Chapter 44 - The Prayer

Chin Chin was in the baby nursery cuddling the infant in her arms.  She sat down on the bed and watched the baby making a yawn and then motioning his tiny mouth as if he was still being fed.  Lemon-B, who would be turning three soon, playfully charged into the room and jumped unto the bed next to Chin Chin.  She wanted to carry the baby.
“Lemon-B, you have to be careful not to knock into your brother.”  Chin Chin patted the head of the little girl and gently placed the baby unto the child’s lap and arms.  She watched as the child leaned in and kissed her baby brother gently on his head.

“Daddy said Boy-Boy likes to sleep a lot!”  Lemon-B signaled to Chin Chin that she got enough of carrying the baby.  So she took the baby back into her arms.  She chuckled at the child’s cuteness and at how soon she lost interest in her brother.  She crawled to the other side of the bed and grabbed the pillow and hugged it to her chest. “Daddy said Mommy used to sleep here with me when I was a baby.”

“That’s right.” Chin Chin said.  She looked around and noticed not much had changed except for the beddings that were now baby blue instead of pink.  “Are you going to sleep in your new room, without your Mommy? All by yourself?”

“Yup,” Lemon-B jumped up and said with enthusiasm.  “I’m a big, big, BIG girl now!”

Fei poked his head into the baby’s room and asked in a playful tone. “Who is a big, big, big girl now?”

“Me!” Lemon-B cheered at the sight of her father.  The loud shriek scared the baby causing him to cry.  Then both adults gave their attention to the crying baby.

Fei took his son into his arms.  “It’s okay.  Daddy is here.  Big sister is loud, isn’t she?”  The baby stopped crying as soon as Fei started rocking him back and forth in his arms.

When Lemon-B realized it was the first time she made her baby brother cry, she got scared and started to bawl as well.  Chin Chin tried to draw her in to comfort her but the child pushed her away yelling as she ran out the room crying.  “I want my Mommy!”

Soon after, the baby started crying again and Chin Chin could not help but shake her head and said to Fei. “I don’t know how I can ever handle being a mother.”

Fei gave Chin Chin a reassuring pat on her shoulder.  “You will.  Just give yourself time.  You’ll get used to it.”  Then he went out of the room to look for Lemon-B.

Fei was in the den browsing his computer when Lemon-B ran up to him in her pajamas.  “Daddy, it’s your turn to read to us tonight!”

Fei took his daughter unto his lap and showered her with his tickles and kisses at the same time.  While Lemon-B squirmed and giggled, his two-year-old son wobbled himself into the den wearing only his diapers while holding his pants out to Fei. “You got away from Mum Mum?”  That was what Boy-Boy called his mother, it sounded more like the baby word to 'eat' in chinese.

Fei put Lemon-B down and took his son on his lap.  After putting the pants on his son, he picked up Lemon-B with the other arm and brought them to their room.  “Okay, time to put my two munchkins to bed.”

Upon entering their room, he playfully blew bubbles into their chest one at a time and asked, “Whose bed shall we sit on tonight?”

“My bed!” Lemon-B giggled.

“My bed!”  Her brother repeated after her which was what Fei was after.  He knew his son was learning to speak by repeating almost everything his sister said.  And it always brought laughter to his heart.

“Boy-Boy, Daddy can’t sit on your bed.  He’s too big!”

Fei looked at his son’s crib and chuckled.  When he turned back to look at his son, he had a déjà vu.  It was more like seeing a vision before his eyes.  He suddenly remembered what the little toddler looked like, the one he was carrying on that September 11th  morning almost four years ago.  The boy was his son, the one in his arms now.  He also remembered the mother who was limping.  In his heart, he knew right away his life was spared that fateful morning so could father this boy.  Thinking how special both his children were, his eyes became misty and his heart was full of gratitude for them.

Lemon-B tugged at his shirt and brought his thoughts back to the present.  He sat down on his daughter’s bed and then placed his son on one of his laps.  “Okay, should we pray first or read first?”

“Pray first,” Boy-Boy repeated after Fei without realizing what he was saying.  Fei smiled and gave him a kiss.

“Read first!”  Lemon-B knew what she wanted.  Then she changed her mind.  “No, I want to pray first.  I want to sing Mommy’s favorite prayer song first.”

Fei watched her daughter pressed the Karaoke machine and then brought the two microphones over as the music started.  Lemon-B loved to sing this song since she learned it a year ago.  Even before her speech became fluent, she was able to sing The Prayer as a duet with her father.  At first Fei struggled with the Latin lyrics, but after a year, he could recite the entire song, just like his daughter.

After they sang, Lemon-B settled herself on her father’s free lap and handed him the book she wanted him to read.  Fei looked at the title of the book.  The memory of Kwan making this book just before their daughter was born was still fresh in his mind.  It was Lemon-B’s favorite book.  She would not let him read any other book whenever he was home to put them to bed.

“Okay, ready?” Fei asked his children to which they both responded “Ready!” So Fei started reading How I Met Your Mother.

Lemon-B turned the page for her father to start reading as she looked at the pictures of her mother and father taken about 9 years ago.  “It was a beautiful day when Daddy went to the gym …..”

Fei knew that every time he came to the end of the book, his two darlings would start to doze off.  He saw them fighting to keep their eyes open, not willing for the day to end.  Then he smiled and got up and carefully put each of them into their own bed.  After kissing them, he turned out the main light and left their room.

Stepping into the hallway, he saw the lights were still on downstairs in the kitchen and wondered what his wife was up to.  He entered the kitchen and found Chin Chin preparing some baby food and putting them into the travel bag.

“You’re still not done getting things ready?”  Fei asked.  “Better get to bed because we have an early start tomorrow!”

“I'm almost done.”  Chin Chin held up a packet of Baby Mum-Mum and smiled. “We won’t last the trip without his favorite snacks.  You go ahead and rest first.  I’ll turn off the lights.”

Fei was relaxing with a magazine in the living room on a fine Saturday afternoon when Lemon-B came up to him and stood next to his chair and pulled on the sleeves of his sweater.

“Yes B?  What is it?”

“Boy-Boy got poo poo all over the bathroom floor!”

That got Fei’s attention.  His eyes went round and wide.  Just the image of her daughter’s description was enough to send him back to his den to work.  Just then he saw from the window that Bui Yee and Mr. Mo were getting out of the car.  Just before making his escape, he whispered to his daughter.  “Go tell Poh Poh and Gong Gong.  Daddy has to work now.”

An hour later, when he heard his son was out of the washroom and playing in the living room, Fei picked up his magazine again and relaxed in the armchair in his den.  However, not long after he started reading, Lemon-B charged up to him and climbed on to his lap.

When her father continued to ignore her, she grabbed his magazine and pulled it down so she could see his face glaring sternly at her.  Did she care?  No, she returned a playful smirk to him.

“Did Poh Poh and Gong Gong buy you toys again?”  Fei wondered what could put such a big grin on her face.

She shook her head with a big smile.

“Why are you so happy? What did you do now?”  Fei attempted an interrogation with his furrowed brow.

It didn’t scare her a bit.  “Mommy said we are going to have a doggy!”

“No, you tell Mommy we already have two doggies and two monkeys at home!”  Fei squeezed his daughter’s cheeks before carrying her off his lap so he could continue to read.  “Daddy will go crazy looking after a real dog!”
Lemon-B left the den to deliver the message.  A few minutes later, she came charging back and once again climbed unto her father’s laps.  This time her brother followed and also fought his way up his father’s laps. 

“Mommy said the doggy will be born in September!”  Lemon-B delivered the message.  “When is September, Daddy?”

“September! Doggy?” Boy-Boy imitated his sister.

“Go find Daddy a calendar and I’ll show you September.”  Fei thought that mission would free up at least another 5 minutes before the next intrusion.  By then, he would have finished the article he was reading.  But when his two munchkins ran away in search of the calendar, he was suddenly hit by the hammer again.  And no, it wasn’t because his son called him a doggy.

The Prayer by Rhema Marvanne and Terry White