Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Her Own Space

I'm so excited I just can't hide it (Yeah I know, that sounds very 90's) that I was able to blog again after just 2 weeks! Yay! I feel this story is something so notable in my diary I just gotta write.

The past weeks, Sophie had been coaxing us to transform the other room into her own room. For a while, we weren't paying much attention. We co-sleep with both kids and honestly I can do that until they're both grown up and just abhor the thought of still sleeping with their mom. Honestly, the little girl's request didn't run through me that easy. I admitted I had bouts of separation anxiety when there were nights she slept in the other room even without her bed yet.

When friends asked how I got Sophie to like sleeping on her own, I had no answer. It was all her idea, she really has a mind of her own even as a toddler so all the credit to the little girl.

She's 7 and should have a room of her own but this poor mommy cannot endure the idea of sleeping without the kids. Their smell, their foot on my tummy and saliva-smeared faces are like my security blanket. They make the bed cozier and sleep sounder at night. On the first few nights that she slept in the other room I couldn't sleep, waiting for her to knock on the door and 'sleep with Mommy.'

We know we need to give in to a plea that had all the right reasons so 2 weeks ago we bought a double bed for the kids that's convertible to 2 single beds. The other bed's for the little boy because we now know, sadly, 'that day' will come :(

Both kids were so excited with their new lair. The little girl immediately prepped her space with all her kikay stuff and toys. She's so giddy and I started to feel excited for her too. I know this is what she wanted and there's no denying that. Now, she said, all it lacks is an AC. Yeah...right.

So this thing really comes to parents with 7 year olds along with teeth falling out and permanent ones erupting and all the other physical changes going on, friends evolving from toddlers and kids to preteen bffs. Stop! Wait! Prrrrt! I don't think I'm ready yet little girl. You're growing up too fast.

p.s.: Just so I won't get another shock, I asked the little boy if he's ready to sleep in the other room with her Ate Sophie. He said no and I know he really means NO (he wants to sleep with Mommy). What a relief :)

Sunday, September 28, 2014

The Gift of Forgiveness and Healing

If I wrote this post right after the accident, it would start with ‘why!why!why!’ or ‘life is so unfair.’Full of questions and negativity.

But that’s not how this post will run now. That’s not how I view the accident,in retrospect. We've moved on and looking at the bright side.

The gruesome accident involved my son Sam who accidentally punctured his left eye with a metal headband (he was playing alone and got hold of his Ate’s headband) and damaged part of his iris. It took the doctors almost 3 hours to save his eye. 

It was the most grueling 3 hours of my life and I didn't know then which hurt more – the waiting during the operation or being at the OR before the procedure to see my son being sedated prior to operation. At one point it was very thoughtful of the doctors to let me in the operating room because they wanted Sam to see me before he got knocked out by the meds so I immediately agreed but I wasn't prepared emotionally to see the prep procedure. I tried to remain strong and held back my tears for my son.

As the operation went on, I sat alone inside the hospital’s chapel and prayed while my husband waited inside the room waiting for news of the procedure. The amount of tears, the heart-wrenching pain we had to endure as a family, all the agony, it was so surreal and yet so real. As much I wished it was all a bad dream, it wasn’t. I thought I’ll go crazy! 

I prayed for my son’s safety, to bless the doctors who were operating on him, to provide our family with strength, with guidance and with humility to accept whatever He has planned for us.

I just had to ask why although I know we should never question the Lord but I pray for his understanding at that point. A mom who loves his children more than life itself was going through the most traumatic experience. I knew he understood me and heard my plea. 

In between my bouts of cries, I heard this message and it was spot on: 
‘Do not worry about Sam, I will take care of him. I promise you he will be okay. You must never worry and trust that I will take care of everything.’ Just like the sun on a summer sky, the message (and the voice) was clear and it was the most consoling words I heard. God never fails to give refuge to sorrowful hearts. 

Inner turmoil was another hurdle I had to overcome.

After our almost 1 week stay in the hospital after the operation, I took another week off from work to personally take care of him as he continued to recuperate. I was critical over so many things, overly critical if I may say so.  I was critical of the kids’ activities (Sam can’t jump, run, carry heavy things or any strenuous activity), of the things at home that may cause anymore danger even if it doesn't look it (who would've thought an innocent headband can do that to the eye) and most especially of the people who I entrusted to take care of the children while my husband and I work. I was full of criticisms, anger and distrust of anything, of anyone. I was more traumatized than my son, I think.

I was full of negativity but I knew I had to fight it. It was starting to consume me.

I read through chapters of the Bible and pages of devotional books hoping to find guidance and solace. To find the strength to forgive and to move on. Then His message came one day: 

‘If you seek complete healing for your son, you need to be able to forgive. Forgive the people around you and forgive yourself. With anger comes negativity and you must never allow these two in your home. You need to forgive in order to be forgiven, in order to receive the healing’.

The messages I received during those challenging weeks were so to the point and enlightening and I know that I need to obey. There is no other way although it wasn't the easy path.

Sam has regained his eyesight, not yet at 20/20 vision and he’s still on medication. Our regular visits have been cut down from weekly to monthly. He is scheduled for suture removal in the coming weeks which is good news as it means the wound has completely healed. All throughout the process, almost everything was covered by the HMO and medicine allowance provided by our company which another thing to be thankful for. 

God really is a miracle maker and a great provider. If we surrender everything to Him and listen to His message, His will make everything possible for us. 

By now, I can share this story with you. I feel that God has helped us to move on from this traumatic experience. I'm also thankful for the doctors and nurses who took care of Sam. They are the best and made sure my son was well taken care of.  His ophtha doctor Dr. Alejo is the best; so patient, so caring, visiting Sam even on Father's Day. Great thanks also to my family, friends, colleagues who sent messages, gifts and prayers. The simplest text message of encouragement went a long way. 

 I love this quote, it's so apt. 

p.s. pardon the long absence, you see my hands are full the past months. Hope the next blog post won't be 4 months from now :)

Sunday, April 27, 2014

Sam is 5!

A few weeks before Sam's 5th birthday, we asked him what he wants for his birthday. He made a quick rundown :
  • a chocolate cake with cherry on top
  • a trip to Dinosaur Island (he saw the pictures and videos of Ate's field trip here and couldn't get over them),
  • a trip to Thomas Land ( I almost fainted)
  •  new dinosaur toys (he's still into the dinosaur fascination stage),
  •  ice cream, spaghetti and chicken 
  • swim and play all day!
I was too confident we'd grant all his wishes until I heard Thomas Land. We explained to him that we can't go to Thomas Land (yet) as we still need to save for that trip because it's too far from home (in UK where Tito Ian lives) and we need to take the airplane. He understood pretty well. He's happy naman na we're going to Dino Island.

Kids, as they grow older and have a good grasp of what parties and celebrations are all about, should be part of the party planning. It's also important they understand where budget comes in and what is feasible and not. This way, they'll be able to know the concept of money, manage their expectations and still get to enjoy their day.

So we're off to Dinosaurs Island in Clark.

During the trip to the park, my husband kept on joking that were going to Baguio City instead and they both squealed 'NO!' (They can read the signs 'To Baguio' along NLEX) They're so excited to go to Dino park, even our fave vacation spot doesn't appeal to them. Lol.

Finding the theme park was a little challenge since we don't frequent Clark, Pampanga and there's not much human in sight save for the guards on-duty. Thank God for Google maps and GPS.
Just want to share too that we were saddened that the town looks too forgotten - unfinished construction, abandoned buildings, hotels and houses. I love driving along Subic and Clark because of the wide roads and organized traffic system. I hope something can be done with Clark.

Anyway, we finally reached the theme park. Our little celebrant was so mesmerized by the animatronics dinosaurs. He was simply starstruck the whole time! We couldn't get him to look at the camera, he was too busy digesting everything in site.

Every time we walked to a different dinosaur on display, he would demand for me to read and explain about the creature - did it eat meat or plants? why the spikes? does it have sharp teeth or not? etc. 

Ate Sophie finally got to try the T Rex experience. She wasn't able to do this during her field trip because of the long line. 

We also tried the Jurassic Jungle Safari ride. I bought the ride tickets online and since we availed of the safari ride, we got discounts on the entrance fee to the theme park. Sweet deal! Not a sweet ride for the kiddos, though. While ate Sophie was screaming and crying the whole ride, Sam pretended to be invisible and curled up into a ball on his seat once he spotted a dinosaur. It's his way of surviving daw so he won't get eaten. I don't know where he got that but it's really cute :)

Can you guess who's more excited to be here? My crazy husband! Honey, there's such a thing as underacting in theater and you need to learn that.

Next, we took the almost 1 hour drive to Subic for lunch. Long drive really but we were all hungry for Meat Plus Cafe's burgers and ribs. Once again, Meat Plus didn't disappoint. My grilled salmon was heavenly (I'm trying to eat more fish and glad they serve seafood on the menu) :)

The highlight of our lunch was a surprise ice cream sundae with cherry on top for our celebrant. He was too ecstatic to blow the candle and eat his ice cream which he shared with all of us. He is a kid who doesn't mind sharing his food. After he tasted his very first cherry he said, 'Mommy, I don't want cherry on my cake anymore.'

Those are few wishes off his list plus a little shopping for the kids and adults hihi. 

He went shopping for a new pair of cool shades. 

Across Meat Plus we found this wall of white and red. Kewl!

Sam showing off his new loot. 

And did he say play all day? Why not! Swim all day too, they did. Well, not really all day... :)

On the day of his birthday, we got him his chocolate cake. No more cherry on top but I placed all the toys (cleaned well) he loves in those five years - Thomas and Friends, Bumble Bee and dinosaurs.

Oh and, of course, that spaghetti and chicken and some more favorites like our homemade cookies, fruits and chips for the movie night.

Yep, as a bonus, a Dinosaur movie night and mini party with his friends.

My son has always been Mr. Entertainer. Such a goofball! 

 Happy birthday to our little Mr. Energetic! Thank you for bringing so much joy in our life and for keeping our brain cells working overtime with your mind-boggling, tricky questions :) We wouldn't have it any other way. We love you much much :)

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

A Late Birthday Post: Turning 38

I've been contemplating (too long it’s April na) on what to write as a birthday post. As I shared, I turned 38 last March. Honestly, I have so many drafts for a birthday post and, ironically, they ended up unfinished. Somehow, I just can’t find the right amount of inspiration to end it and publish. Plus, life offline is so so busy. 

So here’s another attempt. This time I’m writing 8 things I learned since I became 30, that monumental part of my life where everything just took a 5th gear to where I am now.
I was 30 when I got married and got pregnant to my first born five months later. It was also at that time that, consequently, I moved out of my parents’ house and started my own family. I was around that age too when I got promoted to managerial position. Overwhelming 3-0 really. 

After years of what seem to be a roller coaster ride (I have a love-hate relationship with roller coasters), I’m here now sharing the things I learned. Off course, if given the time, I’d write more but for now, let’s keep it to 8 important truths in life as I see it (in no particular order):
  • Motherhood is no walk in the park. Some of the most hair-pulling, grueling experiences I came across as a mom were never shared in books, on the internet; not even my mom was able to share half of the hardships of parenting. Each parent needs to experience the journey, learn from it and grow with it. There will be a time when trial and error is the only option you have but the end in mind is always what's best for the family. That is our battle cry in this chaos of parenting. It's a fun ride, nevertheless. I love kids so I enjoy the journey. 
  • Marriage is no walk in the park either. From experience and as what I have observed with other married couple, I believe in 3 things to keep the marriage together 1) you have to love and marry the person for who he really is, not who you want him to be, 2) make sure you see yourself growing old with this person. It's important that you develop a strong friendship bond as this will get you through past the romantic and horny stage, past the financial and household crisis. In the movie American Quilt, the question,  'Should you marry your best friend or your lover,?' was something that stuck to mind. I go for the best friend! 3) Most importantly, always put God in the center of your relationship and home and He will guide your hearts to make your marriage fruitful. 
  • Never underestimate kids’ perspective, intuition and intelligence. Everyday my kids amaze me with their question ranging from 'I-can-answer-that-without-batting-an-eyelash' easy to 'OMG-what-to-say' difficult and trick questions like ‘Mommy, why God is a statue? Is he dead? So many eyelash batting before we can think of a clever, kid-friendly and truthful answer. Then they go 'why Mommies know everything?' Endless conversation really, never a dull moment :) My mindset at raising the kids is that I am just a steward of God assigned to take care of Sophie and Sam. And being that, it is my responsibility to raise them well as good and God-fearing individuals but they are never mine, they are God's children. 
  • A mantra that I have embraced since I was young: ‘God grant me the courage to change the things I can, the serenity to accept the things I cannot change and the wisdom to know the difference.’- Reinhold Niebuhr. This always helps me to get a grip on life especially when it just gets too frustrating. 
  • ‘Don’t worry, at the end of the day, it will all fall into place’ - something I learned from a mentor. You know what, it always does. So when I'm bound to hit a wall, I just hum these words and sing a prayer song (they say singing a prayer is like praying 3 times over). 
  • Invest is now one of my favorite words. Over the years, I learned that if you invest something - in friendship, love, in career, financial, etc. - there is always a return. Just as you cannot reap a fruit if you don't plant a single seed and nurture it, you cannot expect success if you don't sweat it out. My younger self was the impatient, hungry kind who like it snappy, always moving, no idle time, fast paced, go go go! But as I got older, I learned to wait and be patient - for kids to learn to walk and talk, learned to work hard and climb the ladder to a better and stable career, to invest time on a good friendship. There is always a time for everything and we need to start at something,work on it and be patient with God's sweet time because hard work bears beautiful fruits. On the flip side, I also learned that there are people and things that you just have to let go to declutter life. Those that just brings you down and cause you constant stress, as Elsa said 'Let it go'!
  • This is so me right now. It just comes with age, I guess.LOL. I somehow outgrew my inhibitions, speak words of wisdom which surprises even thyself. I find myself sounding like my mom, if that is a good thing... 

Maybe it is. A former staff who is now abroad sent an online card on my birthday with this message.  

I was overwhelmed by the birthday messages on FB and texts from colleagues, subordinates and friends. They were totally unexpected and heartwarming :)

         At this point too, I don't care much about the norm and decide based on what I think is best for            me and my family whether it be the brand of shampoo or the school for the kids. I'm also trying (yes trying) to live life simply, focusing only on what's essential and those that add value to life. I guess               this is why for the past birthdays, I can't think of any material gift I want for myself. What I cherish now are those immaterial things. 
  • Life is short. Carpe Diem! Live life to the fullest. Don't say 'yes' when you really mean 'no' and vice versa. Don't stress over little things, don't sweat the small stuff. This last part practically sums up all other things I live by for years and years now. Of course, with #7 in mind. 
Have a peaceful and safe long vacation everyone! :)
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