Eleven @ 1

Our darling Eleven turned 1 today! I consider her our lucky charm because ever since she lived with us, it has been nothing but good news for our family. Despite the pandemic, we’re still very much safe and comfortable in our home, cooped up with her and Mr. Frodo.

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First family picture with our Eleven

Initially, Mr. Frodo was a little jealous of her. He’s been our baby for the longest of time and the new addition was foreign to him. Little by little, they learned to live together and even romantic at times, except when they’re fighting over food scraps. Haha!

Eleven is quite the opposite of Mr. Frodo now, but she very much reminds me of him when he was little. She’s very playful since she’s still a puppy. She can be feisty sometimes, but always obedient when I give commands. She waits very patiently when we’re having our meals before asking for her snacks. She learned how to pray and “say” amen before every meal in just a day!

She reminds me of the lamb in that children song because she follows me everywhere I go, even to the restroom!

And every where that Mary went, the lamb was sure to go…

Every time I hear this song on Spotify, I can’t help but sing it to her, modifying the lyrics so it fits her. She would look up at me with those big, brown, puppy eyes and listen intently. Adorable! Whereas Mr. Frodo hates all the singing and dancing that we do, Eleven seems to enjoy it.

We’re happy because Barkin’ Bakes is now open for pickup and delivery. We ordered a paw cake for her so she and Mr. Frodo can have their little lick and smash celebration:

Here’s a short video that I made to commemorate this day. Enjoy watching!

A Quarantined Celebration

At the stroke of midnight, Cris gave a little surprise for Mother’s Day. For the past 3 years, he’s been greeting me and treating me out for Mother’s Day because of Ezra, our baby in heaven. This year is a little different but he did not let the ECQ stop him.

He remembered how much I love dark chocolate and macadamia so I was really happy with his little surprise.

I wanted to prep something special for lunch so I asked him to get some meat cuts on his last grocery run. I wanted to have samgyeopsal (Korean BBQ) at home so we can have a little taste of normalcy. I also wanted to use our electric hotpot & grill, which has been sitting in our kitchen cupboard for so long. Original plan is to cook and eat in our balcony, but it was a logistics nightmare. As a workaround, we just made use of our good old grill pan and sauce pan and cooked in our stove instead.

Our lunch menu was ssamjang soup — pork broth seasoned with soybean paste, samgyeopsal — pork belly, and chadolbaegi — thin slices of beef brisket. I made a quick video about it because I’m currently having so much fun with my phone’s movie editor tool. Haha! Forgive me!

It really makes me happy when I cook and prepare meals for my husband, especially when he really enjoys it and not just pretend that it tastes good. 🤣

He gave me another surprise but that deserves another post. 😉

Afternoon was spent praying The Holy Rosary in honor of the Blessed Virgin Mary (and as requested by our Mama so we can’t really say no). And since it’s still ECQ, we did it over Zoom.

I hope that on Father’ Day, we can already go out and celebrate but that might be wishful thinking for now. Our ECQ has been extended for another 2 weeks and who knows what will happen by end of the month.

Despite all the restrictions, I’m still very thankful for the gift of life, love, and family.

A Spaghetti Story

When we were just dating, Christian shared with me his favorite spaghetti recipe. Up until then, the only pasta that I know how to cook is my roommate’s spicy tuna carbonara. Really simple because you only need to mix the canned tuna and the cream, let it simmer, then mix with your cooked spaghetti, or any other type of pasta that you want.

His recipe was a bit complicated for me then, a kitchen novice. It involved mincing garlic and onions, slicing hotdogs (Yes! We have hotdogs in our spaghetti because we’re born and raised in the Philippines! Haha!), pre-cooking the grounded beef, and perfectly mixing together his secret ingredients to make his preferred sauce. He’s not a fan of sweet spaghetti, like most Pinoys. He wants it tomato-ey and a bit spicy, thus, his “secret sauce”. Even the pasta, he wanted a very specific way of prepping.

All well and good if he actually prepped and cooked it from time to time, but no. He instructs, I execute.

Through the years, I’ve come to perfect his spaghetti recipe. I remember including in my silent wedding vow that I will cook his favorite spaghetti on his birthdays. Silent because we didn’t really say our vows out loud in front of everyone. But I’m getting out of topic.

Anyway, today is not his birthday but he’s been very stressed by work lately. In my effort to take a bit of his stress away, I went ahead and prepped his favorite meal. And I’m happy that it put a smile on his face.

I’ve read that to make a marriage work and to keep the love alive, you don’t need to do monumental gestures every single time. It’s the little things that matter that you consistently do.

You just need to know what makes your partner smile and you try your best to be a constant source of that smile.

Happy Barkday, Mr. F!

Dear Mr. Frodo, 

I still remember when I first saw you. You and your sister were in a playpen but you, my boy, caught my eye. You know why? Before we even approach you, you were already standing on your two hind legs and resting your two little paws against the playpen, barking at me incessantly, looking so happy. It’s as if you were saying, “Pick me, hooman! Pick me!”. 

And I was smitten. 

You were so curious on our drive home, looking out of the car window and can’t seem to get enough of what you’re seeing. Do you still remember what I told you then? 

“Look at the world, Mr. Frodo. Make it yours!”. 

You are a promise silently made and a promise kept.

When your Poppa and I just started dating, I jokingly told him that he should get me a pug if ever we reach our 3rd anniversary. This stemming from the fact that some people thought we wouldn’t last that long. He just shook his head at me, smiling without saying a word. I took it as silently telling me, “You wish!”. 

It didn’t help that after three years, he gifted me with a pug paper craft proudly saying he’s keeping his promise. I thought it was really funny, until he told me that he’s getting me you, for real. I still could not believe it until we were going rounds the pet shops already, looking for the perfect you. 

The morning after, you gave me a fright. You were so sick that I thought I’d lose you. Without taking a shower I took you to the vet and waited nervously for your checkup. The vet told us that you might not live for long and I almost cried. I talked to your previous owner and she assured me that you will live. That she will take you in for two weeks and give you back to me in perfect health. 

And she did.

It was a promise made and a promise kept. 

At that time, I wouldn’t have thought that you will be this mischievous little one who would go and ruin my stuff, sneeze straight on my face as if it’s the most delightful thing in the world, and make me fall and roll around the streets of Tomas Morato while trying to save you from being a roadkill. 

At that time, I wouldn’t have thought that I could trade sleep just so I can keep an eye on you when you’re sick. That I could trade night outs and partying just so we can spend more time together. That I could trade splurging on a meal just so I can buy your favorite snacks and toys. I wouldn’t have thought that I have this much capacity to love a squished faced, sneezy non-human. 

Mr. Frodo, you are one of our earlier relationship milestones and you’ve been with us through every other milestone thereafter. The good and the bad, the happy and not so happy. 

And we wouldn’t have it any other way.

Happy 6th Barkday, Mr. F. We love you and you will always be our baby boy.

That’s a promise that we will always keep. 

His Greatest Fear

This ECQ has proven to be a good time for no nonsense yet hilarious conversations. I was having lunch with my husband one day when he brought up something that surprised me.

“Hey, if ever you go into labor someday, can you make sure that you type the baby’s name first on my phone?”

“Why? Are you having second thoughts?”

We’ve talked about baby names for as long as I can remember. Part excitement, part wishful thinking, I guess. We’ve actually narrowed them down to two, depending on the baby’s gender. Yes, we have become that couple who annoyingly plans for something as if it’s already a reality.

“No. It’s just that… I don’t want to make a spelling mistake”.

This cracked me up! In all of our talks for the past years, this was the first time he’s brought it up. It’s not as if our chosen names are too difficult to spell out. We are not fans of  complicated names that are convoluted with consonants, or vowels, or (gasp!) both.

“It’s one of  my greatest fear you know. Misspelling the baby’s name”. 

Laughing out loud, I assured him that I would do such thing and make sure I put in my pregnancy checklist in the future.

“Ok, I will make sure it’s in your phone and in one of our documents when we pack your hospital bag. But husband… if you ask me, my greater fear is for you to tick the incorrect gender. Yun yung di talaga kita mapapatawad!”

It was his turn to laugh out loud but the look of concern never left his face…

The Things I Love by The One I Love

I love waking up next to you — morning breath and all. A past flame told me that to love someone is hard work. Loving is easy, commitment is not. My younger self dismissed it as something old people say which de-romanticizes my view of what love is. I understand now. And I also understand why my past flame and I never ended up together.

I love telling you about the songs that I like. Even the songs that I don’t like. I love sharing with you how someone could write a happy sounding song that was inspired by a real life crime. And I love how your eyes widen, how your brows furrow as you blurt out, “Sick fuck!”.

I love watching you drive. Your mind fully concentrated on the road ahead, making sure that both of us are safe. And even though driving takes a toll on your stress levels, you still manage to reach out for my hand and hold it for as long as the Manila traffic, motorists, and pedestrians let you.

I love telling you about the books that I’ve read even though most of the time you can’t relate. Your knowledge, and perhaps interest on the subject, could be summarized by your 3-second chuckle.

I love how you immediately reaches for the lavender room spray when I tell you I couldn’t sleep. How you automatically grab the soothing oil and roll it gently over my temples so I can relax and get over my migraines.

I can go on and on. I can list the smallest of things that make me love you and yet, summing them up doesn’t fully quantify and justify what and how I truly feel. They cannot even fully answer the ‘why’.

My Dearest, Husband.

Let me start with an apology.

I ruined your prized Lewis Hamilton shirt. The one that you’re saving for the Singapore Grand Prix this September. The one that was gifted by our valonqar.

I don’t know what’s worse:

(1) Me being so scatterbrained as of late that I tossed it in the washing machine (I was the one who told you to strictly hand wash it because the dryer will ruin it)

Or

(2) You, not even the slightest angry at me.

“Polly, you tossed it in the wash… the print’s melted a bit…”, you said matter-of-factly.

You’ve always been that way with me.

Patient.

Kind…

When we lost Ezra, I was in a very difficult place. So difficult that I made it all about me. Blinded, I failed to see that you were hurting as much as I did.

Heck, it must have been worse for you seeing your wife having difficulty moving on. You probably felt that you not only lost Ezra, but on the brink of losing me, as well.

I read something recently that strongly resonated with me: “You wreck your own life and then, very gently, you wreck the lives of those around you”.

I hope I haven’t wrecked you yet in any way. I hope that I haven’t dampened your spirit.

You’re helping me recover, little by little. You were there for me in every tear, every frustration, every anxiety attack, every insecurity, every back-to-square-one…

Every.single.red line.

And for that, I am very thankful.

My pain is your pain. My loss is equally your loss.

That I should not forget.

You would’ve been a great Papa to Ezra.

I love you.

 

Happy Father’s Day.

 

Always and Forever,

Your Wife

To my Fellow Mothers

I hope this reaches you in one way or another. I hope that this will never be too late. For our struggle is a daily thing. Some just get by faster than others, but I know that slowly we’ll get there…

Yesterday was particularly hard. It’s difficult to celebrate when you are reminded by the loss. I know the dull aching pain that creeps up on you, consuming your whole being. The pain that gives you the sudden migraines and body ache, enough to have an excuse to sleep the day off. It takes a great deal of strength and self control to hold back tears, especially when you see new Moms holding their tiny babies, celebrating with their own families.

I know because I am like you. I lost my little one, too, last year and sometimes, it still feels like it just happened yesterday.

But you know what? We’ll get by. Trust me, we will. We just need to give ourselves time to grieve and heal. Recovery is not a sprint, it’s a marathon. And every runner has a different running style, pace, and endurance.

Whenever I feel so low, I remind myself that I am a Mother to an Angel. And that one day, I’ll be able to hold his tiny little fists, hug him, and kiss him in heaven.. or wherever the afterlife is. And that gives me the strength that I need to make it through the day.

To my Fellow Mothers, I pray for our collective strength, resilience, and faith. Happy Mothers’ Day!

Birth of An Angel

A few days back, I was asking myself what date to keep to remember Ezra by. See, when a mother suffers a miscarriage, we tend to hold on to every little memory that we have of the baby that we haven’t physically held. That includes the dates – the day you found out you were pregnant, the expected delivery date,  the day of the first sonogram, the day you heard a certain song on the radio that connected you, and the day that you lost your baby.

I told Cris about this because it was really bothering me and he came up with an idea: What if we commemorate the miscarriage and treat it as Ezra’s birthday? If we look at it, we did not really lose him. That was the day he became our angel… 

It was a good idea at that time and I was pacified. I loved it! We will go to church first thing in the morning, light a candle for Ezra, and say a little prayer. We will then buy him a cake and sing him a Happy Birthday.

But it turned out that it was a much bitter pill to swallow. The night before the 10th, I was crying myself to sleep. I woke up with swollen eyes, a heavy head, and a way heavier heart. The more I thought about our plans, the sillier they seemed. I was beginning to think of backing out and just crawling back to my bed and just stay there for the rest of the day.

But something clicked. It’s already been a year and I still feel the pain today as if it was still fresh. Then for some reason I got reminded of  a quote from the book Tuesdays with Morrie:

You know what pain is. You know what love is. You know what grief is. And only then can you say, “All right. I have experienced that emotion. I recognize that emotion. Now I need to detach from that emotion for a moment.”

Ezra Prayer

Maybe, the pain and sadness is not really meant to go away. You never really get over a loved one’s death. The feeling just varies in magnitude; some days are just harder than the others. They do come in waves, with their crest and troughs.

But you need to be able to recognize it and acknowledge it so you can compartmentalize. There’s no way around it but through it.

Author John Green agrees with this, too: Pain demands to be felt. 

And so Dear Ezra, let Mama and Papa greet you a Happy Birthday. You still make me sad, but you’re my favorite pain that I will never want to let go.

Ezra Cake