As my family welcomed 2017, we gathered in Tita Babie's house. My cousin and nephews organised board games (we were the big kids). One of the games we played was called Rhino Hero, in which we were tasked to create a tower made of cardboards. It's a game that required steady hands, a clear mind, and a good sense of humour. We were in Joycelyn's room, playing it when we realised three things. The game requires quite a bit of space. It definitely requires the absence of the giant dog who could knock over the tower with a swipe of its tail. That's Beethoven, Joycelyn's pit bull. It's also important to play the game without a pre-schooler who kept bugging us to play with him... nobody could blame him though; he was the only pre-schooler in the house and the closest he had to playmates was us. It's my first time to meet this kid, Travis. He's the elder child of Tita Babie's next-door neighbour (the other is an infant).
After some time, we all got tired of Rhino Hero so we moved to the living room and started playing Monickers. It's a game in which teammates describe famous people and try to guess as many as possible. Beethoven and Travis followed us to the living room, of course. But this time, Beethoven was more interested in sleeping so he didn't bother us so much; Travis was still bugging us to play with him. So, I got him as a "teammate"... his assignment in the team was to keep quite while Patrick (my real teammate) and I were taking our turn. I did promise him that I would play with him after Monickers... I felt sad that he felt so out of place in this New Year's family gathering.
Once we finished playing Monickers, Patrick and Joycelyn introduced me to Game Pigeon, an iPhone app that allows one to play various games (like billiards, Scrabble, and word hunt) with other iPhone users through iMessage. It was an interesting game... but since I did promise Travis that we'd play, I let him take over my phone to play billiards with Patrick (so technically, he was playing and I was watching). That's when Ate Gigi, Mommy, and Tita Babie saw me teaching Travis how to play and him showing me his turns.
They asked Travis, "Do you know who you're playing with?"
Travis, without even looking up from my phone, said nonchalantly, "Yes, I know her."
"Who is she then?", they asked, surprised by the answer because they all know that we've never met before.
"She's Ninang," Travis said matter-of-factly. We did not expect that answer and burst out laughing. Good job, kid. You'll receive a gift next Christmas.
And that's how I became an insta-ninang. January 1st, 2017.