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.

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…

***

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. 🙂 

filipiniana-001

But of course…

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

filipiniana-002

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

friends-001

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. 😦

friends-002

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.

***

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*

***

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. 

*****

photos are all mine!!

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?  

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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!!

#shortcuts

lol

league of legends?!

I was texting with a teenager the other day.  He was one of the players in a baseball team that I managed a couple of years ago.  He was asking for a character reference from the coach for a school requirement and  was coordinating with me. After I gave instructions as to where my driver will meet him to give the form he needed, this was his reply:  “SLR. 🙂 Thank you so much for your help!

Hmmm.  I got the thank you part… but try as I might, I couldn’t quite figure out what SLR meant.  SLR camera? Did he need a photo?

Geesh, what’s with this short cut language? I truly am so behind! I suddenly felt old.

I ended up asking another teenager who was with me that morning.  He casually said, “Sorry late reply.” Reading his facial expression, I think his thought balloon said, “How old are you? How can you not know?” I felt ancient! 😦

What is it with all these shortcuts?  When I send text or chat messages, I make sure all the words are spelled out — correctly, if  I may add.  I cringe whenever I send a text message with a misspelled word, and I quickly follow it up with the correct spelling (*correct spelling). So, yes, I send long text messages.

When my son was just starting to use a cellphone, we made it a point that the messages we send had correctly spelled words and with correct grammar. No shortcuts. We did not want him to get used to  carelessly composed text messages filled with misspelled words and bad grammar. We wanted him to compose his messages properly. We wanted him to use words and not just letters. In fact, we wanted him to use big words whenever possible. That way he is enriching his vocabulary.

But then nowadays, people are just so used to shortened messages.  And it seems that young people can easily understand a random mix of letters! I, on the other hand, have to rack my brains to decipher what they mean.

Is it because we are all busy, things are happening fast and we have no time to waste that we look for shortcuts?  Or have the young people  just gone lazy that it gets too tiring for them to spell out a word? I truly wonder.

Personally, though, I still prefer real words. Real, understandable words.  I don’t mind reading long messages as long as there’s substance. I know I will make time.

Besides, save for bff (best friends forever) and lol (laugh out loud), I can’t seem to remember what all the other acronyms stand for. I once mistook bfn (bye for now) to be best friends not, and I thought ttyl (talk to you later) meant try and try, you loser.  Yep, I was that bad.

Maybe I’m old-fashioned… Or maybe it is because I am a writer and I put value in words that I don’t appreciate shortcuts.

Or maybe, I’m simply just old –and too lazy to make an effort in remembering what they mean.

***

Post script (P.S.) :

Yesterday, as my sister was reading a text message, she asked me what atm meant. Hah!! I knew that one!  I was too tempted to say Automated teller machine, though…

She raised an eyebrow and looked confused. I smiled and said, “At the moment.” Then I added, “Don’t you feel old not knowing that?”

Misery loves company… ikr?! 🙂

 

*****

photo via google images

#Friendsforlife

 

friends

This was our show in the ’90s

There we were, the five of us.  Chatting non-stop, the ladies giggling like little girls, the sole gentleman sounding like the most adult of us all.

For a moment, time seemed to have stopped.  We traveled back and forth in time with our stories. We have gone through the ’80s, the ’90s and the present.

When you are with friends, you can talk about anything.  You can talk about everything.

On our annual (post) Christmas get-together last year, the topic of the night was mostly about making the most of your “every day.”  I guess as we age, we get to realize more the importance of knowing your priorities, as well as of doing things you have always dreamt of doing.  You get to realize how fast time flies and how you should grab each opportunity that is in front of you — opportunity that is connected to a dream you once had when you were very young.  Opportunity to live the life you want to live.  You only live once. #YOLO.

Last Friday, though, on our post Christmas get-together, the five of us touched on health issues seriously.  And when I say “touch on,” I basically mean we discussed and dissected whatever health topic that arose in the conversation.

One of the ladies in the group was hospitalized several days before Christmas and she shared with us her health issues, everything she went through.  What she had was a rare disease that strikes the nervous system.  At first, she said, she thought she was having a stroke.  Her whole body just started feeling numb.  It reached the point where as hard as she wills her hand to move, it just won’t.  Her arm falls limp.

She stayed in the hospital for about a week, was on round the clock IV and medication, her blood constantly being monitored.  Good thing she was able to go home and spend Christmas at home.

It was a scary episode.  As she was relaying her experience, I couldn’t help but think — “But we are not even that old yet!” Then came the realization that well, we are also not getting younger.  And I guess that’s something that we all have to accept.

Getting old is inevitable.

grandma

Needs eyeglasses

As we were checking out the restaurant’s menu, one friend said, “I won’t pretend… I’m practically blind. I can’t see these letters anymore.”  Then she stretched out her arms so she can read from afar.

Another friend kindly said, “Oh, you’re just far-sighted!”  Don’t we just love loyal friends?!

The lone guy pointed out how in a year’s time, our topics seemed to have matured — from “living your life,” now we were discussing “health issues.” #Healthiswealth.

Everybody heaved a collective sigh.

Then we all laughed.

***

I won’t attempt to hide my fear of getting old.  And my friends know this. Being the most vain of us all (I won’t even deny it. That is a fact that has long been established), my friends know that I am afraid of getting old and wrinkled.

Okay, so maybe that’s a bit shallow, compared to the sicknesses that we have been discussing.  But hey, we all have our own concerns 😉

But like I said, growing old is inevitable.  I guess we just have to be more aware of our physical bodies and take the utmost care.  Eat healthy, drink plenty water, find the best exercise for yourself… In my case, take stock of the most effective moisturizers and lotions that will fight the dreaded wrinkles.

I also believe that having a good disposition, being calm and at peace help in keeping and staying young.  You may get old but you don’t have to look like a hag.

But you know what? When you have really good friends — like the ones that I have — growing old together is not that bad.

Surely there will always be a memory to laugh at when you are with your oldest, dearest, truest friends.

#friendsforlife #myfriendsarecrazy #ilovemyfriends

***

photos via google images