New Chapters

It has been almost a month since my last blog entry.

A lot of things can happen in a month. Indeed, a lot of things have happened these past four weeks.

Milestone moments.

So, my unico hijo graduated from high school last May 30. He graduated with highest honors. He was one of the recipients of the Citizenship (Leadership) award, and he was also given the Scholastic and Academic Award. 

I was one proud mommy. I still am. 

I listened in awe as he delivered his Valedictory speech. That speech which he didn’t want to show us prior to graduation — mainly because he wanted it to be his own. I respected his decision because I knew that the writer in me would have ended up editing the speech here and there… And the mother in me would have added stuff that I thought was important. 

And so he held his own. He wrote his speech without any inputs from his parents… And he delivered it to the graduating class and the whole community with such grace and confidence. He talked about superheroes and about how one need not be a superhero to leave a mark in the world. He talked about his classmates and friends who in their own ways are mighty enough. He talked about the school and the community that shaped him to become the person the he is today.

As I observed the teachers, other parents, and the rest of the school community listening to his every word, I couldn’t help but think that yes, I must have done something good. Although I knew that the day was not about me… still, I couldn’t help but take pride in the fact that I helped raise this young man up. I had a hand in molding him into what and who he is now.

I also said a silent prayer of thanks to the Creator — for entrusting this child to me. I thanked Him for allowing me to experience this precious thing called Motherhood.

the graduate

With the Cup and the Cap that kept falling off — much to my dismay!!

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June 4 — the unico hijo turned 18.

Wow. 18 years. Time just flew by. He is now 18… I can no longer claim to be just 27 years old. Gosh.

I tried to think about how 18 years of being a mother has changed me. Aside from the additional 18lbs (or maybe even 20?) that I have gained through the years, surely there were other changes that took place.

For one I am no longer the clueless young mother that I was years back… I am now a clueless old mother. Haha, kidding. 

Motherhood doesn’t come with a handbook. One learns about parenting from other people — like your elders, or your peers. You also learn given the situations or circumstances that you face. You learn from your child. You learn from your mistakes, too. 

Ultimately you learn to trust your instincts and you make decisions based on what your heart tells you… because your heart will always opt for the good, wherever your child is concerned. 

Motherhood changed me. I learned things about myself, did things that I never thought I was capable of doing. I found that kind of strength that I never thought I had. I learned to make wise decisions. And more importantly, I learned to put someone else’s needs before mine.

Years back, when I decided to be a full-time, hand-on mom, I heard remarks that were enough to make one feel inferior. To some people, I became “just a mother.” Like my value as a person diminished somehow.

Now 18 years later, I’d still say that I wouldn’t have had it any other way.  

almon

Our first date after he turned 18 ❤ 

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The coming months will be pretty interesting because once my son is already in college, I will only be mothering from afar. So basically, I am starting a new chapter in my life, as well.

Whenever I read a book, I always look forward to starting new chapters. Each new chapter holds promise. If the previous one was bad, I look forward to the next one being good. If the previous chapter was good, I look forward to the next one being better.

As my son begins his new chapter, so will I begin mine.

Here’s to living God’s purpose, one life chapter at a time.

photo credits: pictures are all mine 🙂

525,600 minutes

Five hundred twenty-five thousand
Six hundred minutes
Five hundred twenty-five thousand
Moments so dear…

Exactly two weeks from today, my precious unico hijo will be graduating from high school. 

Over the past weekend, I started listing down the things we should prepare for, things that he would be needing for college. Though he won’t be leaving until end of July, I just thought of planning and preparing early enough so we won’t forget anything.

Last night I found myself watching YouTube videos that featured his future college. I watched the ones made by current students (mostly entitled A Day in the Life…), I also viewed the promotional videos posted by the school itself. 

I thought of how he will have a lot of exciting opportunities, meet new, interesting people, learn a lot from this college experience. I know it will be quite an adventure for him. I am probably even more excited than him. I probably already know more about the school than he does. 

I slept feeling at peace, excited about the college we chose, and what the future holds for my son. 

This morning, my sister sent me an article she read online entitled Give Me the Strength… A Parent’s Prayer at Graduation. 

That article/prayer brought me back to the present. It brought me back to here and now….

To the realization that in two weeks time, my son and his classmates are graduating, spending one last day at their beloved high school. They will be saying goodbye to each other, to their teachers, to their younger friends.  They will be spending their last morning in that school, all together, perhaps for the one last time. And then they will say goodbye and part ways.

All they will be left with are memories — good, bad, ugly… It doesn’t matter, I am sure they will embrace each memory just the same.

I was a weepy mess after reading the article… also because I realized that as my son leaves high school and goes off to college, I will have to say goodbye, too. 

Five hundred twenty-five thousand
Six hundred minutes
How do you measure – measure a year?

When my son first left to attend a College Weekend (you may read about it in the post Stages and Seasons), the house truly felt different. It was more quiet.

My son was never a noisy, rowdy individual. On ordinary days, he would just stay in his room to study, so I am pretty used to the house being quiet.  But it is a different kind of silence when you know that your child is just there in the other room. 

In Church that weekend, one of the Senior Pastors chatted with my husband and me. We got to talk about empty nesting and he gave us some words of advise, words of wisdom. He empathized with us, even shared their own experience as a family when their eldest son also graduated from high school and moved out of the house for college. 

Parents have to let go of their children at some point. And it hurts when we do so. What makes it more sad is the realization that as we end this season, we also have to accept that things will never be how they were before. We say good bye to our young child. 

We say good bye to the ordinary day to day life we spend with them. The ordinary and the mundane days spent with our young children that we normally take for granted. 

In daylights – in sunsets
In midnights – in cups of coffee
In inches – in miles
In laughter – in strife

In – five hundred twenty-five thousand
Six hundred minutes
How do you measure
A year in the life

But then, like what the Pastor reminded us, parenthood does not end when our children become adults. We just all enter a new season together

How about love?
How about love?
How about love?
Measure in love
Seasons of love
Seasons of love…

I am proud of the things my son has accomplished and of the person that he has become. But I also know that there is so much more in store for him and as good parents, we will have to give him the freedom to grow. 

We will always be his parents. I will always be his mother. Whenever he needs me, all he has to do is to holler and he will have my attention. Sometimes he doesn’t even need to holler, sometimes I already know he needs me even if he hasn’t said a word. That won’t change.

And I will continue to pray for him — for his health, his well-being, his happiness and success — whether he is here or in another country. Just like I do so every single day. 

We will embrace the change of seasons… and we will make new, happy memories.

New season. Different season. But a parent’s love remains. 

Measure, measure your life in love… Seasons of love.

Neither ordinary nor mundane 🙂 

❤ ❤ ❤

“Seasons of Love” lyrics from the musical Rent; “Give Me the Strength… A Parent’s Prayer at Graduation” from mylifetree.com; Photos are all mine.

Stages and Seasons

It used to be our daily practice when my son was much, much younger… I would bring him to school in the morning, and then pick him up after class.

Just another regular school day…

Our drive to and from school gave us the chance to bond more. Morning travels were spent preparing him for the day… while I spend the afternoon ride home listening to how his school day went.

Morning car ride to school, elementary days

When he was very young, I would walk with him to his classroom and would only leave once I see that he’s all settled in. In time, I would just drop him off at the door of the building and will just watch as he walked the hallway to his classroom — or up to how far my eyes could reach him. 

I think he was in Grade 5 when he told me that I didn’t need to accompany him anymore even up to the gate… Though he said he still wanted me to be in the car with him so we can still chat on the way to school. 

Eventually, it would just be the driver who would bring him and pick him up.

Classroom. Hallway. School gate. Car.

Stages. Seasons.

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Last Thursday, my husband and I brought our son to the airport. He was to fly to another country for a College Weekend. As part of his college applications, he was invited by a university to visit the campus and for several interviews.

Car ride to the airport

It was his first trip abroad alone. 

Being a mother, I was overjoyed and excited for him. I was happy that he is getting all these opportunities. 

I was melancholic, too.

My heart was overflowing with joy and pride, yet at the same time it was melting and breaking, too. My son is not a baby anymore.

airport scene

Off to College Candidate Weekend!

It was a prelude to letting go.

Stages. Seasons.

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Immediately the morning after my son left, a good friend of mine, K, called up to check on me. She asked how I was, asked if I cried — or if I was still crying.

She knows I don’t cry easily… Yet she also knows that my heart breaks just the same. 

That same afternoon, I was at the mall running errands. Just as I was about to go home, I thought of what snack to buy for my son. He always comes home from school hungry and I make it a point that he has something to eat when he gets home.

And then I remembered he was out of the country. All I could do was to let out a huge sigh.

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Our children are not ours. Yes, we give them life, we raise them, we teach them… but we all know that time will come when we will have to let go and let them live their lives. Eventually they will have to spread their wings and live according to their purpose. And we allow them.

It is scary for us parents. Somehow don’t we all wish we can hold on to them, keep them near all time? Yet we also know that in order for them to grow, we have to let them go.

We just have to trust that we have taught them enough so they are able to stand on their own when the time comes.

We have to have faith in them, too.

❤ ❤

So spend as much time with your kids while they are young… while they are there. 

Like what I told my other friend who claims to be a ‘clingy parent’: Yes, be clingy. Cling as much and as hard as you can.

Because time flies. Life is fleeting. Our children grow up so fast. One day you are bringing them to nursery school, singing ABC’s in the car… Next day you are on the way to the airport to send them away for college. 

Stages and Seasons. Try not to miss the many good moments in between.

A few of our mommy and son dates

First day of Nursery School… First day of HS Senior Year

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“Train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old, he will not depart from it.”           Prov. 22:6 KJV

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photos are all mine 🙂 

#loveis…

They say that patience is a virtue… and that the good things in life are worth the wait.

I have been getting antsy these past couple of weeks, waiting for the approval of my book to be displayed and sold at two major local bookstores. The requirements have been met, only a few more legal stuff to be addressed, and we are good to go… 

Waiting is not always fun, though.  At times it can even be excruciating.  But then I also tell myself that there is a reason — and a season — for everything. There are things in life that you simply cannot rush. 

Just a little more… we will get there somehow.

In the meantime, let me leave you with this… 

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We were young. We were in love. The world was a happy place… – Lizzie, Chapter 18, p.54

Because love is a wonderful thing… and is worth the wait!  

***

Twenty Years in Between… The Love Story of Lizzie and Joseph

Available now at Central Books, SM Mega Mall Bldg A, 5F and http://www.centralbooks.com.ph online bookstore.

Available SOON at select National Bookstore and Power Books branches

❤ ❤ ❤

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photo collage is the author’s 🙂

 

 

That Kind of Sunday

If someone told me last year that I will be doing what I did last Sunday, I probably would have laughed, shrugged it off, rolled my eyes, and stared into space with a dreamy look on my face…

I wouldn’t have believed.  I would have dreamed of it, yes, but I know I also would have doubted myself. I wouldn’t think I’d have it in me.

So, this happened last Sunday…

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37th Manila International Book Fair 

I had my very first book signing. 

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This time last year, I did not have a book yet.  What I had were scribblings on pad paper. I also had typewritten and saved drafts of a number of ‘chapters’ of an unfinished story. 

I finally completed the very first draft of the book September 26 of last year (2015). I know because I noted the date on my planner.  I encircled the date — actually, I hearted it — and I wrote : finished my book, first draft

It was at its rawest, purest form. Unedited. Untouched by anyone else. 

I was happy I was able to finish writing the story, yet I never imagined that I would see it in book form. I was satisfied enough with the knowledge that I was able to create something that had more than 30,000 words. 

I only had two readers in mind — my person in L.A. and my best friend/cousin from here. I thought that was the farthest my book project will go.

***

It took a couple of months before I decided to submit the manuscript to a publishing house. By then I think I have read, edited, revised, reread and again revised the draft for about a hundred times. It was end November when I finally decided I was ready to submit it. I sent it via courier to a well-known local publishing company. One that publishes novellas for young adults, as well as chick lit books. 

I gave myself two weeks. I told myself if I don’t hear from that publishing company, it means my work wasn’t good enough. I told myself that I will forget about the whole thing and just charge everything to experience. I didn’t even have to share the experience — or the rejection — with anyone. The plan was to just let the “write and publish own book” idea die a slow, quiet death. No one brags about rejection. 

I did not hear from said publishing company. Ergo, my manuscript was rejected. 

The story would have ended there. The dream could have ended there.

***

Christmas reunion with family, 2015. I told my best friend/cousin from here that I was toying with the idea of self-publishing… that I have reached out to a couple of publishers and I was waiting for their reply… I also told her that there was this book designer whose works I fell in love with the moment I saw them online, and that I reached out to her, too. 

Of course dear cousin encouraged me all the way. She kept reminding me that this has always been my dream… and she knew that because we were cousins and we practically grew up knowing each other’s aspirations. 

She told me to go for it, told me to keep reaching. And she told me she was excited about the book signing. My book signing. There was no book yet, but she was already planning my book signing. 

She called it. I think that was on Christmas day. 🙂

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Taken at MY book signing… 9 months after she prophesied! I still blame her for all these 🙂 

Things started happening in January. Everything started falling into place.

At the same time, I also began having more moments of doubt and sleepless nights, too. I remember sending my cousin a text one night asking her to remind me again why I was doing what I was doing. She replied by telling me that nothing beats being able to physically touch and hold a book that I wrote. She made me imagine and visualize reading my name on the cover.

That truly helped me fight my fears somewhat.

***

I don’t believe in coincidences.  I believe God brought the people I needed my way because they were supposed to help me fulfill a dream. 

It wasn’t an easy process, but maybe it wasn’t supposed to be easy. Maybe I had to experience rejection from that first publishing company because I was meant to have something better. Maybe I wouldn’t have found my amazing cover artist and my super awesome book coordinator-cum-editor if another publisher found me. Maybe the ending of my book would even have been different. (You may read more about my book writing experience in my blog, Storytelling Time.)

It was a long, arduous process, but I believe I was guided every step of the way.

You want to know something else that I learned?  I learned that one is never too old to fulfill a dream. I have been writing essays since I was 12 years old. I have been dreaming of writing and publishing a book since I was a teenager. I have tried several times to come up with a good storyline for a book. Began several times. I failed several times, too.

note-to-bgo-001

Note to self from six years ago… Proof that the desire has always been there

Then it just happened. God intervened. I could imagine God in a booming voice saying to me, “It is time! Let’s get this book out.” 

And God’s time is always the perfect time.

If someone told me early last year that I will have my own book by this time, I probably would have laughed, shrugged it off, rolled my eyes… 🙂

#

So now it’s out !!!

Twenty Years in Between… The Love Story of Lizzie and Joseph

Available at Central Books. Soon at select National Book Store and Powerbooks outlets.  

Because it doesn’t hurt to read a sappy love story every once in a while. 

And yes, because love is a wonderful thing. ❤ ❤ ❤

#20yearsinbetween #lizzieandjoseph #fiction

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Photos are all mine 🙂 More photos from the event coming soon!!