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!)

1

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. 

3

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. 

7

Malling

8.1

Hanging out with my dad 

11

Buying groceries

12

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…

10

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… 

9

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. 

13

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. 

 

14

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

 

photos are all mine

 

 

Advertisements

A Whole New World

If you are wondering why I have been awfully quiet these past few weeks (and you don’t follow my Instagram and Facebook accounts) — well, the time has come. No, my Game of Thrones friends, I didn’t mean winter…

I was referring to my son’s College Move In Weekend… Though now that I think about it, the experience felt very much like a GoT episode — exciting, yet dreadful at the same time. Minus the gore, of course.

I digress. Anyway, so two weeks ago we brought the unico hijo to Singapore for College. After all the planning and the preparation and the psyching of one’s self (I am talking about myself here), when the actual day comes that you have to let go of your child’s hand and leave him to fend for himself… well, you are never really sure if you are ready or if your heart will not cave in when you see your child walking away from you.    

1

Our customary “off to school” photo 

But then this is what parents do, right? We raise our children to be the best that they can be and we offer them the greatest opportunities possible. We allow them to experience things on their own, not always under our shadow, so they can grow. 

That Sunday afternoon as we were saying goodbye — he has already moved in to his residential college while his father and I were headed back to our hotel — my son’s last words to us were, Will you be okay?” 

I knew he was merely referring to the commute from the College back to the hotel, us being ‘tourists’ and all.  My head asked my heart the same question, though… Will I be okay? 

I know I will miss his presence in the house. I know I will have to get used to an empty bedroom across mine. I will miss our nightly chats over dinner. The house will seem bigger, quieter…

But when I think of the whole new exciting world that he is entering… When I think of the vast opportunities and meaningful experiences ahead of him, all the learnings that will make his life richer and will make him a much better person still, I am assured that there is no reason not to be okay. Everything will be well.

2

No goodbyes, just see you later!

So yes, I will be okay. And so will he. 🙂 

❤ ❤ ❤

new world

His home for four years 

 

*****

photos are all mine 🙂 

 

 

 

No.Internet.Connection

The first thing I do when I wake up on a normal weekday morning is to go to my corner in the living room, play worship songs on YouTube using my iPad, then open my Bible app and read verses. 

After quiet time, I go and check my FB messenger to see if there were messages that came in middle of the night. After which I go and check my Yahoo mail for more messages. Then I go to my WordPress account to look at my blog stats. On some mornings I do online banking.

My best friend normally messages me early morning and on days when we are not rushing to go somewhere, we end up chatting online. Some mornings I chat with my person from LA, too. 

Eventually I will check my Facebook notifications and news feed and I will find out what’s happening in the world. I see pictures and get updated on previous day’s happenings… I will see sunrise photos from various places… I will find out what certain people had for breakfast… I will know the traffic situation.

I haven’t stepped out of the house — have not finished my first cup of coffee even — yet I will already know so much about what has transpired, and what is currently transpiring, in the outside world.

I am just so connected.

***

My plan for today was to stay home and write. I planned to blog. I also planned to write another article for an online publication.  

I have been out a lot lately, thanks to all the Christmas shopping and get-togethers, that I haven’t had the chance to write much. So last night, I promised myself that today, I will just stay home and write.

I will drink lots of coffee and I will blog. I will blog about my upcoming birthday and how the thought of getting another year older stresses me out.

12468113_10153459300168737_1260065781_n

Writer Me

I had it all planned. It will be a quiet “writer’s day” for me.  Even my YouTube playlist is all planned and ready.

***

When I woke up this morning, the first thing I did was to check my mails. Couldn’t connect. Hmm. Something must be wrong with the network. I tried to access YouTube. Nothing. Facebook Messenger. No internet connection. Hmm. That’s weird. I was online ’til before midnight last night…

I checked my cellphone. No signal. Goodness, what is happening?? I can’t send messages online, nor can I send text messages using my cellphone.

I felt so cut-off from the outside world and I was getting destabilized. How will I upload my blog? How will I message my friends?? How will I listen to my worship songs?? I CAN’T even access my iPad Bible!! 😦

As I felt the panic starting to rise from within, it then dawned on me that — uhm, I forgot to pay for our phone and internet bill which was due last Friday.  Because of the hustle and bustle of the season — and yes, with all the shopping and lunches that I have been doing, I completely forgot to pay my bills. Ergo, my internet got cut.

My cellphone signal is another issue altogether. I think it was really just weak. In my case, dead. 

It wasn’t even 6:30am, yet I was already frazzled. Not exactly a pleasing sight on an early Monday morning.

***

I was on the verge of a tantrum. I wanted to kick myself for being forgetful and I wanted to curse the cellphone network to high heavens for having weak signal. I was seriously contemplating throwing my cellphone away. 

And then I caught myself… and I stopped.

A voice in me asked, How difficult would it be to last a morning without gadgets… without the internet… without wi-fi?  Is it really that bad?

Gadgets vs Old-school

Sure, I said I’ll write… But I can write the draft first on a pad paper. I have always liked writing my thoughts long hand before transferring them to the computer, anyway. I enjoy seeing my erasures.

I don’t really need my Bible app since I have my old reliable Bible that I can open and read. Plus, I don’t think the earth will stop spinning if I don’t get to text or chat with my friends in the morning… Nor will I miss out on a lot of things if I don’t get to check Facebook.

And I can always sing worship songs a capella…

Perhaps a few hours of disconnect will do me good. 

Maybe a few hours gadget-free and without social media will give me the peace that I need. 

It is quite liberating when you think about it.

***

shopping

Favorite past time…

I ended up spending the rest of the morning doing more Christmas shopping with my mom (yey!) while I asked someone to settle my phone bills. My mom and I even met up with my sister for lunch. My day of recluse was instead spent with family, with actual conversations happening face to face. 

When I got home mid-afternoon, I noticed that my internet has been reconnected. I did not rush to check anything online, though. Instead I fixed the gifts that I bought, and I talked to my best friend on the phone. 

The online world probably did not miss me… which was okay since I was busy living life in the real world.

The day was light and easy, gadget-free. It was a good day after all.

Tomorrow, I will write my birthday blog. 🙂 

barbie-bday

the Betsy cake 🙂

***

photo credits: Writer, shopping and Barbie cake photos via google images

Sunsets and Friendships

Sunsets come and go… But friends stay forever. 

I saw that as caption to a photo posted by a Facebook friend. It was a picture of five people in silhouette, watching a beautiful sunset by the beach. 

The picture was truly breathtaking… and the message equally inspiring.

It made me think of my high school friends and all the sunsets that we shared together — as well as all the times we waited for the sun to rise. 

If there are people who know me the most, these would be my high school friends. I can say this because we practically grew up together. And growing up together entails knowing each other’s quirks, each other’s habits and hobbies… It means meeting all your friends’ love interests, both the good and the bad ones, and they meet yours, too… Through the years, you share life’s ups and downs… You know what buttons to push to irritate or compliment the other…

It’s about knowing their life story — and accepting and loving them just the same.

My high school friends are the ones who call me Gorgeous, instead of calling me by my name.  They can also proudly and boldly call me vain and narcissistic without me being the least bit offended.

They have seen me at my best and still loved me at my worst. 

Like I said, my high school friends and I don’t just watch the sunsets… we share sunrise, too…

hs-1997

January 1, 1997

Taken almost 20 years ago, First of January, 1997. Coming from the house of another friend, we waited for the sun to rise and had this picture taken in front of St. James church in Alabang.

The night before the photo above. New Year’s Eve, 1996. 

And 20 years — and pounds — later… we still do Christmases together…

hs-2015

Christmas Get-Together 2015

hs-2016

Post-holiday 2016 Get-Together

I don’t always get to see my friends much. I know I am partly to blame because I allow the busyness of every day life to get in the way.

Yet whenever we do see each other, it’s like no time has passed. We are still the very people we once were. We just easily pick up where we left off. We update ourselves with the things we missed, we celebrate each other’s successes. 

And as we got older together — and hopefully more mature, we know that we are done with petty things. We still tease each other, yes, but we don’t bicker. We now talk about serious stuff… our families, our fears, insecurities, goals and achievements, even our mistakes. And we can still laugh at shallow, silly things (and people) — just like when we were 15. 

My friends and I are secure in the knowledge that we accept each other for who and what we are and were. Each of us with our different moods, strengths, flaws and all.

Because that’s the thing about true friendship. Neither time nor distance can change how you see the other person, nor how you feel about them.

With real friends, you can never lose the love, the respect and that feeling of being home.  

hs-2014

With three of my high school besties, Jeg, Liesl and Sandee. Homecoming 2014.

I originally captioned this, “Mean Girls,” but they objected. They said I was the only mean one. 🙂

❤ ❤ ❤

Sunsets come and go… But friends stay forever. 

*****

photos from the ’90s — which I grabbed online — i think came from our friend Joel.  All other photos are mine!!

Them. In no particular order: Jeg, Liesl, Sandee, Kokoy, Myla, Patrick, Manny and Joel

Highlight of my day

1

This guy! ❤ 

When my son was younger and just started going to elementary school, we made it a point that he shares with us his daily experiences in school.  Over dinner, we would ask him what he did, what his teachers taught him, lessons he learned, new friends he met… We made him share with us the highlight of his day.

It was a good practice. There was always a lot of stories to tell. At times we have really long dinners because of stories shared and discussed. Some nights we focus on just the highlights. He talked, we listened.

And as he talked, we got to know him more. We got to know the person that he was becoming. As we gave him our own thoughts and ideas, hopefully, we also helped shape and mold him into being the best person he can be. 

Young children tend to talk more. They can talk non-stop. Everything’s a highlight because every school activity seems to be interesting and exciting. As they get older, though, they begin to choose the things they want to share. 

My son is now a senior in high school. On most nights I feel he would rather have dinner with his laptop than with me.  When asked about the highlight of his day, sometimes I would get a grunt or rolling eyeballs.

But still there are nights when I get the full update — complete with videos and music from the laptop. 

***

I have been a full time, hands on mom from Day 1.

When my son was much, much younger, my days were filled with his activities. I bring him to school each morning and pick him up in the afternoon.  After class hours we go to his scheduled extra curricular activities. We had Kumon, piano lessons, art lessons, baseball training, etc. While he’s in school or doing after school activities, I make school reviewers for him to answer when he gets home.

Yes, I was that kind of mom. I was always there. I pushed. I hovered. My schedule pretty much revolved around his. If you asked me then what the highlight of my day was, most likely I’d say baseball training or game. Yeah, that and making gazillion reviewers.

I was busy. I was mother, teacher, tutor, personal assistant, nurse, cook, magician, and atm machine when needed.

To him I was mom. In my mind, I was Superwoman, out to save the day… everyday.

As he got older, of course he became more independent. That also meant he had less need of me. I can bring him to ball games and trainings, but I won’t even attempt to teach him higher maths. 

But because of the good study habits instilled in him when he was younger, coupled with his genuine interest to learn something new and his drive to give his best no matter what, I am now confident that I can already loosen the rein and I know that he can do things on his own. And he has proven time and again that he is a responsible guy.

All of a sudden, I was left with time in my hands. 

***

When my son entered high school and started needing me less, I was left with the question — Now, what do I do next?  

12088144_10153310981923737_5969586904177024165_n

Can’t miss school activities, can we? 

I can’t be the uncool mom who hovers. I knew I had to find something different to do.  I had to have my own schedule, my own personal activities. 

And so I started writing again. I started writing regularly. I blogged. I even wrote a book.

I also became more involved in our baseball camp operations. I helped plan tournaments and games. I took care of the Camp’s finances and other administrative functions. 

I had more time to have lunches and coffee meet ups with friends, too. And on really lazy days, I just lounge on the sofa in front of the tv and maybe watch the Kardashians (’til I feel my brain cells dying one by one).

My days became more about me — or the baseball camp, for that matter.

And yet I also know that at any point during the day, should my son holler “Mom!” for whatever reason, I know I will drop everything and come running. 

***

Next year my son will be going off to college. Another season in our lives about to unfold. I am excited for him… I am also melancholic. 

Since the plan is for him to study abroad, that would mean leaving the family home. That would also mean less dinners together. Can’t help but feel a tug in my heart. 

But then I also know that for our children to really learn and grow, we have to let them go and allow them to experience life on their own. We can only pray that we have taught and equipped them enough so they can face the real world with courage and wisdom.

And we never stop being a parent whether our children are with us or faraway. I know for a fact that regardless of whatever hat I wear, or whatever title I may hold, I will always, always choose to be a mother first.

Believe it or not, whether he’s 8 or 18, listening to my son talk about the highlight of his day will always be the highlight of MY day. 

 

***

photos are ALL mine!!