Precious Moments

The moment I found out that their College had a quarter break in September and my son had five days to spare, I immediately got him a plane ticket home. (And because he is favored, I was able to get the ticket at a really good price!)

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My son’s home!!! 

We didn’t tell anyone that he was coming home, only my husband and I knew about it… but I scheduled a family dinner (with my parents, mother in law, siblings, brother-in-law, and nephews) at my sister’s house the day my unico was supposed to arrive. My sister thought I was getting depressed that’s why I was insistent on having dinner with the family.   Little did they know…

We told my son not to enter with us and to wait a few minutes outside the house so it will surprise them more when he enters. 

And so we were all mostly at the living room… my mom was saying it would have been nice if my son was around so we were complete, my dad kept asking me for updates on college activities… my nephews were just there hanging out with the adults, trying not to act bored…

On cue, my son knocked on the door — didn’t wait for anyone to open it — then entered and said, “Hi!” 

My older nephew let out a low, shocked, “HUH!!!” Followed by a high-pitched “What?!” from the younger one. My mom stared at his eldest grandchild for a good three minutes, not recognizing him, thinking we had another guest. Eventually she realized who she was staring at, stood up and hugged him tight. My dad asked me if I knew he was arriving — uhm, yes, father, I bought his ticket! 🙂  My sister who was slowly coming down from the stairs saw him and stared hard before realizing she wasn’t dreaming. 

It was a good surprise. It was nice night for a family reunion. 

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Act surprised, Leandro!

Family is 

The days passed in a blur. 

My son had homework to do, papers to write and submit, so it was somewhat a working vacation for him. Yet whenever possible, we took the time to go out and do things together. 

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Malling

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Hanging out with my dad 

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Buying groceries

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Eating some more… 😉 

He also spent a day at his old high school, visited his teachers and friends.

When at home, he would spend his hours reading or writing. We didn’t always have good, meaningful conversations because he had “stuff to do,” and there were plenty moments like this…

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Spongebob, how cute are you??!

I didn’t really mind much. He was home… that’s all that mattered! 

Besides, I can always pester him like this… 

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Me: Smile for mommy! Him: Why??! Me: Because I said so… 😉

It was a short break. Before we knew it, he had to fly back to Singapore. 

But then one thing I know for sure is that the moments spent together, no matter how fast — or how short — will always be precious.

Sooner or later he will be busier. He will be more settled in school or swamped with more activities, that staying at the dorm would seem like a better option than coming home. 

As our children grow older, they begin to need us less and less. And so we make the most of the moments when we can still hold them near. 

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Off to the airport. Again.

We make the most of the moments we share and spend with our loved ones because ultimately these are the moments that matter, right? 

Hello and goodbye…

These are the moments that put a smile in our hearts and give meaning to our lives. 

 

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This, to me, is the loneliest place on earth… 😦

 

photos are all mine

 

 

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The many firsts

For the past several days, I have been busy helping my son with his College Apps (College Application) requirements. As I sort documents and fill out forms, I couldn’t help but realize that… this is really happening — my unico hijo is off to college next year! 

Where has the time gone?? 

I can still remember bringing him to Nursery school and waiting for him outside the classroom for two hours every school day, for the first two months.  I couldn’t leave because he might look for me and cry if he finds out I wasn’t there.

Well, he never looked for me — and he never cried inside the classroom. He has always liked going to school. 🙂

That was Nursery school.  Now, we are talking College. I wonder if he will let me wait for him at the campus on his first day in College…

Okay, so I am beginning to get sentimental. I guess it happens to every parent — especially mothers. We look at our children and we see them as our babies. Whether they are 7 years old or 17, they are and will always be our babies. We simply cannot let go.

Oh, we will let go, eventually. Because we have to. But then that doesn’t keep us from being as protective… and maternal.

I have talked to several mommy friends whose children are also going to college next year, and they share the same sentiments. Some are already looking for the closest place to hang out while their children are in school (yes, we are moving our coffee and brunch meet up venues near their children’s universities!). I have a friend who can’t help but bawl whenever she sees a baby picture of her kid. 

Sometimes it’s not always fun being a mom. Sometimes we just feel too much…

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One of the perks of being a full-time, hands-on mom is that you get to witness your child’s many firsts. And if you are lucky — and prepared — you get to document them, too… Or you take pictures.  Lots and lots of them. Pictures to be shared in your blog when your child is much older (and will probably think of killing you for embarrassing him or her)

I dug up my son’s albums and got a few favorites… Photos of some of his many firsts. His firsts according to my mommy eyes.  

This is me getting sentimental… Indulge me.

First Day of School

The first one was his first day in a small school (Nursery) and the second one was his first day at a big school (Junior Prep).

First Field Trip

I remember being sick on that day. I had really bad colds and cough — but I had to accompany him. We were under the sun for the most part of the day. I felt like dying!

But seeing the excitement and big smile on my child’s face was more than enough to keep me alive — at least for the next eight hours.

Incidentally, that was also his first time to ride a big bus, so, double the excitement! 

First Trip Out of the Country

To Paris, with love… We just love Paris!

provence-002

Carpentras

This was taken before my sister’s wedding somewhere South of France.  

First Costumes

Back when he was too young to complain about wearing a bee costume. Take note, he wasn’t Winnie the Pooh… he was a cute bee. 🙂 

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But of course…

First Filipiniana Costume… Katipunero or Farmer? We were never sure which.

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Dr. Jose Rizal

In Jr Prep, he was supposed to come as our national hero, Dr. Jose Rizal. But on the day of the event, he had sore eyes… Yet that didn’t stop us from dressing up — and taking photos!  (How do you like the mustache?!)

He was supposed to be a pizza for Nutrition Month. But during the parade, they put the box with the back facing front, so he ended up looking like a pizza delivery guy.  The cutest pizza guy ever! (Mommy made that pizza costume!)

Hawaiian costume — which he also wore for his Jr Prep Recognition; Cheong sam for United Nations Day (good for sleeping, too!).

Our favorite costume, good old Capt. Hook! Won quite a number of prizes.

And yes, I had to dress up one Halloween. Capt. Hook needed an evil muse.

First Friends

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Stephanie and Emily

His first friends were two French girls. 

One taught him how to ride the bike, the other helped plan his 3rd birthday party. They all cried when the girls’ family had to move to Belgium. 😦

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The Justice League

 His posse. ‘Nuf said. 

First Sports

First time at the fairway and first golf tournament

baseball

Baseball beginnings

First baseball game.

He didn’t have baseball uniform yet. He looked like an extra. He was the 10th player on the field. 

Best Wanderer ever. 🙂 

First Studio Pictorial

It wasn’t his photo shoot… it was mine.  But he was just too cute to say no to.

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I still have lots of other photos. I have his firsts, seconds and thirds. But this should do for now.

Maybe the next picture should be of his first day in college… With me still lurking in the background. Totally uncool. 😉 

If only they can be young forever. *Sigh*

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PS… Note to fellow parents:

Take photos of your kids while they are young. Take lots. Even if they whine and complain. They are only young once and they do grow up so very fast.

Capture moments. You will be thankful some day that you did. 

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photos are all mine!!

A day in the life…

 

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Selfie ready. Always

It normally takes me an hour to get ready when I have to go somewhere — be it running errands, going to school affairs, meeting friends for coffee, or simply going to the mall for some Me time.

I have an intensive beauty regimen. If I don’t get to put on moisturizer and lotion, apply make up (i.e, eyeliner, lipstick, concealer), powder my nose, and spray on perfume, I would feel totally incomplete.  I go through that every single day… even when I have to stay home. 

It takes me an hour or so to finish in front of the mirror. I always make sure I put my best face forward.

Yesterday was an exception, though… It was one of those off days.

I was supposed to accompany my dad to his doctor’s appointment. I also had to get some documents needed for my son’s college applications from several banks. I had quite a lot of things on my mind and was quite distracted. 

Not knowing what time exactly my dad needed me, I decided to do my bank transactions first, hoping that it wouldn’t take forever for me to finish. I was in such a hurry that I was only able to take a quick peek at the mirror, put eyeliner, reapply lipstick and dab a bit of powder on my face. I rode the car with disheveled hair and all. I prayed nobody I knew would see me. 

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As expected, it took me a while to finish my transaction at the first bank that I went to. By that time, my dad has already texted three times — to ask where I was, to tell me the schedule and to ask again where I was. I was starting to feel stressed, I felt my straight hair starting to curl.

I told myself it shouldn’t be as bad in the second bank since I was simply going to pick up some documents.

The bank officer in the second bank was very accommodating. He looked for and handed me right away the documents I needed. Just as I was about to leave, though, he asked for an ID that they can photocopy and attach to the transmittal memo that went with the documents. I obliged.

As he was returning the ID, he read my birth year aloud. “19–.” He looked at me, then he looked at the ID  again and muttered, “You don’t look your age.

I smiled shyly and muttered, “I look older?” He replied, “Younger. Definitely younger. Wow.” 

I got my ID back, smiled a big smile, said thank you, and walked away. Felt like a Supermodel walking out of the bank.

The compliment made my afternoon… or at least a portion of it.

Yes, I’m shallow like that. 🙂

***

Going on a trip to my dad’s doctors is not something that I look forward to.  

In the last five years, my dad has had two surgeries, colon and then lung lobectomy, a series of chemotherapy sessions, and a knee fracture caused by an accident.  It was not an easy journey. Not for him and not for the family.  We have spent days going back and forth to the hospital. He has had a battery of tests.

But he is a fighter. He looked cancer in the eye and pretty much told the disease to take a hike. He has been cleared for almost three years now, though we still make regular visits to his doctors (all 5 or so of them) for monitoring.

He recently had his scheduled physical check up — CT scan, ultrasound, cardio test, and the works.  All tests he passed with flying colors.  I even kidded him the other day about his blood test results being more normal than mine.  

He is by all indication healthy and his vitals normal.

And then he started complaining about pain in the lower abs that radiates to the hips up to his back after sitting for a long time. No real reason for worry, we say. I keep telling him it’s just muscle pains and maybe nerves… maybe even rheumatism. 

As expected, his doctor said the same thing about his pain in the lower abs — it’s just muscle pains. But to address the back pains, the doctor ordered an MRI of the lumbar area. The pain, he said, can also be just muscle pains, or it could be a form of osteoporosis. Though because of my dad’s cancer history, they had to do an MRI. My mom and I exchanged looks. Here we go again…

From the moment we went out of the doctor’s clinic and all throughout the ride home, I have been praying silently that everything’s just muscle pains. 

When I don’t know the answer to my questions… When fear is beginning to creep in and I am starting to feel the anxiety building up… When I know that I cannot show how scared I am because I have to be strong for other people… Truly, prayer is my only refuge. 

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After the doctor’s consult, we decided to go to a cafe and have snacks. We asked my sister to join so we can fill her in. 

So over three kinds of pasta (hospital news made us hungry), we talked about what lies ahead. It was just the four of us — My dad, mom, my sister and I. The original bunch. We provide each other with strength.

We assured each other that there’s nothing to worry about. That the pain may be just because of the usual wear and tear of the body. My sister even suggested that my dad does yoga. I told him to go to an orthopedic doctor and ask for therapy.

And so we wait for Monday’s MRI session and Thursday’s doctor’s verdict. As we wait, we pray. We pray for courage and strength. We pray for inner peace.

Funny how earlier in the day my main concern was just about looking good. Yes, I can be shallow like that 🙂 

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Photos are mine. Hover over the photos to see the caption. ❤

 

Learning from sports

Veronica, Archie and Veronica

“I don’t sweat, I glow”
I simply adore her!!

I was never the athletic type.  I grew up being more of a stereotypical girly-girl… meaning, I walk slow, I move slow, I don’t like perspiring  (I don’t sweat, I glow), I always made sure my hair is not in disarray  — which would be difficult to avoid when you’re running or  doing any kind of physical activity.

Back in high school, you will see me spending more time in the library than in the gym.  I preferred doing mental calisthenics.  I studied about sports, but I didn’t DO sports.  I simply didn’t have the drive.

If I had a girl, she would probably be like me.  Most likely shopping and walking in the mall would be our best form of exercise together.  THAT I can do so well, even with eyes closed!   However I was blessed with a boy.  Good thing his father is super sportsminded so my son has someone to emulate.

And so, early on we introduced my son to various sports… Sports for him to love, to spend time on and to learn important life lessons from.

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Let’s play ball!

Playing a sport teaches one about the value of discipline, hardwork, perseverance.  If it’s an individual sport (like golf or tennis), you learn to trust yourself more — because you have no one but yourself to depend on.  If it’s team sport, you learn about teamwork.  You learn to rely on other people — your teammates.  You play the role or the position given to you and you learn it well… and you trust that your teammates will do what is expected of them.

Sports should teach one about respect — for your coaches, your teammates and your opponents, as well.  Sports teach one about winning and losing.  Sports shape one’s character.  What one learns in the basketball court or on the baseball diamond can be applied outside — in the real world.

In fact, it’s a two way thing… you learn values from sports experiences which you can apply in real life situations — and you also bring into your games the kind of person that you truly are… whatever values you have grown up with.

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Ideally, sports should shape a child to become a better person.

I encouraged my son to do baseball not only so that he can meet new people, gain new friends, but also because I wanted him to learn about discipline, hardwork, teamwork, respect, among other things.  He may not be the best baseball player, but we constantly remind him to just give his best ALL THE TIME.  He may make mistakes, fumble, strike out and may not hit a home run.  What we expect from him is to always attempt, to run as hard, to respect everybody on the diamond — umpires included, and if he’s going to strike out, to strike out swinging.

We don’t expect our son to be the Superstar baseball player but we expect him to give his 100% all the time.  Greatness would follow.

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champion, #1, winner

What does it take?

It is sad, though, that not everybody shares the same sentiments.  There are people who are after nothing else but the win.  Of course we all want to win.  Yet there are those whose battle cry is — Win at all cost!  Never mind that you don’t show respect for the opponent — or even your teammates.  Never mind that you quarrel with the officials along the way.  Never mind that you manipulate people or events, just so your child can play in all the games you want him to play in.

There are parents who think that their child is the Superstar and everybody else is just there as an entourage.  Of course they choose their child’s teammates because their child should play only with strong players, lest they don’t form a winning team.  And unfortunately, there are coaches who let these parents meddle.

Sadly, there are people who think that winning is dependent on what the scoreboard says.  Somewhere along the way, the very essence of sportsmanship is forgotten.

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Calvin and Hobbes, tantrums, temper tantrums

let’s throw a tantrum!

As a parent of a sportsminded young man, I have seen all kinds of people in and out of the playing field.  I have seen boys having tantrums in the middle of a game.  I have seen parents throwing tantrums while on the bleachers.  I have seen coaches shouting expletives at the officials after a questionable call.

Sometimes I ask myself, am I doing the right thing exposing my son to these kinds of people?  Is this what he is learning when he plays baseball?  Isn’t he supposed to be learning about respect??

Honestly there are times when I want to either tell some people to just shut up OR to pull my son out of the game and tell everybody that they can all go to — wherever.

It really can get to you.  Most often than not, game situations inside and reality situations outside the field become a test of MY character.  Do I stay and keep quiet, or do I walk away and leave my son to play his game regardless of whatever’s happening around him?

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cheerleader

I am more than just a cheerleader.

If I try to intervene and tell some parents off  — or in extreme cases, coaches —  then I guess I am no different from them, right?  I think the only thing that is within my control is my son…how he perceives things, how he will take things, and how he will react given certain situations.  Perhaps at this point he still needs my guidance as a parent.

When it comes to baseball skills-building, I know he won’t learn anything from me.  But if we’re talking about values and character building, I do believe that the parents should still stay involved.

Children are very impressionable.  Teenagers are prone to succumbing to peer pressure.  Parents should all the more be vigilant.  Moreso, parents should be the mature ones and act the part.

I choose to stay present during my son’s sports activities so that if I see that there are outside factors influencing him to shift to the wrong path, I can be there to direct him back.  Time will come when he’s old enough to decide for himself and he won’t need nor want me anymore to tell him what to do.  But until that time comes, I intend to try and do the best I can to lead him towards the right path.

I try to be the mature person that I am supposed — and expected — to be.  I don’t quarrel with other parents, I don’t berate the coaches or the umpires.  I try to teach my son that rules are meant to be followed and that people of authority should be respected.  I also remind him that the players — both teammates and opposing team, alike — should be treated with the same respect and dignity that he expects himself to be given.

This is what playing sports is all about.  It’s not just about winning games.  Because on the field, one is only as good as his last game.  But in the real world, one is and will be remembered for the kind of person that he truly is.

Train a child in the way he should go.  Even when he is older he will not depart from it. —  Proverbs 22:6

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photos via google images and clipart.

bible verse from the Holy Bible, New International Version