Showing posts with label personal posts. Show all posts
Showing posts with label personal posts. Show all posts

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

The Good Wife

I was entitled to a maternity leave of 75 days, and today I'm in the home stretch. I was looking back at those days and I realized that I spent them entirely by taking care of the kids and doing the endless chores at home. Perhaps, the only time I could consider "personal" was whenever I was lucky that both kids happened to nap at the same time and I could watch an episode or two of my downloaded TV series, The Good Wife (TGW), usually while expressing milk.

One of those days spent watching TGW.
I was enjoying my Seattle's Best Javanilla, which was a peace offering from the husband.

TGW is a legal and political drama, which centered on the life of Alicia Florrick; (played by Julianna Margulies) a lawyer, mother of two kids, and wife to Governor Peter Florrick. The latter is former Cook County's State Attorney, who has been jailed after a public sex and corruption scandal. Alicia was an opt-out mom - she left her career and stayed at home with her kids during their formative years. After 13 years, she went back to the grind to practice law. 

There was one episode in TGW that struck me most. Alicia was in the midst of her routine as a lawyer; constantly in the middle of something, and at the beck and call of her clients. She wanted to breath and take a break for a minute, and she told her friend Kalinda, that when she was still a stay-at-home mom, there was a time in her daily routine that she looked forward to. Everyday, at 3PM, she would pour herself a glass of wine and enjoy the silence while waiting for the kids to come home from school. She said she was missing the silence at 3PM.

I know that in a few days, I will find myself saying the same thing - "I miss the silence at 3PM, when my kids are both asleep and I'm sneaking, almost in a juvenile way, to breath and take a break."

Don't worry, for photo purposes only. I separate them when they sleep.

Being with my kids and taking care of them was a very happy time - but one that could get really exhausting. I wouldn't mind much how they wear me out physically; but being emotionally spent, that was a different matter. Since emotions could get a bit high, (and I tend to be a bad mother when I'm emotional), I found that a breather was almost always a necessity. 

Just a small window in 24 hours - a time to recharge, to take a quick bath, turn on the TV, elevate my tired feet, drink a juice from the fridge, open a bag of chips, and pray that the kids stay asleep for the duration of at least one episode of TGW. 

After my break, my emotions would be on a clean slate again. When the kids wake up, I'd have more patience to tolerate tantrums and fake cries. I'd have more energy to carry a baby sucked to my breast.

I will miss that "window", the silence at 3PM. But I will miss the kids more. 

Last night, at bed, I was telling Zohan that I would resume office on Friday. He said, his voice breaking and his face pitiful, "Eh wag ka na pasok office. 'Se wala ako Nanay. Hanap kita, di ba?"

I wish I could tell my son how sorry I was that his Nanay was no Alicia Florrick. Bouncing back to the practice of law from a 13-year hiatus could happen only in TV series. (Well, at least to me.) 

I wish I could tell him how sorry I was that I could not be an opt-out mom. But it was a personal choice. I felt that I would be a better mother if I would continue working than if I stay at home.

So I hugged him instead. A tight hug that I hope could dispel the sadness in his sweet and innocent heart. And I resolved to myself that I would devote all of my time and all of myself to Zohan and Khaleid the second I step out of the office -- even if it meant I will never have a window again to recharge every 3PM. 

Friday, March 7, 2014

We Turned Three!

March 07, 2014

I was awakened at 5:30 AM because Khaleid needed a diaper change. After the task, I remembered what date it was today. I moved Zohan beside Khaleid to go near my husband and greeted him a Happy Anniversary. 

"Mahal, anong ginawa natin sa loob ng three years?", I asked. "Gumawa ng dalawang bata.", he chuckled. I laughed and thought to myself, well, these days, our marriage is actually defined by our kids.

Today, we celebrate our third year of marriage. To be candid, all thoughts of romance had been pushed over by other grown-up concerns. It's so hard to think of love for your husband when you are sleep-deprived, reeking of poop and breastmilk, clad in milk-stained lousy shirt, and with hair last combed since God-knows-when.

So I thought, today's post would only be a you-tube video of Coca-Cola's advertisement - which best described our household situation as of late.

So anyway, I went on with my daily routine - took care of Khaleid's morning rituals, struggled with Zohan to eat his breakfast, cleaned up last night's mess, and sent Zohan to the playground so that I could cook lunch. Kristan left early for work.

Then I heard a knock from the door and I thought to myself, Zohan went up early, I have not yet finished cooking lunch.

I was stunned when I opened the door and was greeted by a bouquet of flowers handed by a delivery guy. It took me a few minutes to process the fact that my husband, (yes the same husband I talked about here) sent me flowers. I was in utter disbelief. But also, grinning from ear to ear.

I was thinking what made him a different man. Until I realized that the night before, (hold your breath!) I served him the meanest sweet and sour meatballs for dinner. So yes people, men - they're all the same. If you want to get to their hearts, you must go through their stomach.

Happy Third Anniversary, Mahal. Ang landi landi mo. Mwah!

Friday, February 14, 2014

Birth and Death

The past two weeks went by in a blur. Everything around me seemed to be spinning, and I was a mute follower who would automatically function to survive another day. 

On Monday, February 3, 2014, at exactly 10:16 in the morning, I gave birth to a beautiful baby boy. 

We named him Khaleid Immanuel. I delivered him via an emergency caesarian section. (Not through VBAC, as everyone had hoped. More on that when I regain my sanity and when I find the time.) Aside from the failed VBAC despite eight excruciating hours of labor, my delivery had been uneventful. Khaleid was born a healthy baby. I was up and about sooner. And my recovery was surprisingly fast and easy. Perhaps, it was to prepare me for the things to come.

The following day, my hunch had been confirmed. I always felt that something was terribly wrong with the health condition of my Nanang. I knew it was coming, her death.  In fact, while I was on the operating table, I was praying that her death wouldn't be too near my delivery date so that I would have time to recuperate and go home to her. I was hoping that she could wait for me, for us, a little longer. But she was probably too tired. On the morning of February 4, 2014, a day after I had given birth, I received the news that Nanang passed away.

I was trying to sleep after I had breastfed Khaleid when I heard my husband received a call from Nanay. It was the usual updating of what our day had been about, when I heard Kristan said that I was sleeping, then he stepped out of the room and continued with the conversation outside. I knew that was it. When he returned after what seemed like forever, I was sitting already. I just asked him to tell me when. He knew I was aware of what's happening. I could feel it from the deafening silence of my family. Ngayon lang, pagtawag ni Nanay, he said. 

I broke down in tears. I imagined the last time I was with Nanang. I looked at my son. I took a deep breath. She wasn't able to wait for us. She needed to rest. 

I was given clearance to go home the afternoon of my second day in the hospital. I could walk, I could carry my son, I was not feeling any pain - a far cry from my recovery when I gave birth to Zohan. I couldn't help but think that Nanang was also behind my speedy recovery - so that I could already be by her side soon.

On Wednesday, we sought clearance from Khaleid's pediatrician if he could travel to Batangas despite his very tender age. The doctor said as long as I am exclusively breastfeeding, Khaleid would have all the protection he would need. Fortunately, he was already nursing while the doctors were closing the stitch of my CS wound. We never had any problem with breastfeeding since then. 

Nanay came home from Rome on Thursday night.

We went home to Batangas for the wake of my Nanang on Friday. 

I would never forget the day that we arrived home. As I stepped closer to her coffin, I took a deep breath. I tried to imagine her face - the beautiful, the serene, the image of a gentle soul. I convinced myself that with all the years she spent with me, that day should be a day of acceptance and gratitude. I prayed to God to always remind me of that thought, because that was the only way I know to alleviate the pain.

Goodbye Nanang. As I mentioned when I kissed your forehead for the last time before your coffin was finally closed, Maraming Salamat po sa lahat.

I will always look at Khaleid with you in my thoughts.  


Thursday, January 9, 2014

I turned thirty!

So many things to document, so little time! Blame it on the Holiday season, the never-ending list of things to accomplish at the office, the preparation (the lack thereof is more apt!) for my delivery, and my half-month stint as a stay-at-home mom (with no help!), that I never had the time to sit down and blog. 

Now, that was very unfortunate because I turned thirty last December 22!!!! 

I wanted to have something to look back to many years from now that would remind me how our little family celebrated it, so I tried to squeeze this post in.

It was a very simple celebration - but it was the happiest! My husband booked an overnight stay for us at Taal Vista many months ago because he knew I just wanted to be with him and Zohan on my special day. 

We left Manila on the 21st, at around lunch time. After the smooth drive to the South, we made a quick stop at Gerry's in Tagaytay for a late lunch. 

Then off we went to Taal Vista! It was our first time there and I couldn't be more thrilled. I remembered passing by Taal Vista whenever I would go home to the province, and I would always glance at it dreamily, with the thought bubble, "One day.." Well, that day happened when I turned thirty - with no less than two of the most important persons in my life!

Upon arriving in our hotel room, we rested for a while and I basked in the happiness of it all. (Pardon the frivolity, I'm appreciative like that!)

I know! I looked like a whale here, in all my pregnant glory. But my husband - you could not trust him to take flattering photos. 

Look who was getting all comfortable!
Then I dragged my husband outside to take some photos, for posterity's sake.

We decided to celebrate on that day (the 21st), so we went to Bag of Beans for an early dinner. We've never been to that restaurant before. The place was surprisingly spacious and cozy on the inside. My food was great; I had their breakfast sampler which I shared with Zohan.The litte bugoy loved the pancakes. 

And as you could depict from the face of my poor husband, he wasn't satisfied with his food. Haha.

After dinner, we brought Zohan to Sky Ranch. I was ecstatic when I saw Thomas the Train, one of Zohan's favorite cartoons. Unfortunately, that wasn't enough to made him try it. He was also fascinated with the horses, but he said he would just observe them because he was afraid to take a ride. 

We then went back to our room and relaxed the entire night. I had a loooong, warm, and uninterrupted bath while Zohan was busy watching TV, so there was no one banging my door every few minutes. (Try having  just one kid and you'd put uninterrupted bath on the top of the list entitled luxury.)

We woke up late the following day. I had a very stressful and busy week at work the days before my birthday; so that was a much deserved oversleep.

Then we had buffet breakfast (in our pantulog clothes, no less!). We took some photos again while Zohan played at the vast surrounding. 

AGAIN - not a very flattering photo of the buntis celebrant on the day of her 30th Birthday! But what the heck -- I was VERY HAPPY!!!!!
So, how did turning thirty make me feel? Genuinely happy. I had always considered thirty to be a great year - like life has begun for you but there's still so much marvelous things that have yet to unfold? That's exactly how I felt.

I had met the love of my life, married him, and now we're about to have two kids. I always knew I'd be married by thirty; I wanted to start my family life early because I wanted happiness to begin early.

My dream of becoming a lawyer came true before I turned thirty. And now, I'm trying to establish a career as an in-house lawyer in one of the biggest banking institutions in the country. That may come off a little surprising because I always sucked at math - but I do litigation anyway, and appearing in courts was what I always wanted. 

I had been teaching law students for more than four years now, which was never my dream but it was a very welcome achievement.

At thirty, I am heavily mortgaged but happily so. There is a silver lining at the end of the tunnel that we live in a place we can one day call our own. 

But of course, there are still things that I wasn't able to accomplish - like buy and drive my own car before turning thirty. (I always get pregnant whenever I plan to enroll in a driving school, what can I do?!) I also wasn't able make my mom stay in the Philippines for good, give her a new house or renovate the old one. And there were sad things that happened, too - like I lost my lolo, my lola got Alzheimer's and became bedridden. But who has the perfect life anyway? I am grateful to take the good with the bad and look at the glass half-full than half-empty.

Thirty is a good year. I feel so glad to be thirty - I'm more mature, more confident, and definitely happier than the younger version of myself. Maybe with more flabs, but flabs is good. It signifies that life has been awesome but there's still a lot to work out on. 

Happy Birthday to me! Thank you Mahal for a wonderful celebration. Thank you Zohan for making me smile. Thank you Lord for a wonderful life.

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Happiness is in the Struggle

I am currently hooked to Gretchen Rubin's book entitled The Happiness Project. Don't get me wrong, I am already happy with my life as it is now. But I guess I just want to be happier, or perhaps, a little more optimistic, that's why I started reading it. 

Halfway into the book and I am already in awe. This woman makes a lot of sense and I tend to agree with a lot of her ideas! The fact that she's a lawyer who left law practice to write a book adds to my already mounting interest. 

Among the many ways that she embarked on in her quest for a happier life, there is one particular concept that struck me most. She said that to eke out the most happiness from an experience, we must anticipate it, savor it as it unfolds, express happiness, and recall a happy memory. In relation to "anticipation", she narrated a short story about how she patiently helped her daughter choose the best cake for the latter's birthday. According to Gretchen Rubin,

"Before the happiness project, I would have resisted, but now I understand that this birthday errand isn't birthday ineffeciency, but the very fun itself. It's my Sixth Commandment: Enjoy the process. Eliza will enjoy eating the cake for only five minutes, but she can have hours of enjoyment from planning the cake. In fact, in what's known as the "rosy prospection," anticipation of happiness is sometimes greater than the happiness actually experienced. All the more reason to revel in anticipation."

Now, I know it's a little boring to dissect her brilliant lines further, so let me indulge you in a little chismis instead.

One of the petty issues I have with my husband is my fervent desire to have our condo renovated. Being the practical one, my husband always dismiss the thought, with the resolve that it is something at the very far end of our list of priorities. (Well, I get that, and frankly, I don't mind waiting for months, years even, until we are financially ready for it.) 

However, my husband's approach has brushed off with me that I have also voluntarily stopped looking at interior design magazines, websites and Instagram photos of anything related to home designs. In the process, it makes me sad and wanting, despite my understanding of where he's coming from. (With another baby on the way, and a long list of other financial responsibilities, the last thing that we actually need is a drop-down ceiling or an artistic corner chair.)

But after reading the line I quoted above, I realize that I really don't have to feel bum about it. In fact, I can turn this whole "struggling" part into a one big happiness project. 

I recall a time in a not-so-distant past when Kristan and I were constantly struggling to come up with our downpayment for our condo, which was spread in a 12-month period. We were still single then, but we embraced maturity way too early. For each month that we were able to fund our check, we'd happily bring out our statement of account and goofily cross out the month paid with a bright-colored highlighter. We'd color it together to symbolize how we both tried to make both ends meet. It was a happy time because we felt so accomplished, and at the same time, there was still something bigger and better that we were looking forward to.

It was a happy and defining moment when we finally moved in. But the happiness was, well, fleeting. It lasted for only a good one week or so, for by then, more grown-up problems already came in. And frankly, coloring our statement of account was a much, much happier time for me. I guess it was the combined struggle, the planning, and the dreaming that really mattered. 

Now, I feel like I am allowing my "wanting more" to strip me of the opportunity to feel happy. Instead of focusing on what we can't afford yet, the Happiness Project has helped me ask myself, why not make the struggle, the planning and the dreaming once again a happy time?

Thanks to Gretchen Rubin, I intend to do just that from now on. I have compiled photos of my design pegs and started following interior designers on Instagram. I don't look the other way anymore when I pass by furniture shops in mall; and I plan to buy back issues of home magazines. I don't care if it will take us years before we can execute our plans. That only means we will have more years of opportunity to be happy, right?

My husband has also started his little projects at home. He changed the grout of our tiles in the bathroom, and cleaned up the grouts in the sala. (Tip: The best cleaning agent is to combine baking soda with zonrox and zim!) His next project is a better clothesline for our tiny utility area. 

I just have one reassurance to tell him though -  that even if I keep on planning and yakking about the renovation, he doesn't have to feel pressured to provide it at once, or to provide it at all. (Check out Chinie Diaz's fabulous blogpost about why "admiring but not acquiring" is also a good thing over at her blog

Seriously husband, I CAN wait. I'm chill. I'm all zen. And if the time comes and we really cannot make it happen, I'll always remember that "happiness is in the struggle." At least, it's another happy journey in our books.

As for the rest of you who are also in a challenging phase of your life to reach for a goal, let's just keep going. There's something better waiting for us at the end, but our struggle towards it-- well, that's where real happiness is.

Sunday, October 20, 2013

My husband's 30th birthday

Just a quick post, for posterity's sake.

My husband turned thirty last October 8. I didn't have anything grandiose for his birthday, but I wanted to celebrate it, no matter how simple, because I believed turning thirty was something big.

I had thought of a few surprises, but my husband would not really buy those sort of things. He discovered my mom's gift to him a few days too early. And he was so close to guessing everything I planned for his birthday had I not gone berserk.

So for our itinerary for his birthday, I decided to just let go of the surprise factor and wrote everything down on a simple birthday card. He woke up to this:


The plan was to have a light breakfast at home, then head off to Trinoma and SM North to look for my birthday gift to him. (He asked for a TV console/entertainment table that would not exceed P4,000. You could tell he was the practical one.) Then, we would have our buffet lunch at Vikings in SM North, scour Mandaue Foam in QC, and be back in Makati for a special dinner reservation at 6pm.

But before starting our day, I insisted on taking our family picture - something that would remind us how we looked like when he turned thirty. (I intend to take more pictures of us from now on.)


Zohan knew it was his Tatay's birthday. He said he'd give his Tatay cake, burger, and getti. But those were all Zohan's favorite foods, so I doubted if the little boy fully grasped that it wasn't supposed to be about him that day.

Anyway, Kristan and I did everything by the book. We had a really sumptuous lunch at Vikings, and paid only P700 thereabouts. The birthday celebrant's meal was free! He just needed to present a government ID with his birthday information. (I researched this in advance, coz you know, I could be practical, too!)

My biggest discovery was the block of stores in SM North which got everything home-related like furnitures, tiles, lightings, wall papers, paints, a whole lot more. Definitely my happy place! I remembered having been there before, but it wasn't something that caught my fancy at that time. Our visit proved I had truly become a homemaker. Unfortunately though, we weren't able to get anything with our tight budget. It was enough feast for my eyes.

Then we went to Mandaue Foam, which turned out to be a little disappointing. So, we decided to head back and check out the malls in Makati. Ironically, the birthday boy got what he wanted at Landmark. Lumayo pa kami di ba?!

For dinner, he had no clue that I had requested his entire family to go to Manila for a surprise birthday dinner. This little bugoy greeted him for dinner at Yakimix in Greenbelt.

Family picture.

Birthday cake from his Cristobal Family.


Happy birthday mahal. I'll skip the cheesy part because this post should be about you, and you're anything but cheesy. Instead, I'll try to remember my take-aways from your birthday, because squeezing a learning from the passage of time pretty much sums up your idea of birthdays: 

1. No matter how difficult it is to forego of anything grand for a big day such as your 30th birthday, it will always have to be about what you want. And I have to do just that, even if it is opposed to what I personally want.

2. A ruined plan or surprise doesn't take the joy of out you because you're not a fan of it anyway. It takes the joy out of me. And I don't have to raise hell when that happens.

3. I still consider us the same carefree kids wandering about the streets of Gastambide some 8 years ago, only now with children to raise and bills to pay. And I owe the attitude of keeping it light and easy to you - the one person who knows how to make fun out of the biggest trials and responsibilities. 

4. My professor was right when he said that the worst person one can marry is a philosopher. But I'll take the worst at any given day, if it means spending a lifetime with you. Well, there goes the cheesy part. I just can't help it!

Happy 30th birthday mahal! 

Friday, September 13, 2013

All about my pregnancy

Pregnancy is a very beautiful thing - I will not argue with that. But I'm sure most mothers will agree that it isn't exactly a walk in the park either. Truly, it is a surreal feeling for a mother to finally see the little angel that she carried in her womb for what seems like eternity latched at her bossom. However, before a mother reaches that glorious end of the tunnel, she must undergo somewhat a series of "unfortunate events".

But, what's life without a little pain anyway?  After all, I believe that it is the concomitant sacrifice that makes the entire experience of pregnancy more meaningful.

Personally, I am thankful that the woes of my second pregnancy are lesser compared to when I had Zohan. (At least insofar as the first trimester is concerned.)There's no morning sickness, fewer food aversions, and lesser mood swings. However, the other familiar effects of pregnancy are here again. I'm having episodes of migraine-induced vomiting, I feel lethargic on most days, and my pimples did a MacArthur - they returned!!

My food cravings are not really unreasonable either. But last Monday, I woke up craving very badly for crunchy bacon. While I do not subscribe to the movie depiction of a pregnant woman's unreasonable cravings at the wee hours of the morning, I thought I deserved to eat what I wanted that day so I took the morning off to search for crunchy bacon. I headed to good 'ole Pancake House and had the entire morning to myself, slowly eating my food while tinkering with my phone.

This far in my pregnancy, that's the only episode of stubborn craving that I can think of. Of course, I eat citrus fruits like mangoes, pineapple, and santol, but these are fruits I'll take on any given day - pregnant or not. 

My weight gain is slow and steady compared to my first pregnancy. But that's partly because I am more conscious of what I eat. I have mentioned about my determination to do a VBAC (here and here); that's the reason why I have been watching what I eat. My OB says a big baby means we will not be trying a VBAC, so that's my inspiration to be obedient.

17 weeks pregnant

On the vanity side, I have not shopped for maternity clothes. I'm thinking of reusing my old maternity clothes, all of which I left intact at home. I also ditch the ugly but reliable crocs that I used during my first pregnancy. (Thank you crocs, you've been a big help!) This time, I consider style over functionality and settle for this Melissa shoes - flat, comfortable, and formal enough for attending hearings. I don't think it can accommodate my swollen feet until the ninth month though. Anyway, let's just cross the bridge when we get there. 
And of course, there are perks of being pregnant! I can take the "reverse ride" at the MRT. (When you ride at Trinoma to go southbound, you have to take the stairs to go to the opposite side. But if you're pregnant, the operators will allow you to enter the train after all the passengers have alighted, so you won't have to tire yourself. That means you're inside the train as it makes a reverse. Cool, right?) Until now, I take the public transportation so this reverse ride is making it more convenient for me. 

I can use the VIP lounge at the malls for free; I can take a cab without going through the long line; I get a nicer treatment from other people in general; and I have an excuse to grow big and add on pounds. And lest I forget, the baby in my tummy and I get a kiss each from Kuya Zohan every night before going to bed. Hands down, that's my favorite part!

That's it, pansit! I am now on my 18th week, and I hope it will continue to be uneventful from here until the end of the tunnel. (And pray with me for a safe VBAC, please?)

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

A revelation and a confession

We're having a boy again! At four months, the pototoy of our second baby already showed up during my routine ultrasound. And Kristan and I are more than grateful for having been entrusted by God to raise another child. 

You know when expectant parents say, "Sana girl/boy, pero ok lang kahit anong ibigay, basta healthy." Well, that' exactly how Kristan and I feel. To be honest, we are both hoping for a baby girl. But now that we know it's a boy again, we really don't mind. Of course, we hope that he'll be healthy, but how ever he turns out to be, we will decide so firmly to love him nonetheless.

But now that we're having two boys, I have a confession to make. One night while in bed, Kristan and I were discussing how we are going to raise and love two boys equally. 

I'm an only child and favoritism in the family is never an issue. Kristan has five other siblings, him being the eldest, and I can say he's lucky to be the favorite. This notwithstanding, I honestly feel all his siblings are okay with it because their parents are never deficient in showing each and everyone how much they are loved and taken care of. Plus, Kristan is a very loving and responsible Kuya, he gives his siblings no reason to despise him.

But what about us as parents? I am worried about what will set the second baby apart from our first born? Zohan is truly an amazing kid, and I'm not saying that because I'm his mother. He's smart, very malambing, and a really funny, silly boy. He manages to melt my heart every single day, despite the normal bouts of tantrums. And my husband can say the same thing about him.

If we are already bursting with love for him now, can we manage to give the same passion for parenting and instinctive love for the coming baby? What if we can't? What if I become the parent who played favorite and just can't contain it to herself?

I wish I can tell you that mostly, the things that we worry about actually don't happen. And if it does happen, it's far better than we imagined it to be. I wish I can tell you that our children are products of their own personality, they are different that's why we can never really love them with perfect symmetry. I wish I can tell you that if my husband and I just try to be a good person everyday, we will necessarily turn out to be good parents.

But I can't. Because I am a mother and that's what mothers do - we worry. So if there's any mother to more than one kid out there who knows how to get out of this rut, please do let me know. Because honestly, a good conversation over coffee sounds better than a lone soul battling against this paranoia. (Decaf for the pregnant momma, of course!)

Thursday, August 1, 2013

Courtroom Drama

I began writing this entry while seated in a bench beside a family - a mother, wife, and kid, (approximately aged 12) of an accused father. The latter was clad in a yellow detainee shirt, his right hand clasped together in single cuff shared with another detainee. We were all waiting for the court to open in time for the 2:00 pm hearing. 

Earlier, when the detainees were arriving one by one, the wife began to tear up and tried to look away from the detainees' direction, while clutching to her son on her lap. Her mother-in-law sternly cautioned her, "Tibayan mo loob mo." Then, the particular inmate they were waiting for approached them and sat beside the wife. The inmate's first question was, "Bi, bat di ka pumasok skwela?". It was directed to his son, who was then trying to escape from his hugs to go back to his mother. "San galing yang kalmot mo bi? Nakipag away ka ba?", he added. The son shyly kept silent. Then the mother quipped, "O bat nahihiya ka kay papa mo? Di ba hinahanap mo kanina san si papa?". The kid was fidgety; he didn't mutter a word. 

Afterwards, they proceeded to discuss how they could settle the case with the complainant. It was a long, continuous rambling that he was innocent - a statement I would hear in court so often that it has lost its meaning to me. 

Their conversation slowly escaped my attention as my mind wandered off to relive the earlier scenario - when the father tried to hug his evasive kid while gently forcing him to sit on his lap. It was a defining moment that kept on playing back in my mind, to the shameful point of creating a lump in my throat and welling up of my eyes.

Then, the door of the court opened to signal the start of the hearings. His case was the first to be called so I was able to hear the proceedings. I presumed that the charge against him could either be homicide or murder when the Judge called on the family of the victim. A lady dressed in black stood up and identified herself as the wife of the deceased. 

The public prosecutor then manifested that the family of the accused was ready with P30,000 cash to amicably settle the case right there and then. The deceased's wife was asked if she was amenable to accept only P30,000. (The Supreme Court mandates the payment of P50,000 as civil indemnity for death of a person.) Seeing that the deceased's wife needed more time to think, the Judge ordered the parties to discuss things outside the courtroom. They would be called later on when they have reached an agreement.

My case was called, which was done quickly after a few manifestations. I gathered my things and took off. I took a last glance at the parties discussing outside the courtroom.

I thought my emotions have toughened up in dealing with court cases. I was proven wrong. Being a parent made me vulnerable to a number of things, like empathy and pain. Or perhaps I was just caught at a really bad time.

I had a sick kid at home when I left for that hearing. I was running on only a few hours of sleep that day since I was on rotation with the husband the night before, to monitor Zohan's temperature. So I had a fresh memory of how parenting was so much easier when you didn't have to do it alone.

As I head home, I kept wondering if the accused will also head home that night. A child deserves to grow up with a father around. The child I saw that day deserved this chance. His father's fitness to be one was another matter that I was not in a position to judge. So I just uttered a silent prayer - of thanksgiving for me and my family; and for hope and perseverance for them.

Monday, July 8, 2013

Independence Day

On June 12, 2013, aside from staying at home because it was a holiday, something enormous happened to us.

We celebrated freedom from not knowing that the delay of my monthly visitor was not just a mere physiological mess-up.

We're expecting again!

Once more, my husband and I opened up ourselves to a life-long vulnerability - to pain, to worries, to financial woes, to emotional wreckage.

But likewise, and this is more important, we opened up ourselves to loving unconditionally, with only the hope of being loved the same way in return. And that is probably one of the best things in this world. So we both think it's all okay. And we can't wait for the vulnerability to begin..

Monday, May 6, 2013

Happy Changes

This year saw the most consistent decline in this blog's activity. It was not as if I had been around for years, but when I was starting, I was hell bent on posting regularly, reflecting on life and motherhood, improving my writing skills, and dreaming of earning a little from it all.

Then this year started, I eased into my new job description, and I became enormously busy.

But before you start to feel bad for me, do know that I've become busy with my family. Yes, it’s my husband and Zohan who's keeping my hands full. It was toxicity of the happy kind, that's why I didn't mind sending this blog into the backseat.

How did that happen? Well, a lot of changes occurred this year. An opportunity presented itself and I am now back to litigation - my first love, and now I'm convinced, my true love. I didn't have to transfer companies to do that. The universe just got kinder after I showed patience in enduring the rough start. My fortitude paid off, and now I'm back to court!

But let me tell you the more important change that happened (and please don't laugh): I wasn't given access to the internet during office hours, then work became too demanding that I didn’t even have the time to surf through my phone - yes, it was that simple. But it was a symbolism of some sort. Aside from the internet, I was likewise separated from the familiar faces I've been with and the practices I've been accustomed to. 

Initially, I thought it was a wrong decision to change career path. I mean - what would happen to my blog? Where would I draw my inspiration from? And how would I deal with the various changes in the workplace? Really, the questions are endless and my regrets infinite. (And by now, you must be raising your eyebrows.)

But I remained patient and steadfast. I read somewhere that success happens to people who are courageous enough to move out of their comfort zones. If happiness is to be the measure of success, then I'm certain I have become successful by moving to unchartered territories.

So now, I have become acquainted to limited access to the online world. I go to work at 8:00 in the morning, do the job that I like, then go home to my family at 5:30 PM. Well, there were some things that hasn't changed - like I'd still see my husband at the corner of a familiar street waiting for me with a silly face, and together, we'd walk home. But I really wouldn't mind if that one remained the same for a long time.

By 6:00 PM, we'd knock on our door and Zohan would welcome us with his shriek, "Nana!!!". He could say "Tata" but he doesn't say it very often. Hah!

From that time on, until bedtime, I'd be a hands-on mother. Zohan sure knew how to make up for the time we'd lost during the day because we would be inseparable until bed time. The only time he would not be clinging to me was when he'd play basketball with Tatay. It would then be my time to check my phone for messages, Facebook, Twitter or Instagram - a good 10 minutes or so. At bedtime, I would breastfeed him until he falls asleep, usually at around 10 to 10:30.

I still try to have a personal time, though. I'm now back to teaching, but my class is only once a week. Poor Zohan waits for me until I arrive home at 10:00 PM. Aside from teaching, I also try to attend to yoga class once a week. 

So you see, I am not always present online because life has showed me how my offline life is more important. From what I thought was a simple deprivation of internet privilege, it showed me that if I focus my time and attention to myself, to my work, my friends and family- I will feel happier and live simpler.

Maybe I couldn't strike a good balance yet between blogging my life and living the life I could blog about. I have high respect for bloggers who can manage their time to do both. So forgive the incessant absence while I find the magic mojo how they do it. Meanwhile, when there's no new post, just think that I'm happily busy being a mother and a wife.

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