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.

 

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. 

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

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.

Postcard to Self: Bicol

Being in a different place gives you a different perspective in life, sometimes to the point of a much needed realization. So I started this travel habit of sending postcards to myself.

It’s like having a time travelling journal. You get to write down your current thoughts and a few weeks later, your future self gets to read them. The romanticism of it all speaks volume to me.

So imagine my disappointment when I couldn’t find a single postcard in Legazpi when I vacationed there. Plenty of cards for Boracay, Davao, and Cebu but our conical beauty was missing. Drats!

However, I’m not one to break a budding habit just yet. I’m going to use one of my photos instead (which I hope is close enough to the commercially sold ones) as my postcard to self.

Quitinan, Camalig, Albay

Dear, Future Dada.

I hope that as you get old, you cling to good memories more. Let her presence be a reminder of your happy childhood, of a home that you can always retreat to when living in the city gets too stressful.

Life will sometimes be hard, like a bumpy and tiring tricycle ride. Life will sometimes scare you, like claps of lightning and thunder on a rainy night.

But through it all, you will always have a family who will enjoy that tiring and bumpy ride with you. You will always have him to hug when the lightning strikes too close.

You will always have your rainbow. Your Phoenix will surely come.

Love,

Presently Hopeful Dada

P.S. She’s truly majestic, isn’t she?

 

These were my exact thoughts while we’re on our way back from an afternoon hike at Quitinday Hills. We rented a tricycle to and fro, and the ride back to the main town got a little scary. It was raining hard, almost a storm, and lightning bolts were illuminating the dark, cloudy skies. But despite the difficult and scary journey, we got back safe and happy. And that’s what matters most.

Same as in life…

Postcard to Self: Malaysia

I considered our trip to Malaysia last October as a moment to reflect. When I booked it with Cris, I didn’t know yet that I was pregnant. When I found out that I was, however, we immediately dismissed it.  See, it coincided with my expected delivery date.

But then, I had the miscarriage. After thinking it through, we decided to push through with the trip. It could be a good breather for both of us.

In one of the evenings, I found myself on top of the Menara KL, the tallest telecommunications tower in Southeast Asia. It gave me a great bird’s eye view of the city. From where I was, I could also see the Petronas Twin Towers, which is Malaysia’s signature tourist gem.

Enjoying the city lights made me reflect on where I was at that moment — emotionally. They said that approaching your EDD after a miscarriage is an emotional battle.

It was.

Talking to family and friends could only do so much. There will come a time when you yourself would think that they’ve had enough of your stories. It’s the war-against-yourself that’s harder to win.

You and only you could fully help yourself to recover.

With this in mind, I found myself buying a cheap postcard in one of the souvenir shops and writing… to myself.

 

Some may think that it’s pathetic to write to yourself. Don’t you have friends who can write to you? 

But it proved to be therapeutic.

Especially, when I finally received the postcard a month after.

I would like to tell my past sad self that my present self is doing well. She is getting on her feet again and excited to fully recover. She is happy that the Presently Sad Dada is a thing of the past.