Anyway, Angel’s preparation included the old cassette player with Britney Spear’s “Oops! I did it again!” My little Angel followed singing and dancing, again, and again, and again.
But we didn’t mind, she was our baby.
Then she was asked to memorize her introduction, which was “Mabuhay! Ako po si Angel Liza V. dela Cruz! Tatlong taon gulang! Nag-aaral sa Sta. Trinidad Day Care Center!” (Mabuhay! I am Angel Liza V. dela Cruz! Three years old! Studying at Sta. Trinidad Day Care Center!)
This went on everyday until the day of the contest itself. Oh! There were also meetings and practices, together with the organizers and other candidates.
The details of which, I didn’t know, but my wife told me that Angel sometimes got bored, tired, stubborn, or just refused to cooperate. Well, what did they expect from a three year old baby?
Finally, came the big day!
My wife, together with her sister and niece, brought Angel to the contest at five o’clock, which was the call time.
The program was scheduled at six o’clock. I arrived thirty minutes later, together with my two sons. Nothing had started yet.
My baby was beginning to get impatient. My role there was to be sure that Angel kept her poise and would go up the stage. My wife believed I was the only one who could do that because my baby was a papa’s girl and I was the only one Angel was afraid of.
Thirty minutes past six, the program was about to start, and I was having a hard time containing Angel. My baby was candidate number twenty-eight. Good thing, and later would be a bad thing.
The candidates were already lined up backstage, while I still have Angel in my arms. She refused to fall in line, refused to go up the stage and refused to continue with the contest. Instead, she wanted to go home!
I tried to keep my senses, trying my best to reason out with my three-year-old baby. Candidates one to ten were already up the stage, eleven, twelve, . . . I refused to push the panic button. Nineteen, twenty, . . .
Putting on my best daddy’s charm, I asked her “Angel, can you please do this for daddy?” She nodded her head and we hugged each other.
I loved hugging my baby; it was -and still is- the purest and most sincere expression of feelings in this mundane existence.
Twenty-six, twenty-seven, twenty-eight! I rushed in front of the stage. My baby was up there! Waving to the crowd along with the other candidates.
I waited patiently while the candidates introduced themselves. When my baby’s turn to the microphone came, all I understood was “Angel Liza”, “Tatlong Taon Gulang” and “Day Care Center!”
I didn’t care!
My baby was on stage!
My baby was seen!
My baby was heard!
When they marched towards the backstage, we rushed joyously to meet her. We all hugged and kissed her in our delight.
To be Continued….
Photo 1 from: Rolling Stone.com
Photot 2 from: Randy Son Of Robert