Gugunitain sa May 13 ang Araw ng mga Ina, pero napaaga ito para kay Jackie Forster.
Kagabi, April 28, naganap ang pagkikita nila ng kanyang mga anak na sina Andre at Kobe Paras sa isang hotel sa Mandaluyong City.
Lubos ang pasasalamat ni Jackie sa Panginoon dahil dininig Nito ang kanyang panalanging muling makasama sina Andre at Kobe, na hindi niya nakapiling sa loob ng 12 taon.
Si Andre ay 22, samantalang si Kobe naman ay 20 anyos.
Bago pa nangyari ang pagtatagpo ng mag-iina, may regular communication na sila via Viber at Facetime, at naging malaking tulong ito sa pagplano ng kanilang pagkikita.
THE PHONE CALL. Sa kauna-unahang pagkakataon, eksklusibong inilahad ni Jackie sa PEP.ph (Philippine Entertainment Portal) kung paano silang nagkalapit muli ng kanyang mga nawalay na anak.
Ayon kay Jackie, nagsimula ang lahat nang tawagan siya ni Kobe noong Enero 2018.
Panimulang kuwento niya sa PEP.ph, “I got a phone call last January 22 at 6:30 AM from Kobe.
“I was in London and he was in California.
“We had an overwhelming 40-minute conversation.
“Of course, I was overwhelmed with happiness, just the fact that he was calling me, and as a mom, you’re happy, right?
“But I was confused... like, I was waiting for him to tell me that there was a problem, because all this time, you feel like that’s the reason why he would call me, you know what I mean?
“So I was just waiting for something negative after.
“I would like to enjoy the moment, but I was waiting for a punchline na there has to be something…
“He said, ‘Ma, it’s me Kobe,' and he said, ‘How are you?’
“Naiyak ako, sabi ko, 'I’m better now because I’m really happy with my life, but I’m just tired.'
“'I’m just tired 'coz it’s not easy to take care of kids in different countries, traveling all the time with no family or friends to help.'
“So when Kobe called me, parang a lot of weight came off my shoulders.”
THE REALITY. Muling ginunita ni Jackie kung gaano katagal silang hindi nagkita nina Kobe at Andre.
Patuloy niya, “It was almost twelve years.
“I really didn’t get to be with them for a longer time because pabalik-balik kami sa court.
“'Tapos, kinuha sa akin yung mga bata, then I got to see them because of the court order, just for a few minutes.
“And even if the court said I was allowed to see them on weekends, hindi pa rin ipinakita sa akin.
“It’s like on-and-off thing, but more or less, it’s like a good eleven, twelve years."
Pagpapatuloy niya sa pag-uusap nila ni Kobe, “I asked him if he wants to come to Europe, I can send him a ticket.
“But he said he can’t leave because of school and basketball.
“And then he asked me, 'Can you come here?'
“I said, 'Of course, I can,' and he said, 'When?'
“'Honestly, if I could, I’ll get on an airplane now but I can’t.
“'The reality is I have three kids and a husband, so I really have to take care of my responsibilities, ask my husband and we’ll see when the soonest I can fly.'
“But sabi ko, 'I promise you, I’ll try to come the soonest possible.'
“I spoke to my husband and he made arrangements, but no one could come yet, but he saw the first 24 hours. I wasn’t sleeping.
“I was just always so anxious, so he got me a ticket.
“Three days later, January 25th, I was on the plane to Los Angeles.”
FACE TO FACE WITH KOBE. Para kay Jackie, parang isang panaginip ang muling pagkikita nila ni Kobe.
Lahad niya, “When I arrived in L.A., that was the time he was in class.
“I arrived around lunchtime, I had to get my car rental, then I had to drive an hour and a half in traffic, I just checked into my hotel.
“Naligo lang ako mabilis, eksakto tapos na yung class niya, I went to his school."
Ayon pa kay Jackie, “Meeting Kobe was just overwhelming.
“First of all, it didn’t feel real... like, I thought I was floating.
“Parang manhid ka na hindi mo alam. I didn’t wanna wake up.
“I feel like I’m just gonna wake up and this was a dream because for years, that’s all I've been doing, dreaming for that day.
“It didn’t feel real. Even now, when I think about it now, we didn’t even take pictures of that moment, of that day.
“I just really wanted to spend every second listening to him, answering any questions he had.
“He slept with me sa hotel ko and we just kept talking hanggang madaling-araw until he had to go to class.”
MAKING UP FOR LOST TIME. Ipinaliwanag din ni Jackie na isinikreto nilang mag-iina ang kanilang pagkikita, maging sa kanyang sariling pamilya, dahil iniiwasan nilang magkaroon ng kumplikasyon mula sa ibang mga taong maaaring gumawa ng isyu.
Kuwento pa niya, “I stayed in L.A. for a month.
“So, first three weeks, solely, one-on-one kami, and my first ten days was near him.
“After that, I had to move to my mom’s house.
“My family in L.A. didn’t know until I decided to stay in my mom’s house.
“The first few days, I didn’t tell my mom.
“I couldn’t tell her because I promised Kobe I wouldn’t tell anyone, and that was something important to him, that it was private first ‘coz he didn’t want other people to know.
“Ayaw niyang may makialam, ayaw niyang may manggulo.
“When Kobe got the offer to play [basketball] in the Philippines, he told me because we have a chat.
“He and I have a personal one and we have one with Andre, so he already told me his plans to come home.
“Suddenly, after two days, he told me, 'I’m going home this weekend.'
“It was so quick. It was really quick.”
MEETING ANDRE. Gaya ng reunion nila ni Kobe, naging emosyunal din ang muling pagkikita ni Jackie at ng kanyang panganay na anak na si Andre.
Saad niya, “When Kobe got to Manila, the first day within 24 hours, he asked me when can I come home.
“I think he’s excited to play and he’s excited for me to watch him play.
“Of course, I told my husband, so I got a ticket.
“Si Andre naman, from the beginning, he’s sending messages to Kobe.
"So Kobe would tell me, 'Andre said hi,' 'Andre said he misses you,' 'Andre said he misses you but because of work, he couldn’t come to L.A.'
“He works every day, right?
“And Andre didn’t want to do things on the phone.
“He wanted to see me in person but we’ve been in communication since end of January.
“Nag-Facetime na kami noong February, during my Easter trip sa L.A. and we would talk almost every day sa chat."
Ayon pa kay Jackie, “But my first time to see him was last night.
“It was nice, obviously, it was his first time to see me in a while, so there’s a lot of nervous energy.
"But it was very positive and it was a good first meeting.
“Of course, I couldn’t predict what to expect because even though I talk to him sa chat or Facetime him, iba yung in person.
"But it was definitely hard for me to see him sit beside me and hug me.
“He’s bigger than me, he has a beard and he has a moustache, he has big manly hand.
“It’s, like, that’s weird.”
Sa puntong ito ay hindi na napigilan ni Jackie na mapaluha.
Pagbabalik-tanaw niya, “The last time I touched him was... he’s like Jared [Jackie’s third son].
“I left Jared the other day and not seeing him until… he looks like Andre, you know…
“You really feel the distance and the time.
“I tried my best not to cry.
“Ang bigat kaya ng pakiramdam na pinipigilan mo but, anyway, everything’s positive.
“I think Andre and Kobe also didn’t want to see me sad so they tried to make everything light lang.”
MOVING FORWARD. Bilang isang inang nahiwalay sa kanyang mga anak nang mahigit isang dekada, nahirapan si Jackie sa paglalarawan sa kanyang naramdaman nang magkita silang muli nina Andre at Kobe.
Pag-amin niya, “Being with Andre and Kobe feels like I just gave birth again.
“It’s like that feeling again, seeing your kids for the first time.
“That’s exactly what I felt when I saw Kobe for the first time, the last time again with Andre.
“We are all happy, we are okay, but we wanna move forward and we just wanna move on in peace.
“We don’t wanna talk about the past, especially the kids.
“Everything needs to be positive from this point on ‘coz, you know, if you keep on going backward, it will just open more things.
“And the last thing the kids wanna do is to be put in a place where they have to choose, and it’s not healthy.
“And being their mother, it’s my right to protect them.
“That’s all that I’ve been doing this whole time so that’s what important to me, that nobody would question them anymore.”