Saturday, December 29, 2007

It Still Is Warm

I've heard from a lot of people that :Christmas is just really for kids." For a while I wanted
to believe so too. But if you look deep inside your heart, you will see why Christmas IS an occasion we all look forward to celebrating year after year after year - whether young or old.





Tuesday, December 25, 2007

I Need Something To Warm The Heart

The holidays would be something we would all look forward to. Relatives living far away would be coming home for short holiday vacations, preparing the food would keep everyone busy, small family reunions would always be full of fun, stories and laughter, cousins seeing each other after quite some time would love playing together and would wish the day would never end. There would be gift giving and merry making. The fun would last well into the night when we kids would be too tired to even contest having to go home and call it a day. The next day, everyone would wish it were Christmas again. The days ahead would serve as a reminder of the Christmas that had gone and the Christmas that was to come again.
-
I wondered why this Christmas felt quite dry. As if I was even dreading it because I did not know what to expect. My 5 year old's excitement suddenly reminded me of how beautiful the holiday season is - or was.
-
We would all have dinner with my father's family on Christmas eve. Food was plenty, stories were more. When us cousins were a little younger, we would open gifts even before midnight. But when we were a bit older, we would all wait until the stroke of 12. At times we would watch movies together - family movies. Us younger ones would often fall asleep while my 2 older cousins would stay awake, all too excited to be allowed to stay awake till late in the night. When the clock would strike 12, they would wake us up. And then we would remember it was time to open gifts. After the opening of gifts, we would eat salad or whatever was left over from dinner. We would all fall asleep way after midnight. When tucked into bed, I remember my Mom and Dad would hug me and say "Merry Christmas anak."
-
With no gifts under the tree- a big reason is because both hubby and I were low in cash, no plans set weeks in advance, no family member 'coming home' for the holidays, I did wonder where my Christmas spirit was. I wanted it, I needed it. I was craving for it.
-
On Christmas day, we would go to my grandma's house (my Mom's side) and we would all have lunch there. Again, food was plenty. And jokes and teasing were more - as this is the character of my Mom's family. Us cousins would have a separate table, specially set for us littler ones. We too would have our own stories to share with each other. The eating and story telling would go on until mid afternoon until gift giving time. After opening gifts, we would all tease my grandma until she would give in and give us money to buy ice cream. Since her house was near town, us cousins would all walk and look for whatever mini mart or grocery was open. In the late afternoon, my Uncle would gather us all together and then we would go to the cemetery to visit my grandpa. We would then come home with hearts full of memories to treasure.
-
I did the Christmas grocery in the morning of the 24th. I tried to be excited. I asked my husband if we were spending any Christmas activity with his Mom and sisters. But with an invitation from his Mom saying "come if you come but if you don't want to then don't," suddenly, I had to appetite for any Christmas cheer with them. He probably felt it, so instead, he invited them to join us at home. And I'm glad they did.
-
I find myself missing the old. Missing what used to be. Terribly missing that warm feeling. And I wonder if my children will ever be able to feel that same way about Christmas as I used to because I feel I am unable to create a 'tradition' that they will look forward to every year. I feel guilty for not creating that warm feeling for my children.
-
How does one start a tradition? A tradition not done just for the sake of doing but a tradition that warms our hearts, that makes us look forward to the next- that sparks the love in us? I want my children to treasure memories that they will forever carry in their hearts. Not just of Christmas time.
--

Merry Christmas Everyone!

Saturday, December 22, 2007

Look Now We've Made It...


Who knew we would make it? Who knew after 4 years, we'd still be together.


Many people doubted what we had. Many assumed it would not last. Some still think it will not work. A few wish not to be supportive.


Today we have brought 2 beautiful creatures into this world.


We are still young. Our emotions may be heightened more than we should allow them to. But everyday, we are learning together. And my faith in us says we will travel this road together.


My prayer is for us to both have good health, so that we will see our children grow well into their adult lives. When they too will have their own families. I look forward to holding your hand until we are old and grey.


Happy 4th year Anniversary babe.


Wednesday, December 19, 2007

The Disconnect

In the office, there are basically 2 groups. One group is composed of 4 young girls- 1 is married with a kid and another has a kid but is not married, the other 2 are single. 2 of them were my schoolmates / friends in highschool. The other group is composed of a mix of both male and female- older, married and with kids. My boss belongs to the latter.

It isn't as if the office is divided as in divided, we all have lunch together, we are united in a way. Except for when it comes to personal interests.

The first group can go on all day talking about boys, make up, fashion and themselves. I never heard those with kids talk about their kids, school concern of their kids, what they will cook for dinner-- nothing about the home.

As much as I would want to associate myself closely to the latter group, I still am not sure if they are willing or ready to accept me. Plus the fact that my boss is there still makes me think and feel that I should not be too assuming at this point since I am only 2 months old in the company.

It is difficult having to listen to stories I cannot relate to and do not really want to relate to, day in and day out. When I start to talk about my kids, my husband or the home, they just look at me, give me a very polite smile (with the very popular head tilt) and then they go about talking about boys, make up, fashion and themselves.

I am not saying they are bad people. Or that there is something the matter with them, I respect them it's just that their interests do not interest me. Maybe that's the best way to put it. I can really feel the disconnect. Sometimes I try, but it is difficult.

I hope I will be able to eventually connect with people I know I will truly understand and who will understand me as well.

Monday, December 17, 2007

Really?

Seriously? I wish not to believe that Christmas Eve is 7 days away.

I have not bought a single gift for anyone yet. There are no gifts under the tree. I have no idea what to prepare for Christmas Eve. I have no idea what our plans will be. I wonder why it is ths way this year?

--

For all of your kind words in response to my last post, thank you!!!
Shosh
, am not pregnant. Teehee. But really, at 4'11,weighing 120lbs is not comfortable and getting into size 8-10 clothes can lower one's morale. I just really feel that I have been very unhealthy the past few months. I have been eating fruits for breakfast. Drinking lots and lots of water. And I have been cutting down on my rice consumption.

Lets see where this will take me. Excercise. I have been avoiding that.

--

I'm not sure why I have not been myself lately.

I'm still trying to figure it out.

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

The Struggle

I think a HUGE part of what has been bothering me lately is my ...............................
WEIGHT.

Yes. Since I gave birth I have been getting bigger and bigger. And it has reached the point where I do not feel good about myself anymore. And although it is disturbing, I still find myself stuffing my body with food.

I was never really fat. I was chubby in highschool but became thin in college. And then I got pregnant. At first, I would tell myself it was OK to be 'big' because I had just given birth. Months passed and then years and then I found myself still getting bigger. But I never really paid attention to it. I did try excercising. And then diets. And then I got pregnant again. And this time, I have not stopped increasing in size.

I am not really that vain, although conscious, I never get obsessed over my appearance.

But until recently when my confidence level was being eaten up but pants that could not be zipped, blouses that were to tight and jackets that could no longer be closed. And then I realized I had a problem.

When I wake up, all I think about is food. What I will eat for breakfast and half way through breakfast, I am already planning what I will eat for lunch. And while eating, even if I feel full already, I still continue shoving food down my throat.

It isn't vanity. It is unhealthy.

I have been trying to consciously watch what I eat and I have been cutting down on my food intake. It is difficult but I really need to lose weight. Not for anyone wlse, but for myself. And it is a struggle, I admit.

Monday, December 10, 2007

Realizations

There have been many many things going on. New job, being away from home, adjusting to the new job, husband's new job, Christmas around the corner, the 4 day beach trip we had. Yes, a lot has been going on. And I have noticed that I have found myself tangled in a pool of emotions again but which I failed to deal with. I have been trying to live each day as if it were any normal day but yes, things have been borthering me - in a good and in a bad way.

With Christmas around the corner, I have found myself crying for my Mom and Dad. 4th Chrstmas without Dad, 3rd without Mom. I remember the Christmases spent with them. I have stories to tell but maybe not now- in the days to come I will.

And while on the 4 day vacation we had, I had time to think and really remember them. And a lot of what my Dad taught me about so many things - from cleaning a shrip without using one's hand to life in general- came rushing through my mind. And I will write about those things too - which made me miss him all the more. Suddenly so many questions I wanted to ask came to mind - but then how will I ask him when he is no longer around?

We celebrate our 4th year wedding anniversary as well- I even almost forgot.

I had a migraine attack last week. And it was terrible. And I think my migraines are brought about by psychological / emotional stress.

I have been trying to get along with my new officemates- so far I would want to think I have been successful at doing so. But I am still trying to find my way and carve my path in the office. Trying to learn and discover the different personalities of the people around me.

The boys are growing up so fast. The little guy slowly adding words to his vocablary - he calls his brother Jotch (Josh) and loves the word "Atch" (Ouch). My 5 year old has been reading books already and just this evening while doing his homework, I doscovered he is very comfortable when it comes to ading up numbers.

Oh Wow.

According to Morrie, it is not good to detach oneself because then, it is as if you are denying your emotions Instead, allow yourself to immerse in the emotion - be it pain, sadness, happiness- whatever it is, feel the emotion. And then when you get older, you will know how to avoid the feeling you do not want to feel because you already know how it feels. And so some people think it is detachment but it is not. Instead it is the wisdom brought about the experiences by which those emotions evolved that allow us to avoid the experience so that undesired emotions are not brought about.

And so I am trying my best to immerse myself in whatever emotion is brought my way. I am trying to just allow each experience to mold me. So that one day, I will look back at all these, smile and will know in my heart that this all had a purpose.

Ahhh...The Life



Apparently, some people decided to go to the beach. In December. But what the heck, the weather was still perfect. This was a trip actually planned 8 months ago. The husband and I had no idea we would be under new employers, so we were not entitled to any leaves. But thankfully, we had understanding enough employers who allowed us to enjoy this 4 day family beach trip.

We went to Boracay Island . The first time we went there, I was 4months pregnant with my little one. I fell in love with the place and vowed to go back with the whole family once the little one was born. 1 1/6 years after I gave birth, that trip finally came true.
There is something magical about this island. This island was discovered a few decades ago when the beach was still untouched and unexposed to commercialization. I read a write up on the island which mentioned that the few people who braved the travel to this island would treck for more than 10 hours tugging along gas lamps and drinking water to sustain them through their stay on the island. There were no such things as hotels, resorts or restaurants in those early days.
Today, when you get to the island, the whole beach stretch is lined with hotels, inns, cafes, bars and restaurants. There is a shopping complex. They practically have everything available there for tourists needs. Foreigners have come to love the place. It is, if I may just say, a world class tourist destination.

Local flights fly there on a daily basis. One can choose to fly on smaller planes and land on the island itself or fly via bigger planes but will have to travel via land for about 1 1/2 hours before taking a 5 minute boat ride to the island itself.

The beach is spectacular. I assume that surfers / surfing addicts will despise the beach there - for the waves are too calm. One need not worry about a pool in the resort for the ocean is in itself the pool. There is something about the water there that enchants the people - with its crystal clear water, one will not be able to resist it. Sitting by the shoreline, the gently waves lap on the shore, it's relaxing sounds giving one a sense of peace. Its powdery white sand is what Boracay is known for. I have never seen and felt sand as soft and white as the sand there.
And when you sit under a beach umbrella, sipping on your favorite fruit shake - or a cold beer, you cannot hep but wonder why and how such creations were created.

It is a beautiful place for both the young and old. The kids can swim in the ocean without adults worrying about strong under currents or big waves or shark attacks since none of such exist. As the sun sets, the beach is slowly transformed into one big cafe / bar. The beach is lined with tables and chairs and bean bags where families can sit and relax and order the perfect meal.

It is an enchanting paradise. Go.

Saturday, December 1, 2007

Like No Other

It has been a pretty interesting week for me. Well I'm guessing it was a much more interesting week for my officemates who still see me as the "new girl."I have been trying to adjust and enjoy this whole new phase in my life. Working hours for me have been moved an hour later so I get to spend a bit more quality time with my little one in the morning.

When I was down in Manila for my training, the people I worked with there were almost all female, young and single. There was one who was young and married but without kids yet. And there was one who was in her early 30's, married and with one baby. And then there was me. And I did feel a disconnect.

Halfway through reading Tuesday's With Morrie, one line that really caught me was when Morrie said something to this effect (on having Children), "there's no other experience like it." That line caught my heart because I really think it is very true.

As parents, we talk about our kids. share experiences about raising kids, laugh and cry about how happy yet difficult disciplining children can be, etc. And people listen to us. But I feel that no matter how animated we can be while telling our stories or how emotionally filled out stories are, we can never really explain what it is like to have kids unless you experience it yourself. Partly I guess is because in general, for each and every experience we go through, we all feel, think and act differently. More so for experiences like having children.

Which is probably why a lot of married women with kids are often misunderstood.

It is difficult to fathom what it is like to have kids, to raise kids, to discipline kids, to prepare for the future of your kids.

It is an experience like no other.

Thursday, November 22, 2007

A Bit of The Past










This is where I stayed for 6 weeks.
It was comfortable.



I missed homecooked food.

I missed the housework. I missed the chores. I missed cooking.

I missed home.

Marked In My Heart. Forever.

I am finally home.

Never felt so good.

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Defining Moments

When things are all too familiar, I think it is possible to forget who we are or maybe who we can be or what we can do other than what we already are doing or who we already are. Sometimes, in unfamiliar territory, we discover things about ourselves which we never thought or imagined to be possible in us. It is as I have said so so many times, a scary experience. But then you realize how beautiful life can be in the midst of loneliness and uncertainty.

As you sit alone, everything just zeroes in on your day. As you slowly recount the events of the day. The blaring noise coming from honking horns of the cars, the loud chitter chatter of people passing you by - sound disappears. You remember how differently you would have done things if you were in your comfort zone. And then you laugh a bit.

As you lay down at night, you will be amazed at how much you have achieved. No, I am not talking about the work you accomplished - I mean, the mere fact that you survived the day is, in itself reason enough for one to celebrate.

I have made it. Tomorrow I go home with a suitcase full of wonderful experiences. Not wonderful as in happy and funny and exciting. Wonderful as in happy, sad, painful, scary and lonely. I wish my Mom and Dad were alive. They would have been damn proud. And it would have made my homecoming sweeter. But it is because of them that I survived. That I made it.

Before this all started, I told myself that this had a purpose. It may not be evident yet. I may not realize its purpose just yet. But in the days to come, slowly, its purpose will be revealed. It may even take years. But so what.

I love my children so much more. I appreciate my husband even more. I love my family so much more. I am thankful for what I have and what I do not have.

I have been defined. And experiences like these shall continue to define who I am, who I can be.

What has been your defining moment?

Sunday, November 18, 2007

Prayer - Perfect Timing

That's want I want to call it. Others may say otherwise. Maybe.

Just when I was about to really lose it last week, something happened. I had been crying for 2 days already. During my quiet time, I found myself praying a bit more than my usual morning and evening prayer. And I must say that in the 5 weeks that I had been away from my family, prayer had become my comfort. Even if my little one was with me, I was extremely homesick. The routine was killing me. Waking up so early in the morning just to catch the shuttle trying to beat the heavy traffic, sitting in the office doing nothing (to post about this later), eating lunch alone, leaving work and sitting in the shuttle for an hour during rush hour traffic, eating whatever food was available - it was just too much.
I called up my husband and cried and he just kept reminding me that I only had a few more days to go. Hold on he said.
The next day, still feeling down, I got a message from my husband. It said something like this: "need to go down. still in seminar, will call you later." I was surprised and excited and couldn't wait to hear the details. What was this? He was coming down to Manila? Why? What about work?
Anyway, after about an hour, he called. His boss just called him up to apologize for such short notice (she completely forgot to update him) but he had to go down to Manila the next day to attend a training because my husband needed to take another licencing exam on Wednesday (which also happens to be my last day of training here).
I didn't know what to say or how to react. I was amazed. I prayed and couldn't stop praying.
That night, my little one suddenly had fever. But it didn't seem to bother me so much. I was worried, yes I was. I was scared, I was. But I had peace in me. His fever lasted for 2 more nights but he got better.
Today, we are all together. My kids, the husband and I.
I am down to my last 3 days and then we all head up, back home to where we all belong.

Monday, November 12, 2007

Until Then...Until When?

I'd want to talk about my whole experience now but I am afraid I will jinx myself even more. Aside from being left by the shuttle a number of times (thus the need to commute in an unfamiliar area) and wasting so many hours a day just waiting for someone to give me something to do, I have also have had to deal with rude and impolite people in the office who just want to make me break down and cry. So no, I will save my stories for when I am finally home.

On the lighter side of things, I miss blogging big time. I miss reading blogs on a daily basis and I miss writing on a daily basis. I want to but I can't. Because I do not even have my own computer in the office and even if I did, there is no Internet access since the banks here are very tight when it comes to security.

I brought down my little one with me last week. Being away from him for too long would have really been impossible. I must say, he has been such a trooper. Since my hotel suite is well, big, he has so much space to run and tumble and trot around in. And I think the best part is, he seeps beside me at night. Just knowing that I am beside him AND just knowing that he is beside me just makes us feel so complete.

I must give credit to my husband as well who has been so understanding of the whole situation. My older boy was left with him since he has school. And so far the husband has been doing a great job.

I can't wait to be home. That's all I can say for now because that's how badly I want it.

Saturday, November 3, 2007

Temper Temper Here I Come



I have mentioned, many many times in the past about how different each child is. They may have similarities but they ARE different. As my kids are. And that's precisely what makes them so special. Which brings me to this question: What do I do when my 17 month old throws a tantrum?

My 5 year old threw a tantrum when he was 2 years old. We were in the mall and he did not want to stop riding on those kiddie rides they have in the mall where you out in a coin and it starts to move. We were there since forever so it was really time to go. He decided to lie on the floor, scream and cry. I stepped back, moved to the side and just let him. After a few minutes, he stood up, ran to me and asked to be carried.
Tantrums were never heard of since that day.

Well, technically until recently when my 17 month old decided it was time to start trying temper tantrums on me. He will do it anywhere. At home, in the car, in church, in the mall and even in the restaurant. And I do not know how to handle it. But I try to. I try to gently talk him out of it (goodluck to me that never works) and I try to pick him up and then he thinks I will give in to what he wants, but still I don't - which upsets him all the more and then he throws his head back and squirms and demands to be put down. I put him down and he keeps crying on the floor. I tried simply ignoring him - he can cry until forever. Well the longest he did was for almost 1 1/2 hours. On the floor. Kicking. Whimpering. Crying.

The thing with me is, I can take it not to give in to what he wants especially if it is NOT supposed to be (like playing with scissors, or playing outside IN THE RAIN or banging his fat hands on the keyboard of the laptop- no siree, na-uh). But in public, I can't just allow my child to go wild, can I? Should I?

Oh my gosh I don't know what to do. I am not blaming this all on me - that I am not a good parent, I don't know how to deal with my child, etc. Because children have different temperaments which we do not always have control of. So there.

Help? Suggestions? Tips? Insights?

Please.

Friday, November 2, 2007

November One






Every year, since as long as I can remember - as do most Filipinos, our family would troop to the cemetery to visit relatives who have gone ahead of us. Memories of my younger days included the preparation of flowers the night before, waking very early (the sun still not up), drinking hot choco, getting ready to go to the cemetery and finally braving the hundreds of people who would so the exact same thing.


For us, it became a family reunion of some sort. As the oldies of the clan would gather around the tombs, us younger ones would often be made to sit still and listen to their chit chat. We would listen to their stories - of our relatives who have gone ahead, who they were, happy memories, funny ones. Heart warming stories - to be heard year after year after year. And as the years went by, through those stories, it is as if you actually knew the relatives who we never even met.



Up until I was 9, we used to visit the parents of my Grandpa. It was upon my grandpa's orders that we needed to go to the cemetery every November 1. We would go very early and would go home in the afternoon. I never met them. And then when I was 10, it was my grandpa we were already visiting. And then it was upon the order of my Dad that we had to go the cemetery every November 1. He would prepare flower arrangements the night before. Ikebana with a mix of Filipino taste to it. But visits became shorter.




Yesterday, we went. I brought my 2 boys with me. We visit 4 people at our family plot- my grandpa (1991), dad (2004), mom (2005) and my grandma (2006). In the next years, it will be my pleasure to share with my boys stories of their great grandparents and grandparents - who they were, why we love them, funny stories about them, sad and painful stories as well. It will be my turn to warm their hearts through these stories. It will be my privilege.



For many Filipinos, November 1 becomes a festivity of sorts.



For me, I think it will always be a heartwarming experience that I will always look forward to year after year after year.

Saturday, October 27, 2007

Powerful Experiences

Our comfort zones prove to be the best for us. We feel secure, confident. Worry is often a bit far from our minds. And fear, ah yes fear, fear is an alien in THAT zone. And when we are taken away from our comfort zones, suddenly we panic. Do we?

In the beginning, I think we all anticipate the consequences of change. Should we call them consequences in the first place? Or would it be better to say that, often times change itself is what stirs up the fear in our hearts. I think so.

As the days go by, that fear in my heart has slowly started to subside. But it never goes away and I think it will never go away until I am finally home for good. It lingers but I am more capable of suppressing it now. This has been a learning experience for and will continue to be. Yes, everyday is a learning experience but bigger changes bring about greater learnings. It is scary but as we learn to accept, we grow.

Last Tuesday, we celebrated Mom's 2nd year in her heavenly dwelling. And also, as the days go by, we learn to let go a bit. Not completely. Never. Acceptance may be the word for it I suppose. And slowly we learn to accept the fact that no matter what anyone says or does, people we love who have left us, will ALWAYS be a part of us. Our emotions ride with the tide though. SOmetmes we're up, and sometimes, we're low.

Life.

Saturday, October 20, 2007

The First Of Many

2 weeks ago, I left the company I worked for for almost 3 1/2 years. Last week, as my family brought me to Manila to start training in my new job, I almost lost it. I thought I would never survive the following days.

I left on the bus at 9pm last night, headed home and arrived at around 3am. I came home and never felt better.

The week that was.

What consoled me was the promises of friends who said they would accompany me and be with me while I was away from home- which did not happen really. I found myself dealing with so many feelings and emotions and having to control them as well as I could.

I was booked in a huge hotel suite. I was alone. And during the first night, I could not sleep. For the first time in a very long time, I experienced fear in it's truest sense. Not the fear of a mother, not the fear of a wife, not the fear of a friend, not the fear of a daughter. It was the fear of a human being.

It was a powerful week. Many new people met. New work culture and environment. Away from the family. Alone. Feelings of excitement. Uncertainty. Hope. Anticipation. Anxiety.

During the last 2 days before coming home, I realized that I actually also enjoyed the being alone. It was just me.

Finishing that first week is only the beginning. I will be doing this for the next 5 weeks. Until then, I will look forward heading home every Friday. It is still a scary thought. But that day will arrive.

Until then.

Thursday, October 11, 2007

On Growing Up

When I was seven, I was decided. I was going to be an astronaut. Yes, after visiting Cape Canaveral in Florida, I was dead set on pursuing a career in space aeronautics. Being weightless in air is what got me, I was so fascinated and intrigued by it. No, not once did the dangers of flying into space EVER cross my mind.


When I was 12, I was determined to be a lawyer. This was 3 years after my grandfather died. And the impact he had on my life was very apparent.


When I was in highschool, I wanted to be a psychologist. Here, my Mom's influence became very apparent. I was going to major in Psychology. And I did. I did not know yet where exactly that course would lead me, but Psychology was what I really wanted.


When in college all I wanted to be was a graduate.


Ask me now what I want to be "when I grow up."


Wise.


That's what I want to be.


As we age, our experiences, the circumstances we were put through, the people we met along the way - everything that life has thrown us mix perfectly together and paints a beautiful picture of wisdom.


I'm sure we all, once in our lives, have encountered a wise person. Beautiful, isn't it? There is a sense of calm in them. Their words give you so much assurance, that things will be OK. In them you will see how time has tested them. They are the people we look for when everything seems so be going haywire. They inspire you to keep going, merely by listening to them makes you know in yourself, that yes, I will survive. They are the people who will leave a mark in your heart never to be erased. A mark you will forever be grateful for and will proudly carry in your heart forever.

This world needs more of these people.

Friday, October 5, 2007

I Fell In Love

Yes I did. I fell in love. It happened during the time the husband was gone.

Maybe it was because I lost my focus. I guess when the person you pay a lot of attention to is not in sight, you have a tendency to shift your attention to something or someone else. In my case, I ended up diverting my attention to 2 people, who in the past 5 days have allowed me to fall in love all over again.

It is a wonderful feeling. Memories and feelings of many years ago suddenly came rushing back, filling my heart with an overwhelming sense of happiness! And I am very sure that they felt exactly the same way.

For the first time in a long time, it was all about me. All the attention was on me as well. I felt special, I felt loved, I felt wanted, I felt appreciated. I loved the feeling! I could not help it. And to this very minute, I still close my eyes and savor that wonderful feeling!

I fell in love. They fell in love.

It's all about 'Mama' this time. The older one knew the absence of their father but the younger one was a bit confused. But everytime I would arrive home, they would happily jump around and then run to me to embrace me. The eyes of my older one would light up. The younger one would hug my leg. They would clamor for my attention waiting for me to listen to what they had to say about their day. They would be excited to sit down and listen to me read them books. They'd be excited to play with me. And for the first time in a long time, they made me feel so cool. We have been enjoying every single minute together.

I would just look at them and would just be very thankful that these boys were given to us. Heaven sent. For a minute it crossed my mind that I was not worthy.

I thought having the husband away would have been so bad. But as the days have gone by, I have actually enjoyed it. Maybe because as I said, my attention was completely diverted. This time, all the attention was not divided, it was all focused on just the children. And I am sure they loved it too. They looked for their Dad constantly during the first 2 days. The little one would run to the window and shout "Dada! and would peep to see if the car was in the driveway." The older one would ask me where his Dad was, I would explain to him and he would just say "oh men!" I think now they understand and are actually happy. They know their Dad would be back in a few days. To start another chapter of his life.

Before the my husband left on Sunday night, he said (and I will never forget), "This is for you and the boys babe."

And I fell in love all over again.

I'm glad I did. I'm glad this happened.

Thursday, October 4, 2007

Irked


Talking to the pregnant partner of our friend who happens to be expecting a baby girl this December, she tells me she wants to throw a baby shower. I say, one of her close friends should organize it for her. And she further says she wants a baby shower so badly because it is a baby girl- because a baby girl is special. That if it were a boy, she didn't care if she had a baby shower or not- because it is JUST A BOY.


Oh my gosh I almost lost it after hearing her say that. She knows I have 2 boys. I could not control not raising my eyebrow though. And when I think about it now, I still get irritated.


I said a baby is special. Whether boy or girl. They are precious. And the more important thing to pray about is that the baby be normal and healthy.


It's sad that she has that kind of attitude towards the gender of her baby. What if it turned out to be a boy?

Wednesday, October 3, 2007

It Isn't The Same

Yesterday, the house wasn't as "noisy" as when the hubby is around. The hubby wasn't around for rough play with the boys. Well, I did try to wrestle with them but it just didn't work. I was too scared to twist their arms or toss them too hard. We tries to shoot some baskets which the boys did enjoy, but I couldn't quite keep up with their energy.
So, I decided to do my "Mom thing." First, I sat them down and the 3 of us started to draw. And then we colored some pages on my 5 year old's coloring book. After that, I suggested I read them a book. They sat in peace and listened to me. And a little before dinner, we watched some TV.
I can keep up with "boys" stuff but ACTUALLY doing it - I don't think so. I have fun with the type of activities they love doing. I will for a while try to join their pace but to enjoy the whole activity with them I can't keep up. I think I am the type who will find a nice spot under the shade, sit down, take pictures and most probably shout this and that to them. Like "not too rough!" "Be careful you're brother is right behind you!" "Get down from that tree right now!" "Do not squish that bug!"
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This is the first time in my whole life I will be away from the hubby for a straight 10 days and be left with the kiddos. I have been trying to enjoy some alone time for myself too. Am kinda trying to get the hang of it - after all, it's only been day2.
When hubby left on Sunday night - a rainy night, I felt a bit sad. So I decided to cheer myself up by watching FRIENDS. And last night, with the unusual "quietness" of the house, I decided to treat myself to a whole bar of AERO chocolate. Loved It.I know. But it did make me feel better. Happy food. Impulsive me.
I wonder what I will do tonight.

Tuesday, October 2, 2007

The Things That Don't Kill You Only Make You Stronger

Together with the death of my Mom was my inheritance of a very huge debt. I owed my Mom's family a big amount. Right after her cremation, Mom's sisters and brothers invited me over to the family home to discuss certain issues. Seated on the dinner table we my 3 aunts and 2 uncles, in front of us were the ashes of my Mom.
The bomb was dropped. Since we had no money to pay for my Mom's medical treatment, Mom ended up borrowing a total of Php1.9M (almost over $40,000). And I was to inherit that. How was I going to pay? Instead of selling property and belongings, I was not to receive the yearly earning the family corporation would earn which it's members were entitled to. Computing it, I would have approximately 11-12 years to pay off all that. Things were still blurry. My Mom had just died 7 days before that and had been cremated a few hours before I was 2 months pregnant, so I said OK. They did lay all the cards down before me.
A few months after, it dawned upon me how painful this all was. Because Aunts would rub it in that I had to be thankful for the money lent to us, that I should be thankful they decided not to add on interest to it, that they did not have to make me sell things just to pay off the debt faster. But at the back of mind I just wanted to shout back for them to cool it, and back off. I could see their point. It was crystal clear. But give me a break! Allow me to mourn first! And the insurance my Mom was entitled to - which would have greatly helped me and my family because we hardly have any savings - I had to give so that my debt would be lessened.
ANYWAY. After that, they would pretty much just get in touch with me when they wanted to give me updates on my debt but other than that, Christmas and Birthdays and other occasions were spent in silence. Unlike before my Mom died when family really meant family. When I gave birth to my 2nd child, no one from my Mom's side even remembered. And I was hurting. But I told myself to let it go. But it still hurt, it never went away.
Until a month ago when I got to chat with my Aunt. Again, the money issues came up. It turned into a heated exchange of insights and opinions. She told me what I was going through was nothing compared to what she went through (she used to be on welfare - I don't know why she had to compare our situations) and that I SHOULD move on. I said I couldn't believe they would do this to their own family. And since they all met up in Chicago for my cousin's wedding, I am 101% sure that they talked about this incident among themselves.
Deep in me, I just felt really bad. I understood my obligation to pay but it would have been less painful if they did not have to rub it in or make me feel as if I owed them my life that if they weren't there, my Mom would not have been able to go for treatment and would have died earlier. It saddens me because my Mom was such a gentle soul. She loved my Aunts and Uncles and even my cousins. She was a giver. Never in the millions, but she was a giver. And I felt sore because I had no one to turn to. No siblings to bear the weight of the pain with me. Suddenly, the relatives who I was so sure of would take good care of me and my family now that my parents were gone just seemed like strangers to me. Only caring about getting the money I owed them.
In the months that followed, I kept my silence.
Yesterday, my Aunt sent me a message asking me to meet her and my uncle at his house this weekend. I had a feeling it had something to do with money and debt. But I still asked her why. And that's right, I was right. It took me a long time to compose my reply. I prayed before even typing it. And then I said it. I said I didn't want to talk about my debt because I felt it unnecessary, that I was trying to move on as told to me by my Aunt and that talking about it just made me yearn for my Mom and Dad all the more. I told her that I knew she would understand.
I still fell bad. But I do not want anger and bitterness to consume me. These are things I want thrown out the door, never to haunt me again. I need peace within me. And I figured that distancing myself for a while may help me heal. Not distancing while building anger inside. But just distancing so that such are no longer talked about and as I keep away,I get to appreciate the beauty of having things better left unsaid.
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On to lighter things. After 1 1/2 years, hubby has a job again. I can't explain how happy I am. Everything happened pretty fast. And as he got confirmation from his new employer last week, he was informed that he needed to go down to Manila to train for 10days. So I am a single parent till then.
The only thing I despise about such arrangements is that I cannot sleep well through the night when hubby isn't around. Call it whatever you want to call it, but it's that way. I got a good 5 hours of very light sleep last night. My body aches, like it got tired of lying down last night. Terrible.

Thursday, September 27, 2007

Inside Thoughts

Sometimes, I look around me. I take a look at the people around me. The environment I am in. 25, married and with 2 kids - not your 'typical' 25 year old girl here. People around me are choosing to marry later and later, concentrate on their careers, focus on their personal life by going after their dreams of conquering the world. I ask them if they have started to think about settling down, they say maybe in a few years. I ask them how at what age do they plan to start having kids, they say max would be when they are 30. Interesting, I think.

Sometimes, I wonder. What would my life be now if I did not have a child so early? Or if I didn't get married. Or if I didn't have a second child. I would probably be engrossed in my career, saving up as much as I can. Travelling the world and enjoying my earnings. My responsibility would be myself, me. Just me. I probably would have found a certain sense of happiness in doing so. What problems would I face? Certainly not milk bottles or stinky nappies. I get caught up in daydreaming, having to jolt myself back to reality.

Is it bad? I think not. We all have the tendency to think of the what if's, the could have's. But then again, we remember the "but then."

When I get caught up thinking of the things I do not have, the circumstances I am not in or the reality opposite of my reality, I find myself appreciating what I have, what I am in, my present reality. It's not easy, it isn't. Sometimes I feel guilty for wanting to bail out because no one ever told me it would be this tough. It is a life I never thought I would be living. But even so, if someone did warn me, I still think I would have made the same choices.

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Whew!

I totally jinxed myself when I said the kids were getting better. Come Friday at lunch time, after picking up my 5 year old from school, I noticed his eyes were teary and he looked pale. 2 hours later, his fever reached 39.5 degrees Celsius. I gave him paracetamol, put him in cool clothes, and made him lie down. No effect. By this time, the baby had a sore throat - he was losing his voice . It was actually cute to listen to his voice - BUT poor baby. And I still had that ball - golf this time not baseball- in my throat. Susie left me a comment and I gladly took her advice. Now I totally am for home remedies. Try them, no harm in doing so, and if they work for you, then good. 1 teaspoon of apple cider vinegar mixed into a whole glass of water did the job for me. I took 2 glasses of this. I was feeling much, much better. So I was off to care for the kids.
It is a difficult time - when the kids are sick. It is especially difficult for me because of the stress of worrying about them that I always go through. I was thankful that the baby was up and about, doing his normal daily stuff - messing up their playroom, eating everything, shouting and running about. But my 5 year old looked bad. All he did was lay down and look so pitiful. His fever did not want to go down. It was a pretty rough night, because his fever was so high, he was so uncomfortable - he couldn't sleep.
The next day, we got the 2 boys ready and brought them to the doctor. Antibiotics it is, for the 2 of them.
Setting aside the tiresome activities brought about by sick kids, it was a wonderful experience for me and Jet as well. I dropped everything on Friday, I took the half day off and stayed home. In between temperature takings and sponge baths, I played with the baby and was able to enjoy cooking for them. I enjoyed every snuggling, complaining, whining, cuddling moment with them. After all, it's not everyday that your kid gets sick, more so, the 2 of them. I was also able to realize more things about myself. That I am capable of doing more things than I actually imagine myself to be able to do.

Friday, September 21, 2007

The Real World

Kids are getting better. Now I'm the one sick. I woke up yesterday with this baseball in my throat. Could not swallow anything. I made the soup and we all enjoyed it. Except that I had to eat mine like a baby - softly mashed. I am so hungry but I can't eat. Am on antibiotics and will be for the next 5 days. I wish I felt better the soonest.
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On to more important things. 2 days ago, my 5 year old came home from school and told me "Mom Steiner punched me." "WHERE?!?!" I demanded. He said, "here (pointing to his neck). I asked him what he did after he was punched. And my 5 year old, being who he is said he didn't do anything.
Last year, almost same incident happened, incidents actually. There was this guy who kept hurting my son. Either pushing him or scratching him or punching him. I informed the teacher on all those occasions and requested the teacher keep a close eye on that bully. And since my son is the type who does not fight back, he did nothing. UNTIL one day, he probably got so fed up and fought back - yes, he punched the boy back. That same day, I got a note from the teacher telling me that my son and his classmates had a brawl. I was mad. So I demanded a meeting with the teacher and the parents of the boy - unfortunately, they said they do not encourage confrontations with other parents. But I met up with the teacher. Necessary disciplinary actions were taken.
Going back to what happened 2 days ago. Deep inside of me, I felt very bad for my son. He is not the type who fights back. He is the kind of boy, who - sadly - allows himself to be bullied. Yes, that's how he is. Even in playgroups, he really is that way. Not the leader type. Not the aggressive one. Not the initiator. He is such kind spirited boy.
So when he was telling me about the most recent incident, deep down inside of me, what I really wanted to tell him was "Never be the first to hurt but if they hurt you, defend yourself." I had to reword it of course. I just told him never to allow anyone to hurt him, that he will have to also defend himself. Why can some children be so mean?
What do you think?
We will never always be there to defend our children. In the long run, they will have their own lives. And they will have to stand up on their own.

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Sick Kiddos

What could be worse than a baby with colds and a pre-schooler with asthma? I know, there are a lot more things that could be worse. Am sorry. Shouldn't have asked that question in the first place. But sick kiddos are never really a fun time. Never.
Maybe if a one year old knew how to blow his nose then life would be much much MUCH easier.
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Last night was spent positioning and re-positioning my baby because he was having such a hard time breathing. The paci would not help because it made his breathing all the more difficult. And he wanted his back rubbed - constantly. Or else he would start to whimper.
So yeah, I am a zombie now.
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It has been 15 months since my 5 year old's last asthma attack. Pretty good if you were to ask me, compared to his every 3 months attack when he was younger. But an asthma attack is never a good thing. But the good thing, again, is he likes his nebulizer already. It once was a terrorizing item for him. The sound made him freak out. And then I came up to convincing him it was like wearing the mask of Darth Vader. Today, he knows it makes him feel better - it is his friend.

Saturday, September 15, 2007

Taking The Time Of His Life With His Big Bag

At 10 months. Sweet and Innocent.

My patience is being tested. My 5 1/2 year old boy is becoming the boy with this big invisible bag of excuses and has developed an extreme love for dilly-dallying - in everything he does.

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While everyone is rushing in the morning, I call on my older one to start taking a bath, I tell him the shower is running already. Take off you clothes and jump in I say. I turn my back and focus on putting on a fresh new diaper on my little one. I sit down to feed the little one - run after him and feed him actually - expecting that my 5 year old is taking a bath already.

WRONG.

The shower running for a good 10 minutes, I see that he is dragging half his body across the hall way with his hand stretched across the wall, as if wiping the dirt of the wall. I freak out and ask him why he isn't in the shower yet. (Enter big invisible bag of excuses) He says he was trying to reach for his towel but couldn't. I tell him I always get his towel when he calls for me when he is done. (Enter invisible bag again) He says the water is cold (which isn't). I refuse to prolong discussion and just tell him to get in. He does.

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His food prepared, I tell him to sit down and eat. (Enter very long dilly dallying ritual) I need water first he says. I give him water. I need tissue to wipe my mouth. Hubby gives him tissue. I want my other place mat he says. We change his place mat. Finally, he eats. We're half done by this time. After 2 or 3 spoons of food, he has this need to start babbling away. Questions, stories, more questions. I tell him we can talk after he eats. He is the last one on the table. Always. He is a good eater but the eating process itself just takes forever (unless we say he will be allowed to watch TV after he finishes his food, then he finishes his food in a flash).

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I tell him to get into his PJ's. I forget about him and remember, so I check on him. He's playing in his playroom still in his day clothes. Why have you not changed I ask (enter bag of excuses please), I forgot he says. Goodness, for a 5 year old, memory excuses won't work for me. I tell him to go change. He says he is scared of the dark. I open the light in his room. He finally gets changed half an hour later. What he was doing? I don't know.

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And this is the absolute best.

I come across one of his play sets, a set which the little one is not allowed to play with because it is a toy set for bigger boys and everyone makes sure the little one does not get his hands on them. I notice that some pieces are missing. I keep telling him never to lose the pieces, take good care of this or I won't buy this for you, I remember telling him at the toy store. He said he would take care of it. I ask how come the pieces are missing. (Enter big bag of excuses), he says ask my little brother. The room is a mess, I ask him what they were doing why it got all messed up. He says "It's because of Dash." Goodness, even when he farts, he says "That was Dash."

I suddenly remember those days when I was young, when I could put the blame on my dear imaginary friend.

Thursday, September 13, 2007

Much Needed Bath

Washed him while his bestfriend was in school. It was a glorious sunshiny day so the bear dried just in time for his bestfriend's arrival.

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Special

You know what I enjoy doing? Talking about my kids. Well if you have not read through my blog, then it ain't that obvious yet, but if you have been a constant reader, then there you have it, me stating the obvious.
I think all parents enjoy talking about their kids. Sometimes in a show off-ish way, sometimes in a ranting way, most often in a complaining voice - but the bottom line is, we love talking about our kids. Because we love them.
So bear with me.
So far, this having 2 kids has been a very very fun, tiring, funny, interesting experience. It has been filled with a lot of love.
I can't help but "compare" my 2 kids. Not in a bad way, not so that I will love one more than the other - goodness, no - but because it is very interesting and fun to look back (for me 5 years ago) and remember how different this one is from that and that was from this. Sometimes, I find myself laughing, often times being thankful.
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This second one of mine was born smaller that my first but has ended up being bigger at his age right now than my first when he was a year old. Being a hand me down baby, we have found ourselves bringing out clothes of my older one that had been kept when the older one was about 3 but fits the little one just fine right now.

My older one was and is someone who is slow to warm up. In gatherings with a number of people, he always preferred to sit back, watch and assess the whole situation before joining in the riot of kids playing and running around. When people would go up to him and make funny / silly faces or would try to talk to him, he would stare blankly or would cry. By the time he got himself to warm up, it would ALWAYS be time to go home. But the little one, he is always all over the place as soon as we get to anywhere. He will easily find himself comfortably trying to "play" aka pester older kids by pretending to know what they are playing. He walks around, clapping his hands and stomping his feet smiling and bringing out his dimples and - charming everyone, without him even knowing it. My older one, on the other hand knows it when he is charming other people.

The little one seems a bit slower when it comes to his speech development. I browsed through my older one's baby book and just kept laughing while reading the words he used to say when he was 10 months. This little one has a vocabulary of 5 words and still mixes up mama from dada - he sees hubby and with a very big smile says, "mama!" and then looks at me and says "mama!" But boy, this little one is very physically active. He climbs, he jumps, he runs, he trots, he stomps, he tumbles, he rolls. The older one could stay in his playroom and busy himself with his ball set or a book - the whole afternoon.

My older one was when in the company of family and familiar people, always a happy baby - laughing and smiling. When he was a bit older, you could see it in his eyes - he was a joker. Everything for him was a game. And until today, he still is my little joker - sometimes sarcastic though - ahem. Ever since he was a kid he always had the tendency to decide impulsively - ahem again. (I am my son's mother after all!). Now this little one seems to be the more serious one, It is very hard to make him laugh - even when he was a baby. No sense make all those silly sounds and faces - unless you tickle him, then you will get the baby to laugh. The only other person who is able to make him laugh big time is his older brother. But other than that, of the two boys, he is the more "thinking" and serious one.

The little one is a destroyer. He tears up books, breaks crayons, crumples my important documents. He destroys. The older one never had that issue. I could give him a book with paper pages - not those baby books that have really thick pages - and would return it in perfect shape. The little one eats anything. He can eat food, clay, glue, tissue paper, lotion, powder, his diaper, his poop - anything, I tell you. Which is laso why he is easier to feed. The older one outgrew his oral stage very early. I did not need to worry about him choking on anything - ever.

Both are independent. Both have a temper. Both are very loving but show their love in different ways.

The little one is the cuddler. He loves resting his head on my shoulders or my chest. He sneaks up to me when were both lying down and he cuddles. And he loves it. The older one cannot stand it - he always tells me he feels hot (when I embrace him). His love expression is by words. He says I love you and as mentioned, does it through his charm.
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Such brings joy. And make us realize how beautiful life is because we are all different. That we will never be completely the same. That part of life's beauty is in knowing that, no matter what people say or do or think or make us feel, we will always be unique. And it that uniqueness, we are special.

Saturday, September 8, 2007

The Person That I Am


I left the office 30 minutes before 6 - 30 minutes before the event. Rain greeted me when I stepped out of the building, I hailed a cab and headed home. I had no idea what I was going to wear plus, there was another pool of mixed emotions going on inside of me the whole trip home.

I took a quick bath and just decided to wear nothing really special. I, Jet and my 2 aunts all went to attend the ceremony - my grandfather was to receive an award too so my Aunt (their eldest) was to receive it for Gramps.

As I entered the hall, the smell of alcohol greeted me. Media men were standing around the bar and sipping their scotch or whisky or brandy, chatting away - a common practice amongst the media men of our city. As one journalist stated it - "alcohol begins to sharpen the brain and loosen the tongue, or the other way around. ." And suddenly this GIGANTIC, really HUGE knot formed in my throat. Jet and I took a seat in the back row. I looked around and observed and saw a lot of Dad's fellow media men. One of them passed by and I greeted him - a very close friend of Dad. He asked me why we were not getting any cocktails and I just replied by saying "Oh if Dad were here, he would have been at the bar since forever." To which he replied "Oh, you know your Dad." I wanted hug him and cry.

The event started a good 1 1/2 hours after we arrived. They started with the awards for media men who have, as my Dad always termed it, "have gone to the great newsroom in the sky." Seriously, I was surprised at how many of them have already gone. Sad. And when they called my name to receive the award for my Dad, I totally felt I was going to breakdown. Given the chance, I would have grabbed the mic from the host and would have given a short speech. Control is what took over me. I walked up the stage and got received the award from the Mayor. A few names after, they called my Granpa's name and I found myself clapping very loud. Damn proud.

Before we left, I approached one of Dad's best friends (one of the 2 people we called to the hospital when Dad was dying because Dad did not want ANYBODY to see him on his dying bed). Uncle Ramon is his name. I said my hello's and how are you's but felt he wasn't warming up that much. Before I left, I whispered in his ears "Uncle don't drink too much anymore." And that's when he held me very tight. Oh god, again, I wanted to embrace him and cry. I didn't. I told him to take care.

When we got home, I cried it out. I was happy and proud and lonely. And I missed my Dad terribly. I sorta started to talk to him (my Dad) - I do that sometimes. As if he were there with me in the room.

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What are such occasions for? I wonder. And I realize. When people are alive, they are lucky if such recognition is done - to make it known to them that what they are doing is truly appreciated. Is truly loved. Is truly important. But such are done when they are long gone. When their human ears are no longer around to hear them. When their human hearts are no longer pumping with passion eager to feel that their passion has touched the lives of others. It is a sad fact. And often times it fills one with guilt and regret.

The living can only look back and fondly remember- as it warms our living hearts.

If I may say, my father venerated my grandfather. I look up to my mine with reverence too.


As my eldest put it 2 nights ago, "Mom, I wish Grampa Steve were still awake." I do too, I do too.


Below is the eulogy my Dad's best friend delivered during Dad's funeral.

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Dacawi: For Steve By Ramon Dacawi


MIDWAY into our seasons in the sun, Steve Macli-ing Hamada, my editor for over a decade, and I paused from beating deadlines and sobered up to the inevitable. We discussed how each of us would want to go, something many people don't talk about. We ended up with pact: Whoever stayed longer on this mortal plane would not deliver a eulogy or write an obituary for the other.

That deal was never brought up again. Not until April 7 last year when Steve suddenly reported to the Supreme Editor. As news of his passing on spread, some colleagues in media started asking me for an obit. It was understandable as Steve and I worked together for more than a decade bedding the Baguio Midland Courier and, later, the Baguio-Cordillera Post. But I was out of my bearings, confused and groping to make sense of the sudden transition.

I made a mess of myself with booze.

Steve understandably didn't tell his wife Lulay and daughter Lu-an about the unusual pact. Given the morbid thought it would evoke and the hurt it would inflict on those dearest to us, I, too, didn't reveal it to Becky and our kids Beng and Boogie, or to anyone until Domcie.

On the second night of the wake on a Maundy Thursday, Lulay saw me without a jacket. She immediately took out Steve's favorite and had me wear it against the evening cold. She asked her daughter if she remembered me. Lu-an, the toddler I saw now grown into a comely 22-year-old answered, "Of course, he's the uncle who fell from our roof while trying to gather guavas!"

Lulay asked if I could say something after the funeral mass, before Steve was to be laid to rest beside his father, the venerable Sinai Carino Hamada, at the city's public cemetery. The Baguio boy that he was, and is to us, Steve, I thought, would understand why I had to accede. A funeral is also for the living, for those who mourn, and a word or two won't hurt but help console. After all, Steve, with whom I shared secrets of the soul, relished narrating how he tried, and failed, to follow the rule of silence in a spiritual retreat he underwent in childhood. "After two days of silence, I went to the priest-in-charge and confessed I had to utter a word."

The worst (or best) punishment you can mete media is to make them silent. They speak out their truth, even beyond the regular broadcast or the printed page. Here in Baguio, we speak our pieces late into the evenings, not in unison but often at the same time, especially when alcohol begins to sharpen the brain and loosen the tongue, or the other way around.

We learned to speak our pieces, sometimes with lips frothing, through the bullhorn in college. Willy Cacdac, Joe Dacawi and the rest who preceded us in the parliament of streets, did the live broadcast of those protests that they actually helped hatch for us. In the wake of their coverage, they lost their jobs and eventually joined the establishment, in the same rut I'm in right now. Steve came home from a promising but highly competitive career with IBM advertising to help live out the four guideposts of community journalism that his illustrious father established - fair, fearless, friendly and free. He inherited a staff in Oswald Alvaro and my brother Joe. He found the two friendly and struggling to be fair, fearless and free.

He took me into the Courier in 1980, a cub reporter expected to earn his wings. He saw through my burden of having to fit Joe's shoe and guided me on, despite putting up a front of being tough and stern, as editors are known to be. Later, I realized he was in a more unenviable position. In the words of younger generation newsman Frank Cimatu, Steve struggled to climb Mt. Sinai, whom he venerated.

We discussed and argued a lot, before, during and after press work. Curiously, I can't remember now any of those things we debated on. What I can't forget was that time we fell asleep on our desks and woke up to a nightmare. Without waking us up to proofread the editorial Steve had labored on with his antique Underwood, the printer ran almost all copies of the opinion page. The editorial, which was set on linotype, was garbled beyond any sense. Steve was visibly aghast, only to be devastated when the printer turned into a Job's comforter. "Saan ka kadi nga madanagan, ading Steve; ammom met nga awan to agbasbasa ti editoryal (Don't worry, ading Steve; you well know nobody reads editorials)," the printer offered to console him.

In 1985, Steve, with nary a stripping knife or table, much less a printing machine, started out on his own and launched the Baguio-Cordillera Post, another weekly. He took me in to the Hamada home in Camp 7 where we labored within the limited givens. We had his mother, Ma'am Gerry, wife Lulay, sister Briggs and even nieces Dooly and Tanya as our cooks. I also had him as my driver aboard his brother Lionel's 4x4.

The Post folded up after more than five years, but not after serving as the training ground for Rene Acantilado, Norris Falguera and other younger journalists molded by Steve.

Steve later wrote a column for the Sun.Star Baguio Daily, served Baguio in other capacities, including being director of the local water district. Together with Peppot, Willy Cacdac and Gerry Evangelista, he ran for the City Council and the four newsmen lost.

Steve repaired back to Camp 7 and turned to painting while serving as nurse to his grandson, Joshua, now three.

With this, I've broken our pact again. (mailto:rdacawi@yahoo.com for comments)
(April 11, 2005 issue)

Friday, September 7, 2007

Nope, Not Complaining! At All.

Am extremely sleepy. Apparently, the husband decided to crash on our bed last night - early this morning I should say - 3 AM to be exact. We have not slept on the same bed (except during family vacations when we stay in hotels) since Josh was born because we practice co-sleeping. SO when Josh transitioned to sleeping alone on his bed, a few months after, the little one came. So anyway, apparently the husband was having a bad dream and was scared to death and said he wanted to be beside me.

NOT A GOOD IDEA to have 3 people in one queen size bed ESPECIALLY if the baby boss is used to gobbling up 3/4 of the bed space.

So, the remaining time from 3 AM to waking up time which is 6 AM was spent listening to this one big loud snoring machine beside me and trying to calm down a very angry, upset, disappointed baby who could not move around much because of constrained space.

And me being a very light sleeper would wake up every time the mad baby would whimper and complain. He even for a time, got my hand, put in on his head and started to make the stroking motion (done with his eyes closed, very clever baby) and when I would stop stroking his hair or head or whatever, he would start his whimpering again.

The next thing I knew or heard was a baby who just kept saying ma-ma-ma-ma-ma while forcing my eyes open with his fingers. The sun was out.

-
Got an invitation yesterday. Addressed to "the heirs of the late Steve Hamada..."
My Dad is going to be awarded the "Nany Rosa Journalism Award" given to journalists who have passed away but who have contributed to mass media in the City.

Am one proud daughter. I may cry at the event later.
-

Good morning everyone.

Thursday, September 6, 2007

Before Meals



Dear Lord,


thanks for Mom and Dad and Dash and me

we pray for protection and blessings

and respectful

and toys

and Lola and Lolo (grandparents)

and patient

and school
and Pooh bear

- and I remind him about the food-

ah yes, thanks for the food


Amen!


That Knot In My Tummy

That's how I have been feeling for the past 2 days. Well since I got the call from the new company I will be working for. Here's the deal, I will NEED to get some training in Manila, (a good 5 hours away from where I live) and I will probably have to be there for a month. A whole month. Hotel accommodations will be paid for BUT I will not survive 5 whole days without seeing my husband and kids (because I can go home on weekends). I may be jumping to conclusions or stressing myself out over nothing because I have not expressed my need to bring my family with me yet. Which I plan to do.

But seriously, I really cannot leave my family for that long a time. It will not be good for them and for me. I need to be able to be with them so that I do not get dysfunctional. Really. I am that way. 2 or 3 days is fine, but 5 days for four weeks? No way. I am going to go crazy! I have been thinking about this and have been praying that things be ironed out and will end up for the good of everyone.

Change and adjustment is really something we all have to deal with. But sacrificing too much, like family, should not be put on the line.

So here's to praying for the best and keeping the faith that things will work out just fine. Here's to hoping that knot disappears soon. I dislike this feeling. Very Much.

Monday, September 3, 2007

Climbing and Blankies

If I had a magic wand, I would doing some magic so that their liking for such will change roles.

Why do my kids hate them? Blankets, I mean. It has always been a problem with Josh and looks like Dash is disliking it very much as well.

So, I wait until they are in deep sleep and that's when I pounce on them and wrap them warmly in their soft blankies. And then begins the struggle. Josh can do it in a much simpler fashion. What he does, he just needs to give it one big kick - and then it's off him. But the little one, the struggle lasts a bit longer. So as I said, I cover them when they are in very deep sleep - or so I think. So I put his blanky over him, just up to his chest. Look away and count to three. And then there is kicking - lots and lots of it. Then turning and turning - on his belly back to his back and onto his belly again and even gets into crawling position, done with his eyes closed of course - deep sleep, remember? And then grunting and whimpering. More kicking. Until, I finally give in and remove the blanket.

What's up with that?

It is getting cold around here. As we approach the "ber" months, the air is getting cold and crisp and the cold really bites. No such thing as heaters in the house so we totally rely on warm clothes - one on top of another and warm blankies.

And their love for climbing. What high do these kids get when climbing?

Seriously, we have a mountain a few minutes from the house and would gladly have Jet drive them up their and climb all day long. I mean they climb tables, chairs, shelves, stools, drawers. Josh has been attempting to climb the wall. And they are way too happy when they are able to escape our arms and climb. I understand that climbing encourages the development of this and that but talk about the heart attacks I never fail to almost always get. Geez. Well talk about my motor skills development, I can catch things - almost anything, including 1 year old kids - very fast even if I see it at the corner of my eye, I have become a very fast runner and have come to love the adrenalin rush.

And again, that magic wand. How precious it would be if climbing in the house on almost anything be quite disliked and blankies covering them on a cold night be well liked. Ahh.

Friday, August 31, 2007

All Geared Up

Well at least it looks like someone is ready for the rainy season.


It took me almost an hour though to convince him to remove it.

Thursday, August 30, 2007

Enjoy It

I can be a complainer. Oh yes I can. I can sit and complain ALL-DAY-LONG. But should I?

I have been reading a lot of Mommy blogs. A lot of posts to which I agree that yes, indeed, motherhood is NOT easy. It never will be. Once motherhood becomes easy, I think we will have to come up with a new word with a whole new different meaning. For some people the quest to being a mother in the first place is where all the hardship begins. For some, it is during the pregnancy itself. But for all of us, as soon as the child is born so begins our journey.

The sore feeling after you have just given birth. Breastfeeding. The sleepless nights. The cough or the colds or the fever. Diaper changing. A trip to the mall. A 5 day family trip. Gas pains. Unexplainable crying. The carrying of the baby - who is as heavy as a solid rock or a sack of potatoes.

I love being a Mom. Yes I do. I love it. I love the baby smell. The soft skin. The milestones. The dressing up. The cuddling. Conversations with a 5 year old. His wit. The school programs. The art work.

But it will happen faster than I can imagine. Soon I will be a graduate. And will I miss it? Yes I will. Every second of it. I will miss the stinky poo. The heavy large baby. I will miss the drool. I will look for the sleepless nights. I will miss it.

But I do not want to think about it just yet. I will enjoy every single minute of it.

Even if last night I was sleeping very lightly from 12-4am because Dash was very restless and could not get into comfortable deep sleep. Because me, his great Mom thinking he was a big boy now failed to realize that he poo'd and needed a diaper change in the middle of the night. Because the last time I changed a dirty nappy in the middle of the night was 12 months ago.

Oh I will miss those moments.

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Suddenly Feeling Sore

Got an email from my Aunt (mom's sister). All of them (mom's brother's and sister's) all met up in Chicago to attend my
cousin's wedding . Clearly, they all had a love filled time together. And I am sure my Mom would have had the best time of her life.

She's the only not around.

I feel bad.

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Trusting

Many, many, many realizations. Decisions made. Prayers said.

I handed in my resignation letter last August 22. I decided to talk to my boss personally. I felt that was the best way - professionally as well - to approach the whole thing instead of sending an email or just leaving my resignation letter on top of her table. Initially, she thought it was a bad joke. Obviously not.

Backtrack. I am reigning? I finally am?! Yes but not to be a SAHM - I wish!

More than a month ago, I got a call. From a bank. They were asking if I was interested in working with them. I was surprised. And then I got excited - beacuse as I wrote before, change is beautiful . But thinking deeper, thinking further, I found myself rather scared.

I pray all the time. And in this one big decision I had to make, I found myself praying harder. I said "Lord, not what I want but what you want. Not my will but Yours."

I no longer want to waste any more time. Any more energy. Any more effort. On things which are not supposed to be.

And so I trust. I trust in His amazing will. I do not know what tomorrow will bring but, I trust.

Thursday, August 23, 2007

Mr. Teddy


"Here is Edward Bear, coming downstairs now, bump, bump, on the back of his head, behind Christopher Robin. It is, as far as he knows, the only way of coming downstairs, but sometimes he feels that there really is another way, if only he could stop bumping a moment and think of it. And then, he feels that perhaps there isn't. Anyhow, here he is at the bottom, and ready to be introduced to you. Winnie-the-Pooh." A.A. Milne.

-

Everyone had a bear when they were a kid. I had a small brown one - who I loved dearly. Dilly was his name - given by a lady named Dolly (mom's friend).

Josh has one - a Pooh bear given to me by my friend and taken from me by Josh when he was 2. Pooh used to be a plump, fluffy, bright yellow teddy bear. He saw his bear hanging on the clothesline once - I failed to hide it from him - and he almost freaked out. He saw Pooh once in the dryer and didn't know what to make of it. He sleeps with Pooh. He buries his face on Pooh's tummy when he cries. He hides behind Pooh's head when he is watching something scary. He wrestles with Pooh. He tosses the Pooh-r bear around.
When he was younger, we would agrue about me not allowing him to tag along the 24" bear to the mall.
But a teddy bear isn't a teddy bear unless it is all worn out - never mind his limp arms, his worn out nose. Never mind if he has lost his shirt. Never mind. He is after all, a teddy bear.


He loves his bear.


I think his brother will too.




Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Old Wives's Tale - Not!

When you have a sick baby, all you ever wish for is for his hyperactivity to return - no kidding. You will find yourself wishing that your kid be his normal naughty, silly, non-listening-to-what mommy-says self again.

And so what do you do?

Tender Loving Care of course and nice hot bowl of Chicken Broth. My Mom and Dad would always tell me that Chicken Soup is the best for colds and flu.

I read through my book , through the chapter on "special concerns" like when the baby gets sick and I came upon a short article on the Old Wives's tale on Chicken Broth which is not such and old wives's tale after all. And researching further, Chicken Soup / Broth has been used since
ancient times . This powerful soup is also packed with lots of nutrients, check out Susie’s recipe.


I add lots of ginger to mine.
In no time, your sick Little baby will be back on his feet . . . .





Tuesday, August 21, 2007

My Date And The Trip To The E.R.

Last Saturday, I was pleased when hubby said he was not feeling well and was not up to making a quick trip to the mall. So Jet instructed Josh to accompany me. While driving to the mall, I remembered how frequent Josh and I would do things together BEFORE Dash came along. So I took the time to take my little man out on a date.
I was just so relaxed. Going to the mall with a 5 year old is much less stressful than with a 1 year old. No baby bag, no diapers, no milk - it was something I appreciated very much.
First we went to have his haircut, went around a bit and then we had a snack. While eating, I noticed Josh kept staring at other people - it annoyed me. So, I told him to stop staring at other people to which Josh replied "stop talking while your mouth is full." OK.
We had a great time together. It was something I really missed. And so did Josh as he told me we should do it again sometime - just me and him.
We definitely will.
-
Come Sunday morning, Dash had a fever. I gave him paracetamol but I noticed the fever did not want to go away. Come Sunday night, Dash was very very hot, his temp reached a high of 39.5 C. He was very restless and could not sleep. Plus he did not want me to lie down, he would cry whenever I would. So I had to sit down beside him. At 6AM of Monday morning, he no longer looked good. He was red as a tomato - the ripest tomato, that is. Since the peed would be available by 10AM and I was very very worried, I told hubby that the E.R. would be the best thing to do already. So, I packed a bag for Dash - just to make sure I had a set of complete things just in case the little guy would be confined.
When we got to the E.R. Dash just started to cry his heart out. I just had to keep asking the nurses and the doctor to repeat what they were saying because Dash was screaming in my ear the whole time and every time the nurses would try to make cute faces at him, the louder he would scream.
Diagnosis: Upper Respiratory Track Infection a.k.a. The Cough
Verdict: No Need For Confinement. Yahoo!
The doctor just prescribed a whole bunch of meds - which included antibiotics.
BUT yesterday was still hellish because Dash refused to be put down or carried by anyone else but me. He wanted the paci in his mouth the whole time and refused to let go of his sippy cup. He kept fighting his sleep as well. And he kept crying. Yes, he was a very normal sick little baby.
Angels in heaven started to sing when Dash finally closed his eyes and did not wake up till 630 this morning.
And now the muscles on my left arm hurt so bad. But at least Dash is feeling much better.
And yes, the weekend was still great.

--
I love you all and thanks for the comments you left me in my last post.

Thursday, August 16, 2007

Thoughts and Realizations

I've been going through a lot lately. Been thinking about so much. Decisions that have to be made. Choices laid out before me. And I have found myself looking for someone to talk with, to get some words of wisdom from. Mental and emotional stress is much much much harder to handle than physical stress. I would join the an iron man contest right now in exchange for all this thinking and feeling!

I used to ask my Mom about everything. And my Dad would often think out loud even if I didn't ask him (because I was too scared of a very lengthy discussion). And lately, I have been looking for "what she would have said" moments to help me make decisions. It's not that whatever she said she thought I should do is what I would do. It's just that hearing what she thought about it, what she felt about it, what she thought I should do about it just gave me more insights on the situation and allowed me to think beyond my initial perceptions. And with my Dad, he was just so full of wisdom. When he would make me sit down on the dinner table, he would express his thoughts and a lot of times what he would say would be painfully true but just listening to him made me feel the love he had for me - that what he wanted for me was always the best. And although my Mom was a worrier, when I would listen to what she said, there was a certain peace in her voice which calmed me. I miss them.

And now I find myself trying to get around in this world. Like a blind person trying to cross the street alone. Sometimes I think that if I had a sibling, things would have been different. I love my family yes - I love Jet and I love my kids. And I talk to Jet and am very open to him about everything but there are certain times when he is just there to listen. Sometimes he really does not know what to say. And I totally understand that. And I guess it is for that reason that I am looking for the 'unsolicited advise' my parents would always give me - something I may have taken for granted. Yes I took it for granted. And look what I am looking for right now. It is different when you hear it from someone who is wise and who knows who very well because then they also know how to approach you.

It is tough. And all this is making me tougher.


Is it good or bad?