The Little Outfielder that Could

balls

Catch me if you can…

        The 12 year old batter stands at the batter’s box… confident, ready to swing his bat. And when he did, he hit the ball hard. The ball went high and far. By the looks of it, the ball would drop at the space right between centerfield and leftfield. The batter started to run, hoping he had hit a double at the very least.

      The small 10 year old centerfielder ran as fast as he could to get to the ball before it reaches the ground. He dove – and caught the ball. ‘OUT!’ cried the umpire.

        The parents clapped, cheered, went into a frenzy.

        Several plays later, another big boy stood at the batter’s box, swung his bat perfectly, allowing it to hit the ball and send it flying once again to the outfield.

        The same centerfielder took his time, tracked the ball like a pro, then ran to the right spot where the ball was going to fall. OUT! 3rd out! The inning ends.

        As the parents were cheering and exchanging high-fives, I took a glimpse of the boy’s father who was beaming with pride. When he saw me looking at him, he said quietly, “He remembers what you told him. He listened to you…”

About a month before that international tournament, I went to watch this team of 10 year olds play in the local setting. It was the first tournament they played in as a team. Come to think of it, it was their first time to seriously play together. At that time, the coaches were still gauging which position suits each player best. 

During one of the games, I noticed this player – their centerfielder – looking a bit lost. I think distracted is a better word. Since there was no action in the outfield at that time – meaning no ball was going to him, I could see him fidgety and his attention was wandering elsewhere. At some point he seemed to be watching the ongoing game on the other field. He looked bored out of his wits.

After the game, as the boy and his dad were saying goodbye to the team and to me, I heard the boy say to his dad, “I don’t like being an outfielder.” I saw the look of boredom on his young face. In his mind, he was probably thinking being a pitcher was way cooler. Or, catchers control the game. The action was almost always in the infield. But the outfield is far… And for the most part of the game, nothing happened in the outfield. He probably felt he barely contributed anything.

I couldn’t help myself so I went up to the boy and said, “You know, my son used to play baseball. He was also an outfielder like you. And you know what, he was one of the best – if not, the best outfielder in his age group. He was really good!” The little boy looked at me expectantly, so I continued, “You know, when you are playing against really good players… the ones who can hit hard… you know the balls that go really high and really far?well, the team needs a good outfielder for that. Someone who can catch a really high fly ball or block a line drive. And when you play in international tournaments, you will get a lot of those. You will face a lot of big batters. So your team relies on you to get that out… You’ll see.”

The boy smiled at me shyly. I added, “So don’t think your position is not important. Be the best outfielder you can be.” I ended with, ”I’ll introduce you to my son when he’s around. He can tell you stories.”

I am not a coach. Okay, I admit I sometimes get too involved in the games that I seem to coach from the bleachers. Yet that afternoon, I wasn’t talking to the boy as a pseudo-coach. I was talking to him as a parent.

Early on my husband and I have ingrained in our own son the value of hard work and diligence. We don’t expect him to be perfect, but we expect him to give his best all the time. Whether in his academics or in sports, we trained him to give his 100% because not doing so will mean shortchanging himself.

We also taught our son the value of respect. Respect for authority and respect for whatever position given him. When my son started playing baseball at age 8, for the most part of his first season, he was the “wanderer.” He was the 10th player on the field. He was placed somewhere between the centerfielder and the second baseman. We told him, “If you’re going to be a wanderer, be the best wanderer there is!” He took that to heart and true to form, he never lost focus and fielded whatever ball came his way.

When my son started training as an outfielder, his training was pretty intense. I remember the first time I watched him train this way – he was 12 years old then. My husband and another coach will take turns batting really high fly balls to the outfield. My son learned how to track the ball so he’d know where to position himself for an easy catch. Other times he would need to dive to get to the ball. I was really scared as I watched him darting left and right across the wide field.

More than being scared, I was impressed, too. It was just practice but my son showed determination and tenacity. Imagine how he performs during actual games.

To some people, his position was “just” outfielder. He was no star player. But he gave his 100% all the time. His teammates knew they can count on him when the need arises.  He will catch that fly ball. He will block that hot line drive to outfield. He will do what he is trained to do, just the way he trained for it. He will get that out.

From zero to hero…

To this day, my son faces whatever situation, game or challenge that he is up against, with the same determination, hard work and grit. Mediocrity is never an option.

In life, we don’t always readily get that “position” that we want. Most of the time, we have to work hard to achieve it. We either have to start somewhere – or we are given something different from what we aspire for.  I personally believe that you can be a star, regardless of what position you hold. What you make of yourself is more important.

What matters most is that you do what is expected of you, you give value to what you can do, and you give your best, every single time. Your time to shine is bound to come.

        After the game, centerfielder came up to me with a big smile on his face. Their team may have lost the game, but he had two winning moments. That was more than enough.

        I smiled back, letting him know that I was glad I was there to witness it, and that I couldn’t have been more proud.

beginner

Note to self! 

********

photos via personal FB account and google images

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A Not-so-Happy Monthsary

Hello November! 

Tomorrow marks the first month since my unico’s accident at the dorm. To those who still haven’t heard — or read– about it, please see previous (trending) blog

I promised I’ll share with you how our weeklong, extended stay in Singapore went. So here goes (and with photos, too!)…

Okay, so my husband and I took an early morning flight that arrived in Singapore at 9:00am. From the airport, we checked in at the hotel really fast, just dropped our bags in the room, then rushed straight to National University Hospital. 

1

First selfie for this trip… How sad is that?? 😦 

Patient B32 was taking a shower when we arrived. Don’t ask me how, I’ll probably just answer, “With great difficulty…” 😦 

2

Tadah! 

We were told that the hospital is ready to discharge the unico. We waited for about half an hour for everything to be settled, and for the instructions regarding his medication. 

And then we were off… (to the Campus)…

3

Goodbye photo-op with one of the nurses

Pushing unico’s wheelchair is Toto, one of his awesome roommates, who was there to pick him up and bring him back to the dorm in case we didn’t arrive. How sweet was that??? ❤ 

In the previous blog, I mentioned that my husband and I were really scheduled to go to Singapore to attend the Parents’ Orientation Weekend. Unfortunately, because of the accident, it became quite a challenge to join the activities.

For the most part of that Friday afternoon, we were just at my son’s dorm (which they call a suite), helping him settle back in, fixing his room (which looked exactly the way he left it when he was rushed to the hospital… meaning, there was still a pillow with blood on the floor, books strewn all over, etc.). Besides, we didn’t have an elevator pass, so we can’t just go in and out the residential college. We were pretty much stuck in the suite. 

At some point, the Residential College Vice Rector came to meet with me and my husband so we can discuss how the school can help my son in the coming days as he goes back to his classes. Can’t help but be truly grateful that my son is in a very supportive college

🙂 

Back to the Orientation Weekend… The activity for that evening was Performance Night. Students (and some parents) were invited to perform for the visiting parents. My unico, was supposed to be part of said activity. But because of the accident, they were not sure if he can (or will) still perform. 

Being the true performer that he is, well, of course he couldn’t pass up the chance… And so sans practice, the show had to go on… While in a wheelchair, too!

Song choice: Vienna, by Billy Joel

“Slow down, you crazy child…” as the song goes. How apt. 

6

Success!

The Performance Night ended around 9:30pm. We brought him back up to his suite and planned for the following day before going back to our hotel. We decided to leave him at the dorm so he could already rest. My husband and I told him we’ll be back early enough so we can have brunch together.

The bus ride to the hotel took about forty minutes. I was craving for coffee but the nearby Starbucks was already closed. I was already getting lightheaded because of exhaustion and lack of sleep (been awake since early morning for our flight). It was a long day.

And I expected the following day to be another long one. 

Saturday…

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We got back to the campus in time for brunch! Yey! 🙂 

We spent Saturday planning how the unico will do his day to day activities while in crutches or wheelchair.

7

The adventure begins…

We looked for easy routes going to his classrooms. We went to the laundry room so he can do his laundry. We walked with him to the dining hall. 

And so we walked and walked until we have covered practically most of the campus (some of his classrooms were like two buildings away). My husband pushed the wheelchair, while I walked behind, lugging the crutches, and a water bottle, with me. It was exhausting. I was exhausted. And to think I had feet to walk with. 

It wasn’t easy, believe me. It made me realize how blessed we are that we have functioning legs and feet. We really should never take any part of our body for granted.

At some point during our “campus tour,” I told my husband I believed it would be better if both of us would stay for a week — or at least, up to the unico’s first post-surgery consult with his doctor.

My son had shown nothing but courage all through out, but I wanted to be there to provide whatever support I can while he was recuperating. His friends and dormmates were the best and the school had been very helpful and supportive, yet I wanted to do my job as a parent.  

Sometime late Saturday afternoon, my husband and I were able and attend one sample class (it was still Parents’ Orientation Weekend, after all, and there were several sessions going on).

9

Filipino parents, represent! 

Afterwards, we brought the unico to the hotel with us so he can rest on a bigger bed, at least for most of Sunday.

Couldn’t really do anything much at the hotel… 

And so school week came…

My son started attending his classes (crutches and all)… we would check on him whenever possible… treated him to Japanese dinner outside school so he can get a breath of non-campus air…

My husband and I spent the week not necessarily in school the whole time, but just close enough to be there anytime our son needed us. 

Traveled to school by Grab, bus, MRT… enjoyed the non-polluted walks, too.

 

 

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Yale-NUS at night… Or at least the view from Clementi overpass 🙂

At last it was Friday… day of the post-surgery consult. We were able to talk to the doctor who explained to us how they fixed the broken bone.

He checked the wire, checked the wound, had it dressed, told us that it’s healing beautifully and as long as my son takes care of it — make sure that it doesn’t get wet and infected, and that the wire inside doesn’t break — then they can remove the wire come November 10 (even earlier than original November 24 schedule). Doctor even added, “Nah, you don’t have to be here when I remove the wire. I’ll just tell him to look away as I pull it out.” Yes, he said he’ll pull it out. *Gulp.*

15

That’s one tough guy you’re looking at!

So after meeting with the doctor and knowing that everything is well, hubby and I were ready to go back home. 

And so we did, the following day.

 Saturday, bye bye day… Can I just stay??

19

This was the hardest part 😦 

So tomorrow –the tenth of November –the first monthsary of his accident, he is going back to NUH to hopefully have the wire removed. 

It was quite an experience. For all of us, actually, but of course, most especially for my son. It was a freak accident. He had a bad fall. Who would have thought that he would break his toe so badly? 

Accidents do happen. But then despite the accident, God’s grace shone through… and we felt it in more ways than one. We were surrounded by good, helpful people. People who assisted in different ways, people who reached out and who prayed with us. My son was blessed with caring, loving friends who still help him up to now.  

We were given strength, comfort and peace even when we were tired. My son was given the courage he needed while we were still away… and the yes, he still had the same courage after we left. 

And yeah, as bad as the original reason was, well, we were able to spend longer time with him because we decided to extend our stay. 

Though I am not really celebrating the monthsary — it was still an accident, after all, I guess I cannot say that I am not happy. Because I am. I am happy because he is now okay.

More than that, I am thankful. Things could have been much, much worse. 

But God is good. He is always good. 🙂 

WARNING!! The following is not for the faint-hearted… So stop here if you are not ready… You don’t have to look…

Don’t say I didn’t warn you!

🙂

 Those who are intrigued about the “wire” that I kept talking about, let me give you an idea how it looks like…

My, what big foot you have! 😉

And the good doctor is scheduled to pull that wire out tomorrow.

********

photos were mostly mine…except for the foot which was unico’s (Don’t worry, i asked permission before i posted)

When the unexpected happens

So, it has been a month since I last posted a blog entry. Time flies when you’re having fun a lot of things are happening. 

If I can remember correctly, my last blog was about my son’s short visit from college. Yey, good times! Though unplanned, and truly short (it was only five days long), it was a fun reunion with the family. 

After that Quarter Break in September, the plan was for me and my husband to fly to Singapore to attend the College’s Parents’ Orientation Weekend from Oct. 13-15. I was really looking forward to that trip. For one, we would see the unico again after only three weeks — no chance to miss him too much, right?

Also, well, I love Singapore. The flight is just 3 1/2 hours, so it’s bearable. The country is safe, it’s not polluted, the commute is easy. I can go places by myself and not get scared out of my wits. Then there’s Sephora and Victoria’s Secret (aren’t these good enough reasons to be excited??!).

And of course we go back to the fact that my son goes to college there — so yes, I was looking forward to the trip.  So I booked our flights early, even decided to extend our stay for a couple more days (for shopping, what else?!).

Three days before our scheduled departure, I received a message from my son saying he had an accident in his dorm. His foot and leg went numb while he was walking, he had a bad fall… and he broke a toe.

Yes, he broke one of the little piggies — to be more specific, the one who didn’t go to market, nor stayed home, nor had roast beef. It was the little piggy who had none (the ring toe). 

If you can’t imagine how he broke it nor how it looked broken, well, you are not alone. I couldn’t imagine it at first either. In fact, when I called him up to check on him, I was even quite cool and dismissive, I told him that the hospital will probably just pop it right back — like what people normally do with dislocated shoulders or knees.

We respond to accidents differently. On hindsight, I believe I was cool and not panicking because I was a thousand miles away and I couldn’t see the extent of the injury. Plus, when I was talking to him, I couldn’t quite tell if he was crying or laughing. Mom, I broke my toe!! *giggle*giggle*giggle* ” And I could hear laughter in the background, as well. Apparently it was one of his room mates who was making my son laugh to keep him from passing out. (When I saw a photo of the broken toe, I thought I was going to pass out.)

My son’s dorm mates had the presence of mind to call an ambulance right away. One of them placed pillows under my son’s leg to keep it elevated. And despite the scary, icky sight of his broken toe, they kept him conscious and alert. God bless them for being there!

The ambulance came right away. He was brought to the emergency room of the nearby hospital. And then we didn’t hear from him for quite sometime. At this point I surmised that the doctors were cleaning the wound… or popping the bone back in. 

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Do you see the fourth little piggy? Of course you don’t… because it’s bent. 😦 I have a photo of the broken toe, but I will spare you. Believe me it’s not a sight to behold. 

When we finally got to talk to someone from the hospital, we were told that the bone cannot be just popped back in (actually they tried, but it was much too painful and it didn’t really work). So my son had to undergo surgery. Right away. That same afternoon. 

The doctors will have to put a wire to straighten the bone again and correct the alignment. And they had to stitch the open wound up. Everything had to be done in a rush also to prevent infection.

And so my son had to undergo surgery, in another country, without us there beside him. 

Thank God he had such great dorm mates and friends who waited for him at the hospital. Thank God for our Singaporean friends who rushed to the hospital the moment we informed them about the accident.  

Patient B32

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Not at all related to B1 or B2

After about three hours, my son was awake, and back from surgery and recovery room.

He was able to text and update us. Told us he was asleep the whole time, and that when he woke up, his toe was already all stitched up, with a wire holding it straight. He was to stay in the hospital for the time being so the doctors can monitor him, xray his toe and check the outcome.

At this point we all decided there’s no need anymore to rebook our flight to an earlier day since the surgery was over anyway. We told him to just rest and relax in the hospital and that we will go straight to him the moment we arrive on Friday morning. 

The following day — which was a Wednesday — we were told that the xray showed that although there’s already a wire, the bone was still not perfectly aligned. The doctor explained to my son that they could leave the wire as is, but the bone will still be a little crooked when it heals and there’s a risk of the joints experiencing some pain eventually. So my son was given an option to have another surgery, this time a ‘not rushed’ one, to fix the bone properly. The hospital called in their best orthopedic and trauma surgeon to do it. 

My son being 18 decided for himself. He said he opted to have the toe fixed. Yup, that very day. And we were a thousand miles away still.

Two surgeries in two days. How’s that for independence and adulting?

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Post 2nd surgery. Little piggy has a wire sticking out. 

To say that I don’t feel bad for not being there for him from the moment of the accident to the surgeries (both of them) will be an understatement. For a mom who prides herself on being “always there” during important moments, well, this time I wasn’t there. I couldn’t be there. 

Yet I believe that the accident showed my son’s independence. It gave him the chance to make mature decisions. It made him decide on certain matters that concerned his physical well-being.

It gave him a taste of the real world — a world where mom and dad are not always there to make things easy. 

I can say he was able to hold his own pretty well while we were still away. I couldn’t be more proud. 

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Welcome to adulthood. 

We arrived in Singapore –and the hospital — Friday morning, as originally planned. 🙂 

❤ ❤

More stories to tell… About the accident, our visit, and our extended stay. Do stay tuned! 

 

photo credits: Most of the photos were sent to us by my son…Because truly, why wouldn’t one want to document something as exciting as this?! 😉 

 

Beautiful Minds

mother

We do have a number of things in common 

One Christmas season many, many years ago, my mom and I spent a morning sorting the Christmas gifts we bought, making sure we had all the gifts properly labeled and checking who else we missed buying a gift for.

We came across this big box, beautifully wrapped, yet unmarked. No name on the card, no secret marks, whatever. My mom wondered out loud whose it was supposed to be. I said I didn’t know… because truly, I didn’t recognize the box when I first saw it.

And so my mom fidgeted. She held on to the box, turned it around, surveyed it up and down, weighed how heavy it was, shook it over and over, hoping the sound that it makes will make her remember what was inside.

After a few minutes, I realized that it was supposed to be our Christmas gift for her. My sister was the one who bought and had it wrapped, that’s why I didn’t recognize the box right away. Casually I told my mom to just leave the gift alone. But before I could stop her, she tore off the gift wrapper and ripped the box open.

After taking a peek at what’s inside, she got more confused. In a daze, she muttered, “I don’t remember buying this…”

“Why don’t you just put it back?”  I said, trying to salvage whatever’s left of the surprise.

In a tone full of dread and with sheer panic in her eyes, my mom said, “My memory is failing me!!!”

At that point, I knew I had to confess. I told her that she wouldn’t remember nor recognize the gift because she did not buy it. I told her that the gift was supposed to be for her – but now she ruined the surprise.

I also told her that no, her memory was not failing her. Not yet, at least.  

She was probably, at that time, the same age as me now.

That line — My memory is failing me — became a running joke between us, though.

I have always prided myself with having a good memory.

I’m the type who can tell a story of something that happened ages ago and I can remember and relay the details like they just happened yesterday. Try doing something bad to me and most likely I will remember it for life (holding a grudge is another thing, though).

Lately, however, I seem to forget things quite easily. Small things, like passwords… or people’s names… or where I put things.

Like this afternoon, I realized I was losing an ID card. I knew I used it sometime in the not so distant past, but I just couldn’t recall when, where and why. I knew my husband had something to do with it… I insisted that I entrusted the ID to him. But I couldn’t remember why so I started doubting my memory.

Whenever this happens, me not remembering something, I can’t help but panic.

I’ll first try to rack my brains to remember the detail that I forgot… When racking my brains doesn’t work, I’ll freak out internally – all the more reason for my brains not to cooperate.  And then I will start feeling bad, and resignedly sigh, “My memory is failing me.”

But I am much too young to accept that. 😦

Just recently, I watched CNN’s Fareed Zakaria talk to neuroscientist Lisa Genova about Alzheimer’s disease — a progressive disease that destroys memory and other mental functions*– and how to prevent it.  It was a very informative segment.

According to Ms. Genova, one can have the disease for some time without it manifesting right away. She said we can actually help prevent the advancement of the disease. Having enough good sleep, exercising, having a heart healthy diet, are among the things that one can practice to stave off the disease. Basically, I believe she meant taking care of one’s body by having a good lifestyle.

One more thing she mentioned was learning new things.  It is more than just restoring knowledge that’s already there. She pointed out that learning new things make you build and connect new neural connections, or synapses. This, I deduced will help keep your brains from degenerating.

The human brain is a beautiful, complicated organ. Like the muscles in your body, the brain can be trained to improve its function. And for it to stay healthy, it requires great care, exercise and yes, stimulation.

One is never too old to learn something new. In a way, the more we use our brains, the more we keep it from getting old fast. Interesting, huh?

After watching that segment, I made a resolve to care for my brains and keep it as healthy as possible. I promised to be more mindful of things, make an effort to remember names and details.  I will read more and learn new words. I will also write more… and use the new words that I learned.

I will learn new things.  

Besides, a beautiful mind complements a beautiful face, right? ❤

***

PS…

I found the ID I was looking for. I racked my brains, retraced my steps, and proved my memory did not fail me. It was with the file that I gave to my husband. He couldn’t remember having it at all! So I blame him. 😉

 

*****

Credits and sources:

*Alzheimer’s disease definition from Mayo Clinic.

Fareed Zakaria is a journalist and author. He is the host of CNN’s Fareed Zakaria GPS. You may watch his segment on Alzheimer’s via CNN video.

The picture is mine 🙂

Dream a little dream

It was 12:30am and I couldn’t sleep.

I was tired of watching Downton Abbey and Game of Thrones reruns… so I thought of reading a bit ’til I fall asleep. I decided to reach out for the book nearest my bed side… 

Lo and behold, I got hold of MY book. 

20yrsBGO

my 12:30am companion

I didn’t start reading right away, though. Instead, I think I stared at the cover for a good ten minutes. I looked at the front, then the back… I took a couple of photos then posted them on Instagram.

I marveled at the thought that this book I had in my hands bore my name on it. I was the author. It was my creation. My thoughts, my ideas, my words, on paper. My childhood dream realized. 

So this was what my bestie-cousin meant when she said, “It is different when you have the actual book in your hand. Something you can reread and bring with you everywhere you go.” And to emphasize further, “Your work. In your hands.”

She told me that at the time I needed encouragement… at the time when I was full of self-doubt and a voice in my head kept asking, “Why am I doing this again?”

It has been a year since the book first came out — though it wasn’t until the latter part of last year when well-known local bookstores started carrying it. 

Looking back, it was quite an experience, really.  From the first rejection of my manuscript, to the time I met the special people who worked with me to improve the outcome of the book… And then there was the challenge of how to distribute the books once published  (thought balloon: I might run out of family members and friends to sell to)… And all throughout, I had to deal with internal struggles — basically self-doubt and fear of being unworthy and being criticized. 

The whole process was a journey with moments of highs, and not exactly devoid of lows.

I have had good reviews and I have had so-so ones. I have readers clamoring for a second book — and yes, I have had one reader telling me that the book’s “not for her.” Short of telling me that she found it so juvenile.

It was a form of rejection, but I have long learned to take everything in stride.  

No, I didn’t turn into an instant celebrity author. I’m quite far from it, really. But I consider myself blessed for having those people who read and appreciated my work.

You see, all I really wanted was to tell stories and to entertain the readers in the process. I wanted to make them feel something. I thought of all the novels I read that somehow stayed with me long after I have placed the book down. I wanted to share that same feeling with my readers. If I can make even just one reader smile and feel good while reading my work, I knew I’ll be happy enough.

Truly if we allow our fears to take control, we will never be able to do anything. If we allow one rejection to get the better of us, then our goals — our dreams — will forever be out of reach.  

The other day I received a sales report from one of the bookstore chains distributing the book. So far they have sold about half of their inventory (based on total sales from various branches). Not bad… At least this time I know people other than my relatives bought the book!  Not bad for a newbie nobody like me. 🙂  

I started feeling sleepy even before reaching Chapter Two… But I know I fell asleep with a smile on my face.

Leaving you with this excerpt…

excerpts20yrs

Together they waited for the night to end.

❤ ❤

Fellow writers, artists, dreamers, I read this article on ‘rejection‘ online and it really struck me to the core. If you have been rejected or are afraid of rejection, this article is for you!! Sharing it with hopes that it can enlighten you the way it enlightened me: Why You Should Aim for 100 Rejections a Year, by Kim Liao, Literary Hub.

Twenty Years in Between, available at select National Bookstore, Powerbooks and Fully Booked branches. Also available online at Bookbed.org.

To God be the glory always. Photos are mine 🙂 

“For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them.” Eph.2:10 NKJV