Turning 34

The thing about having a birthday-person-husband is it slowly rubs on you, whether you like it or not. I think I’ve written about this a few years back: I’m not a birthday person but not in a grinch kind of way. I just prefer to go through the day in peace without the frivolities. But yes, I married a birthday person and we are on quarantine so I have nowhere to go. Haha!

My day officially started with a lovely greeting from my loves — the husband and the little ones. Husband surprised me once again with this sunny bouquet while Frodo and Eleven adorably watches on.

Lovely morning surprise from the husband and the grumble

Happy with this mañanita (lol), I treated them to a Japanese lunch from one of our favorites, Boteyju — albeit in takeout boxes. I made sure I have all our favorites – even the ramen, which is now available for delivery. Yay! The little ones had a slice of chashu from the ramen, too, for their lunch. Lucky!

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Birthday in Takeout Boxes

It rained hard in the afternoon, which is perfect for an afternoon nap. But as with all other birthdays, I still reported to work. Nothing else to do, nowhere to go. So byebye, nap time! I just brought my bouquet near my workstation so I’ll have something sunny and bright to look at despite the gloomy weather.

I must say this is one of the happiest birthdays that I’ve had in a while. I’m very thankful for the gift of family and friends and for the blessing of life. Even though we are on ECQ and in the middle of this pandemic, I’ve never been more hopeful, full of purpose, and feeling more alive than ever.

A different kind of Mother’s Day

Mommy, thank you for teaching me independence and resilience. You’ve always supported me in every step of the way. You’ve always been proud of me, of us, without being overbearing. In most of my problems, when I become too sad that I can’t even bring myself to cry, you cried for me; when I become too jaded to even believe, you prayed for me. And for that, I am forever grateful.

Mama, thank you for teaching me patience and grace. You made me realize that there’s strength in vulnerability and wisdom in silence. It’s so easy loving Cris because you raised him as the man that I’ve always wanted to end up with. You have accepted me as your own since the first day we met. And for that, I am forever grateful.

From both of you, I re-learned faith — not the kind that was taught in school, by my elders, or by society. It is a stronger kind of faith, a faith that resonates even if I don’t shout about it or I don’t impose it on anyone. It is the kind of faith that re-affirmed my belief in a Higher Being.

That not everything could be explained, and that’s ok. That not everything has to make sense, and that’s ok. That everything has a reason for being.

Now that we are all entering a new and exciting phase in our lives, I continuously pray that I exude your strength, resilience, and faith.

I love you both!

November 13, 2015: The day Cris proposed. The day when I said yes to having two mothers.

 

A Holy Place and a Case of Paranoia

“Are you really going to leave your bag?”, the husband asked right before we line up for the Holy Communion.

“Yes”, I answered hesitantly giving it one last look; making sure that it’s secured in the pew pocket where I stashed it.

It was just a short walk towards the lay minister. The whole ordeal did not even take 10 mins but all the while, there was a debate inside my head. The positive side is telling me to chill because it’s a holy place for fucksake. God is literally watching everyone, or so I’d like to think. If not God, at least Jesus who’s floating midair in the altar. So who in his right mind would dare commit blatant robbery inside a church, full with people at that? (Chuckling while typing this because we all know that church robbery is not very uncommon, both from actual criminals or criminals in holy clothing).

The negative side, however, is thinking about all the contents of my bag and how I can replace them if I get robbed. That hey, you’re in the Philippines, a third world country, where snatchers and budol budol* gang abound.

I reached our pew and immediately drew my eyes on where I put my purse. It’s still there. I knelt down and gave my purse a quick squeeze, making it appear like I’m just rearranging it. While making the sign of the cross for my post-communion prayers, I told myself never to leave my personal belongings unattended in the church again.

I need to have peace of mind while receiving the body of Christ.

Amen.

 

*“BUDOLBUDOL” is a coined Hiligaynon word that refers to the swindling hurly-burly of a gang. 

A Lesson on Honks

On our way to the dentist, a motorcycle from another lane suddenly made a sharp u-turn in a restricted area, cutting us off.

The husband did his favorite extended “honk“, his way of saying, “Dude! Not cool!”.

Not surprisingly, the motorcycle made an equally extended, if not longer, “honk“. It was probably his way of saying, “What now, arrogant person?”.

Curiously, I asked: “Does it work? Would he know he’s wrong?”

He answered, “At least you did something. Maybe he’ll think about it later and realize it.”

These are just a few things where our line of thinking differs. For me, someone who deliberately disregards rules would not shed a single minute of his day thinking about the wrong thing that he did. Chances are, he would celebrate how he evaded the traffic, with total disregard of the other drivers on the road. Worse, he’s probably laughing at the rule-abiding-goody-two-shoes who he thinks are just not “street smart” enough. So what’s the use?

But my husband thinks not the same. Where I am the “choose your battles” type of person, he’s the “fight the good fight” kind, you know? Sometimes, I notice that it’s slowly rubbing on me. It’s annoying but quite comforting, I would say.

 

Wakeup Call

Today marks the third day of me waking up early in the morning without the help of my alarm. The past two days, I just spent my extra waking hours just lounging on the bed and trying to get more sleep.

Today, I decided to just get up and hit the gym. It’s been a while since I exercised. And we all know that when you hit a rut on exercising, it’s really hard to bounce back.

While on the treadmill, I listened to a podcast channel that I used to listen to every single day. I remember it was one of the things that kept me motivated while I was training for my half-marathon, at work, and life in general.

And it made me realize one thing: I did not just hit an exercise rut. I hit a life rut.

Sure, things are busy at work, I haven’t had a crying spell for no particular reason in months, I’ve been going out with friends… But something’s amiss…

I don’t feel motivated. I’m doing things just because I have to do them, not because I want to do them.  I don’t have my happy hormones because I haven’t been working out.

The universe is not yet done. The podcast that I listened to today talked about The Time is Now, which hit me quite hard:

When are you going to change?

When are you going to stop making excuses?

When are you going to stop acting like it’s somebody else’s fault?

When will you finally start doing what it is that you want to do? Or stop doing the things that you don’t want to do anymore?

Benjamin Franklin said, “Most people die at 25, but they’re not buried until they’re 75.” In most ways, it’s true. We say adulting is really hard so we just let the life motions control us, instead of us taking charge.

Why don’t I reverse it? If I’m not going to do anything today, I’ll never gonna do it.

So I did. And I don’t plan to stop.

Again.

Karaoke Hits

Dear Sister,

Let me tell you about that one Christmas when our Mother cried because of a karaoke. You know that one baby picture that you keep in your phone? The one with you on a shiny, pink dress with a black karaoke behind you? Yes, that’s the one. Well, not quite, but I’m getting ahead of myself.

As you know, we had a very simple life growing up. So “normal” household things like karaokes is not something that we naturally had.

Mommy was teaching at an elementary private school at that time and preparing for her classroom Christmas party. She wanted the party to be livelier for the kids but our ancient dial radio won’t do. It does not even have a fully working speaker and cassette tape jack.

And so, she decided to borrow our neighbor’s karaoke. He agreed right away. It was just for a day, anyway.

But this story is not that simple.

On the day of the party, Mommy went to the neighbor’s to pick up the karaoke. But it was his sister who answered and, apparently, she’s not aware of his brother’s deal with Mommy. So she said some things which hurt our mother deeply.

She went back to the house in tears; half-hurt, half-self pity. I really don’t know. She didn’t say much. Even when the boy neighbor went to our house and was offering to lend their karaoke again. He apparently forgot to inform his big sister. She probably didn’t mean to sound mean.

But our Mother wouldn’t take it. I guess when you have not much material things in life, your pride is the only thing you hold on to.

The world did not stop. The day went by. The party was over. And Mommy went home, happier than when she left. She said that her co-teacher in the next room just blasted her karaoke so it can be heard in Mommy’s room. When you have a roomful of gifts and Christmas decors, the kids won’t really mind if you don’t have your own music in the room.

In the evening, there was another party in our baranggay. There was a raffle and Mommy dropped entries equally under our names. Kuya, me, and you – a tiny baby without a care in her world.

Perhaps the middle child syndrome is so strong that it resonated even in mundane things such as raffle draws. Kuya won something; I can no longer remember. I did not.

And you, little sister, won the grand price. A brand new karaoke!

The moment it was announced, Kuya and I ran back home. Kuya shouting,

“Mommy, di ka na mang-uuram kina bleep!”

“Mommy you no longer have to borrow from the neighbors!”

Mom got teary eyed again. But this time, out of happiness.

The Gender Divide

It started with a post on the group chat regarding a petition. In a not so popular high school in a city I consider as my second home, a group of boys decided to disseminate compromising pictures of their ex-girlfriends. The victims’ side are claiming not to let them officially graduate. This has been going on for 2 or 3 years now thus, the petition. All of the involved are minors.

I don’t have the full picture and background so I feel it’s not my place to specifically discuss them here. I will, however, wanted to ask this: Who’s to blame?

Everyone agreed that it was wrong of them to publicize the pictures. But I was mildly surprised that the take on those girls who sent the pictures to their boyfriends in the first place were polarizing. Points like “how can these girls be so naive?”, “If there are no pictures, there will be nothing to send out for the whole world to see”, “why are we making such a big deal about this?”, and the clincher of it all: “If it’s the other way around , if this happened to the boys instead, will we still react the same and show the same fervent support?”

Which got me thinking: In this day and age, does everything still boils down to gender?

It’s baffling. When we have sexual issues such as this at hand, why do we always feel the need to present a counter-argument that divides us into two: Boys vs Girls.

Is it too difficult to just focus on what the actual issue is and just say that A is right and B is wrong? Why do we feel that by putting a gender label to it, the issue automatically feels complex?

Towards the end, we all agreed that:

(1) it was wrong to publicize the pictures and the boys should not earn the rights to officially graduate from the high school,

(2) while sharing compromising pictures to your partner is bordering on naivete, it’s normal and it’s your decision but you should be ready for any possible repurcussions,

(3) both victims and transgressors should be spared of public humiliation since they are all minors and they still deserve a future.

But the clincher is still a clincher.

Prayer on Repeat

Dear Lord, 

Thank You for making we wake up and get up. 

This has been my daily prayer for the past months. Simple and to the point. A daily reminder that I need to be deserving of every chance earned.

They say that every day is a new beginning. Having the chance to wake up and experience another day again is a gift because you get to be blessed or become a blessing. And if you’re really lucky, you get to be both.

Yes, you’ve earned it. But it doesn’t stop there.

Aside from waking up, you need to get up. For without the getting up, you’re just a lump on your bed, one with your sheets and pillows. For without the getting up, you rob yourself of making the most of the day.

A day that not everyone gets. A day that not every one has.

On Dates and Memories

As a kid, I felt the need to memorize my family’s birth dates because how could I not? They’re family. My father’s, my mother’s, my brother’s and later on, my kid sister’s.

As I grew a little older birthdate memorization extended to Lolos and Lolas, Titos and Titas, cousins, and close friends.

And much later on, the range extended not just on birthdates but on other life milestones, too — monthsaries, anniversaries, the day you first met, your pet’s birthday…

Dates are always associated with memories and with it comes the good and the bad. It can get too overwhelming, too, that sometimes, we feel the need to downplay it. Monthsary celebrations are limited to anniversaries, even your couple anniversary become overshadowed by your wedding anniversary, because one just can’t have that many of a celebration!

But my current question is this:

When it comes to babies and losses, which date do you keep?

The day you found out you were pregnant, the expected delivery date, or the day that you lost your baby?

Do you reminisce the happiness, be nostalgic at the feeling of anticipation, or commemorate the loss?

It’s a little tricky is it not? But amidst this confusion, I hope that I find clarity…