Thursday, September 27, 2007

Sen Ma’lak i Matå’-ña, Ya i Na’ån-ña Si Sumåhi

Me and Jessica, i nananpatgon-hu, had discussed for several weeks the idea of making a thank you card or picture for Sagua Managu, the birthing center where our daughter was born in April of this year. During Jessica's time there, I saw decorating the hallways, pictures of families, and thank you notes addressed to the nurses and doctors at Sagua. Although all were nice, sweet and most likely heartfelt and well-meaning, they were all kind of boring. It didn't seem like anyone had gotten too wild or creative with their thank you, and no one really tried to make a statement about the awesomeness, coolness, or chubbiness of their child or children. I'm not saying that those gifts sucked or were poor, but only that when I saw them, I knew I wanted to do more for Sumåhi.

Maybe in time, this feeling that I have will fade or will seem stupid, but for now, I always find myself obsessing over ways that my baby is the bestest, smartest, fattest, loudest, friendliest, meanest, or most aggressive. Anyway that I can set my daughter above, apart and away from the rest of the babies is so incredibly coveted, its almost ridiculous. Although the movie Kicking and Screaming with Will Ferrell was funny when I first watched it, taipatgon, its almost tragic funny now that I think about the crazy competitiveness of parents. I beam with pride even when people acknowledge and congratulate me on things that I don't actually have any control over or even probably have the ability to intentionally affect, such as Sumåhi's weight, height, social comfort level, chubby cheeks, dinakngas, or eye color and eye shape.

So, even though I don't have a soccer team of parents and famagu'on to compete with, I'm still finding ways of asserting that my child is the mas maolek, mas bunita, mas malate', mas yommok na nene gi hilo' tano'! Since Sumåhi is still only five months old, I have to get creative, which I'm more than happy to do. As soon as I left Sumåhi and her mother in April, just 19 hours after she was born, I was already writing a poem to celebrate her birth, which is titled Sumåhi. Soon, I'll tell everyone about the "Sumåhi for Governor" campaign that I'll be starting soon. In the meantime though, I want to share the gift that me and Jessica have made for Sagua Managu. Its a simple but cute thing. It features an image of the beautiful nene in question, as well as a short poem that I wrote for her inspired from the lyrics to Dalai Nene, the Chamorro song from which I first heard her name. The image of her was taken several weeks ago at an art exhibit opening at the Bank of Guam in Hagatna. She is sitting atop the karabao that they have on their first floor, which in contrast to the other plastic/ceramic karabao you find scattered throughout the island and painted in a diverse number of ways, this one is meant to look somewhat like a regular karabao.

I'm pasting the image here, and for those of you who have trouble reading the poem, I'll also paste the words below. The version your seeing is a reduced size version, the real one is much larger.

I pilan yanggen sumåhi
Ha i’ina ham i gatbo-ña
Sen ma’lak i matå’-ña
Ya i na’ån-ña Si Sumåhi

Dalai Nene, sa’ ti hu hohongge
I tinahdong i kinute-mu nu Guahu
Dala Nene, sa’ ti un siesieñte
I guinaiyan i mañainå-mu nu Hågu

Kumahuhulo’ ta’lo i atdao
Ya muma’ma’pos esta i lamlam-mu
Lao ti i ha’ani ni’ sumasakke’
Hu hohokka’ todu gi kerason-hu

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