hurt your brother!” I frowned at him before turning my head to Sid. “Here you can have mine.”
“Stop it, you two!” Saway ni Ronnie kay Monty at Brad. The two were already kicking and slapping each other. The smallest thing could easily set off these boys.
“Hey Brad, Monty! Be nice to each other!” Dad got up from his seat and picked up Brad in his arms. Nilipat niya ito sa kabilang upuan, malayo kay Monty. “What did I say about fighting?”
“Tinuktok niya sa head ko yung spoon!” Sumbong ni Brad kay Dad.
“Because you stole Sid’s bacon!” Sabi naman ni Monty.
“You two, gusto niyo bang mag-face the wall?” Galit na sabi ko sa kanila.
The two shook their heads.
“Then say sorry to each other.” I demanded.
The two turned their heads to each other with a pout on their lips that they got from their Dad.
“Sorry.” Mahinang sabi ni Monty.
“I’m sorry, too. And sorry for taking your bacon, Sid.” Sabi naman ni Brad.
“Oh, boys…” Mama shook her head. She understood. It was hard handling boys. Napagdaanan niya na din ito kay Kuya Miggy at Coco.
The party had soon started with balloons and The Little Prince themed decorations. The boys were dressed in their Little Prince costume and they looked handsome as ever. Syempre gwapo din ang Arthur ko. He was really morphing into a younger version of Callum. I think of Callum from time to time but I don’t miss him as much anymore because whenever I do, I just look at my kids.
Arthur was playing with Cookie. The three boys were already munching their cupcakes. I exhaled a satisfied breath as I sipped my orange juice and watched my kids. I could never find a love greater than this.
“Friend, ang laki na nila.” Therese nudged my side.
“I know. Parang kahapon lang nasa ospital pa sila. They were so tiny in their incubators.” I said, reminiscing the time when I gave birth to them. As I already told, my pregnancy was really tough. Akala ko nga mawawala ang isa sa kanila dahil sabi ng doctor, if push comes to shove, we’d have to let go of one of them. But I decided to push through. I decided to keep them all. They were really tiny when I gave birth to them and they had to be incubated but they did turn out okay.
“Wala ka pa din bang love life.” Anais asked as she stood on my other side.
I chuckled. “I have four young men. They are my love life.”
“It’s been years since your husband’s death. Wala ka talagang balak magboyfriend?” Tanong ni Therese.
“I just want to focus on my kids. Ang bilis nilang lumaki. I just want to enjoy them.” Sagot ko.
“Sabagay, kung si Coco din, wag naman sana, mawala. Hindi na ako mag-aasawa. I would just focus on our kids. He’s the greatest love of my life and I can’t imagine a life with another man.” Anais smiled.
“And she loves Dr. Daddy so, so much. Di ba, Mommy?” Suddenly Arthur popped from behind us.
“Of course.” I kissed the top of his head. “Pawis ka na naman. Magpapalit ka na naman ng shirt.”
“Pag nag boyfriend ang Mommy mo, okay lang sa’yo, baby?” Therese asked.
“T!” I turned my head to her, my eyes widening.
“At least, kung sakali, alam mo ang iniisip ng anak mo. Okay lang ba, Art?” She said, being her usual tsimosa journalist self.
“If she wants. Basta di niya kukunin ang Mommy ko.” Arthur wrapped his arms around my waist.
“Hindi naman ako magpapakuha. Kung nasaan ako, nandoon din kayo. We will never be apart. Never. Walang lalaki ang sisira sa atin.” I assured him.
“And you will always love my Dr. Daddy even if you get a new boyfriend?” He asked.
“Always. He’s my husband. I love him so much and I would always love your Dr. Daddy because he gave you and your brothers to me.” Sabi ko sa kanya.
“Can we go to Dr. Daddy after the party?” Asked Sid. Biglang sumulpot sa harap namin ang tatlong kapatid niya.
“Of course. Mamaya pupunta tayo doon.” I told them.
“Yehey! I’m going to bring my water gun. Can we play water gun there?” Brad asked.
“Okay but it’s only because it’s your birthday.” I rolled my eyes.
Hindi ko pinagkait sa kanila ang malaman ang tungkol sa Dr. Daddy nila. Arthur talks about him a lot anyway. My four kids were different and special in their own ways. Pero kung may isang bagay silang napagkakasundan iyon ay ang music. The four loved music so much. They could all play different kinds of instrument but they had their favorites. Arthur still loved playing his guitar. Monty plays the piano. Brad loved playing drums. Sid was more into violin. Arthur’s Band is still called Arthur’s Band and it would never be disbanded. No matter what happens.