Family and Relationships · Married life · Musings

Dear Husband

You’re the man of the house. Of every breakfast, lunch, and dinner that need to be prepared and are served with love, much flavor and vigor. Of nappy changes and dirty feeding bottles. Of passive but profitable family income. Of minute but very important decisions to be made daily, from which color of sheets to use for the bed to what products to buy to cut in the grocery budget. Of all household things broken and must be repaired or replaced.

I honor you for taking the biggest leap of faith and having the most drastic change of career by choosing to stay at home and be the one to take care of our family. I honor you because I know it’s far from being the easiest thing to do, and because together, we steadfastly fight unnecessary drama that is unsolicited advices (and judgments) from others (concerned or otherwise), our own personality differences, and your inability to thoroughly (and consistently) tidy the house (and/or do the laundry alone). But most importantly, I honor you for allowing me to dream, and pushing me to make those dreams come true; all because you believe in me and my capabilities.

I know it’s hard, but sometimes I envy you. Everytime I have to leave you for work in the morning, with the baby in your arms, both of you ready to go back to sleep, I envy you. Every lunch time I get to check on you and you’ve sent me a video of our adorable baby doing adorably nothing, I envy you. And every evening that I arrive to see the house in disarray, but you and the baby’s faces show how great an adventure happened to lead to such mess, I envy you. But really, there’s nothing to be resentful about, for your work is one without price, vacation leaves, or holidays. It’s a continuous commitment. A vocation to lead us, nourish us, and sustain us.

And so, I’m always proud to say you’re the man of the house. Of all things to be cooked, washed, or cleaned. Of every bit of sanity and courage in overcoming the struggles of nurturing a baby by yourself. For at the end of the day, despite the longingness, exhaustion, disappointments, and fear I feel on a daily basis, and through every big or small accomplishments our child did and all her smiles showing that she had proudly done it by taking on the world with dirty hands, grazed knees, and full heart (because no Mom will ever allow that), at the end of the day I know we made the right decision and are doing the right thing for our little family.

Thank you for surpassing this society’s expectations of how a Mother or Father should be, because you are, and will always be, a great Father. I love you dearly.

Happy Fathers’ Day,

Your wife

Married life · Motherhood · Musings · Personal

Of good times and bad

It was the weekend of Mother’s Day and our 3rd wedding anniversary, but it was also Philippines’ mid-term election and Game of Thrones penultimate episode of the series’ final season.

Truly a weekend of good times and bad.

My husband unwittingly told me I am already becoming too negative and cynical. Basing on who will be the future senators of our country, who wouldn’t? I am not a Liberal Party supporter and I didn’t vote for all the Otso Diretso candidates. But Bong Go, Imee Marcos, Bato Dela Rosa, Lito Lapid, and Bong Revilla as senators? 🤦‍♀️ Seriously, Philippines. ☹ What dismays me really is not just the “quality” of the Hugpong’s senatoriables (who are either unqualified or plunderers) but their apparent loyalty not to the country but to Pres. Duterte. The Senate is supposed to be an independent body that must ensure check and balance in the legislative, executive, and judiciary powers of the President. Now that’s the Senate, Congress, and Supreme Court are pro-Duterte by majority, we can only guess what will happen next. 😥 #Federalism #DeathPenalty #Divorce #SameSexMarriage #PhilippinesasChinaProperty

(I’m anticipating that there would be no Presidential election come 2022.)

And in the midst of it all, what breaks my heart is seeing my friends and loved ones vote, promote, and defend these kind of politicians. (Even Aljhon is now a “closeted” DDS. Hahahahah 😅☹) Before, I was secretly laughing at those people who unfriend and/or unfollow “friends” at facebook, but now, seeing how they react and celebrate the victory of PDP-Laban and Hugpong ng Pagbabago, I actually unfriended and unfollowed people for the first time! I just can’t handle their “reasoning” and how bad it makes me feel. I even unfriended Aljhon because he promoted Bato Dela Rosa!

But really, facebook is creating a strain on our relationship (no proper sweet cheesy message for me on Mother’s Day and our anniversary!) kaya okay lang na i-unfriend ko na sya. Hahah minsan kasi siraulo din ako.

But anyway, we celebrated Mother’s Day as a family and that’s what really matters. We served in the Mass, joined Aljhon in his service at Fatima Kalayaan Fiesta, visited Mercado Family (because it was also Ate Heart’s birthday but she wasn’t there), and then had an outing with The Agustins at Ciudad Cristhia 9Waves Resort (on Monday, immediately after voting).

On our Anniversary day, Aljhon, Ella and I went to UP Town Center. We just strolled around and watched Ella be curious with her surroundings.

Good times, yeah. Then I watched GOT 805.

I need not elaborate how disappointing the last season is turning out because it’s all over the internet. It just breaks my heart (again!) to see how great this series was until they run out of material to copy from the books 😥 But I’m all #TeamDanyforevs and though torching all of King’s Landing is totally unnecessary, I can understand where all the hatred is coming from. What I don’t understand is how Jaime and Cersei died. 💯 lame and non-GOT. But then there’s one last episode left, one last chance to salvage one of the best tv shows ever. *fingers-cross*

What GOT lacks, John Wick: Parabellum suffices. Aljhon seemed to notice my mood so he treated me and we watched the movie together on the first day of screening. And we absolutely got what we paid for.🤘 I’m not an Action film fan (I’m not into movies, tbh) but I really appreciate this particular franchise. The plot is simple but well-thought of and alluring, action sequence is a choreography at its finest, and Keanu Reeves is well, Keanu Reeves (hands-down one of the best).

It was only 4 days, but I got a roller coaster of changing moods and emotions. At first I was happy, but the next moment I was sad. It was both good and bad times. But as I was always saying to my students, these good and bad times always go together. Happiness and sadness are opposites, but partners. One cannot be fully experienced- and appreciated- without the other. So good and bad times it is. And all is well.

P.S. Now please, tell me, am I really negative and cynical?

Motherhood · Musings

Love equals Time

As a working Mom, holidays are luxury for me. And long weekends are the best. Especially now that I have classes even during the weekdays, I can only spend time with Ella during the days with suspended work.

Saturday. And the long weekend officially started. Mommy’s finally home after a whole day work at school last Saturday.

Sunday. We served in the 7am mass at OLFC. Then attended another mass at Salvacion in preparation of the CLP. At 2pm, we served in the Christian Life Program of Couples for Christ. Yang ngiti na yan, yan ang ngiting nangungulit sa CLP. :p

Monday, Quezon City Day. I urged Daddy to eat out. We also brought Ella to an arcade for the first time. Super paranoid ako sa mga hinahawakan nya! Hahah.
Tuesday, Ninoy Aquino Day and Eid’l Adha. It’s Jona’s birthday the next day so we went out and had dinner at Gilligan’s.

One of my fears nowadays is not spending enough time with Ella. I am so afraid that there will come a day when she no longer prefers me. But I am also aware of my responsibilities not just in my work, but as well as in my service to God, that require time and attention. Truly, Time is such a priceless treasure, one should not waste it. We may think that 24 hours in a day is too short or too long, but that just depends on your perspective- how you see it and how you use it. Time is a treasure that you have to manage it. And the best way to manage such valuable? Share it with the people and things you are most passionate about. And it will surely reward you back. Siksik, liglig, at umaapaw.

Musings

Awardless valedictorian

http://news.abs-cbn.com/life/07/14/18/sakto-lang-lanyards-not-medals-for-ust-grad-in-viral-tweet

💘💘💘 This article shot right through my heart, for I know what that student feels, and I was compelled to share. Hahah 😅

One step into UST campus as a high school freshman way back in 2003, I already realized I’m no match with my classmates. Though I know deep inside that I can do better than what I usually show, my insecurities would always eat me and what I’ll settle with is a passing score. Past forward to 2007, even I was shocked for I graduated maintaining my standing in the first section (sophomore to senior years).

When I went into college, my insecurities gradually healed, but I was still in love with mediocrity. No one pressured me, anyway, and I was still believing that I don’t deserve an award from a prestigious university like UST (I don’t believe in myself, period). Realization just came knocking a month shy from my college graduation. I found out my GWA was just few points short to obtain a Cum laude citation. But I was not devastated, I was not even sad. I just remembered a particular day in the summer of 2009; it puzzled me upon seeing my grades for I received a 2.75 grade in Church & Sacraments course, but I was expecting 1.00 or 1.25 (my professor even exempted me from taking the finals because my Church Involvement project was ‘exceptional’). Instead of talking to my professor, I went home and shrugged it off, feeling blessed that another sem had ended.

I’m not really sure that if I had made that correction in the grade, I would be included in the list of Cum laude. But I really did (and still do) not care. What I realized in my graduation day is that if I robbed myself of the confidence it deserves, I now couldn’t do that to my profession. I geared up and promised that I would serve my job in the best of my ability, and thank God, he helped me through it. Seven years later, I am now in the profession of helping the young to discover their potential, to empower them so they can work hard for their future, and to achieve the success they undoubtedly deserve. And that is the biggest award I can ever get in my lifetime. That is the kind of character that UST has instilled me for the 8 years it sheltered and molded me. And I will always be proud of that.

Musings

Holding On (till the) Pain Ends

Holy week this year came early, longer, and had more meaning for me. Actually, I was not able to attend any mass services, nor the Washing of the Feet mass and even the Salubong; and more heartbreakingly, Aljhon and I failed to keep our commitment to serve in our chapter’s Christian Life Program. But this year’s Holy Week will always be one that will surely stay closest to my heart.

Last March 6 2018, after eating a very spicy Bicol Express meal from our school canteen, I began to experience heartburn and acidity. I automatically down cut on my coffee, but the symptoms exploded on March 9 as I went home with a very bad case of stomachache. I already experienced that before so I just did what I normally do- vomited all the food I’d taken in that day, but I wasn’t relieved until the following day, that I already requested to be taken to the hospital. Aljhon took me to East Ave, was diagnosed with Gastritis, prescribed medications and all became well.

But that lasted for only 3 days, the stomach PAIN returned with full force on March 14, and it came with vomiting and diarrhea. By this time, I couldn’t eat or sleep properly. All the symptoms lasted until I couldn’t take it anymore, I was taken to the UST Hospital on March 16, and was confined until 19. Gastritis was changed into Gastro-enteritis, and I was given antibiotics. What I wanted by that time was to get home to Ella, so even though I was still having some stomachache, we went home on March 19. And the following days at home were both a nightmare and a miracle not just for me but for the whole family.

What I would always remember during that time were the hope and helplessness, the fatigue (of both puking and pooping EVERY SINGLE TIME), the sleep and food deprivation, and the PAIN. It was unbearable. A whole week passed without any improvement in my health albeit taking medications, and the pain was already wearing me, and my will to live, down. Maundy Thursday (March 29) came and I was once again rushed to UST ER. It was my father who decided to get me to the hospital, because I think he couldn’t bear to look at me and my suffering anymore. I already lost 10 kgs of weight that time.

I was not admitted on that day, but my medications were changed. The new drugs were too costly, but it hadn’t changed the situation for the better. I was still having terrible stomach cramps and the PAIN WAS STILL UNBEARABLE. Even Aljhon was becoming frustrated with me, and I knew he also suffered greatly. On April 5, we went to OPD for my follow up check up, and my doctor finally made an instruction for me to undergo Endoscopy. I knew the procedure would really cost us, but I was too desperate for the doctors to come see my insides so that they can already determine what is wrong and how they can make the pain go away.

I relented for the endoscopy and colonoscopy; however, I needed to change doctors so that the procedure can be covered by my health insurance. On April 6, Friday, with a terrible case of stomachache and a 9-month baby in tow (no one was left at home to take care of Ella), we came back to UST OPD, and met with my new doctor. She patiently listened to my horrible story, and was emphathetic enough to offer me options. But she broke my heart when she gave me an Admission slip for the hospital. She didn’t let me go home that day, because she also knew I was in pain.

And that was the day I cried. Wholeheartedly. Passionately. With all the pent-up anger and frustration on what was happening to me.

I cried in front of my doctor. I cried while waiting for the admissions officer to get me a room. And I cried much more when I was laid down on the hospital bed. I was filled with worry, doubt, and fears. Fears for myself, my family, and most especially Ella. I just couldn’t bear the pain anymore. But I am grateful that my family let me cry that night. Because that was the time when I completely surrendered everything I held even before all the ordeal began. That was the time that I finally stopped asking “bakit lord?” and started praying “ikaw na po ang bahala”.

1
For 7 straight days, I would sleep and wake up with this view. Thank you Lord dahil hindi nyo po ako pinabayaan. 💕

I was put into procedure immediately the following day. Though it was an additional expense, I opted for an anesthesiologist to make me unconscious while they do the endoscopy and colonoscopy. After an hour, I woke up with pain all over my body. I was so weak, and even a slight movement in my lower body made me wince. Good thing my family was there when I was returned to my room. They helped me eat (I was starving- I hadn’t consumed food the previous day because I was vomiting the whole day), and seeing and having Ella greatly helped me as I recovered my strength. After 2 days, the terrible pain in my stomach returned. I was still puking and pooping all the time, and we were once again frustrated and devastated.

But God has then started to work his plan of healing.. Tuesday, April 10, was the last day I experienced the stomach pain. My doctor had gotten the results of my colonoscopy, and (once again) changed my medication. Gradually, I started to eat and actually contain them inside. I still had diarrhea, but the situation definitely improved. By this time, several of my co-workers including my boss, visited me in the hospital. Some friends also dropped by. And a facebook post by my sister opened a floodgate of concerned messages and well-wishes. All these love helped me recover. Friday, April 13, I took some lab tests as my clearance, and was finally discharged from the UST Hospital.

1 week after my last confinement, I am now feeling well and good, PRAISE GOD. I already gained 3 kgs, and I can now carry Ella. I am under medications until next month, but I think I can already return to work next week. Aljhon and I also managed to get Ella vaccinated this week, and I am so happy that our life is coming back to its normal grind. I am grateful to God because He has been very good and generous to me, I know that. I admit I was so hopeless before that I wanted to question God, but I realized HE DOESN’T OWE ME ANY EXPLANATION. He is the giver of my life, after all. He has the sole right to give, or to take it away. I am His creature, and I don’t have the right to demand anything from Him. And I am also thankful because this painful experience actually helped me gain insight to what was wrong with my life- physically, socially, spiritually, and even emotionally and mentally. My illness had made me aware that I started to backslide in taking care of myself. Because of the pain, I got to discover that I was already too stressed in expense of taking charge of my family and my work.

Google Images

And so I decided to share my story so that I can be reminded of what happened. I know God has put me into the situation, however painful it had been, for me to evaluate myself and that I can make certain changes that will make my life more beautiful and fulfilling. And that I am hoping that sharing this can also help someone, especially those who are in pain. You might be suffering now, but all of these will pass. You will recover and be healed, certainly and eventually. Just trust God. Look for the meaning of what you’re feeling now, and offer all them back to God.

Motherhood · Musings

Breaking goals

Just would like to share how my #sembreakgoals went on so far:

I made this list two days before I temporarily said goodbye to my role as school GC. I had high hopes for the next 9 days without work: to process legal docs and requirements, spend quality time with the fam (especially Ella), and build on my breastmilk stash. While I did succeed (partly) on the first 2 goals, I failed miserably in my pumping goals. Actually, I had stored 9 bottles already, but then Friday at the Monkey Mic KTV and Saturday’s Worship Team Summit happened- I had to leave Ella to the Parentals, and I’m down to 5 bottles. Huhuh 😦

12 hours into resumption of classes/work, I decided to write (type) this down and post it immediately. I just had an important realization that (might) deviate from the usual content of what we see in the social media. What we commonly read in the internet are success stories of goal-setting, but here I am baring myself by posting (not just poorly-done lettering) my half-accomplished to-do checklist. I made some goals, did try to achieve them, but failed to succeed in them.

I decided to share this because I know that in our real, unedited, and unfiltered life, we often do the same. We’re always trying hard to have that polished look (and profile) that can gather some 100+ likes, but then the truth is, that’s not how life goes. We fail- in our goals, in relationships, in our dreams- and fail some more. But as the words of a famous MMA fighter goes, “It’s either you win, or you learn.” We never actually lose, because failure is just temporary. We may not have the formula to everything’s success, but we will always learn from every obstacle that come our way. And that is the true beauty of a life that’s real.

Motherhood · Musings

I was happy until I became pregnant

Becoming pregnant is one of the most monumental things that ever happened to me. All of a sudden, everything became bigger (pun intended), and my perspective in life turned more serious and wide. Well, I am breathing for two people, for one thing, and there is this ever present pressure to take care of not just myself but the baby growing inside me.

Mommy Sen @ 12 weeks

And that, I think, is the hardest part of my adjustment in being a certified mommy. I now have to be more focused with becoming healthy- and that means no more puyat, no more pagod, no more gutom. As I was one hell of a busy, always MR woman, this is very hard to come to terms with. Especially in my first trimester, I grew frustrated of people telling me not to do this or that, not to go anywhere, and even what not to eat, watch, or feel. This feeling, in addition to crazy morning sicknessessss and crazier hormonal urges, made me feel restrained and discouraged in some days.

Thank God for making a gift called the 2nd Trimester. Though my baby bump was becoming bigger and more prominent,my energy and enthusiasm towards life returned. At this point, I finally got the ID to use and appreciate priority lanes in the supermarket and establishments. This is also the sweetest time for I was finally being able to physically bond with the baby in my tummy. Though I only recognized the bumps and kicks (Mama was already worried!) as well as determined the gender only by the 6th month, nothing can ever compare to the joy I always have when my little Princess was enjoying rolling inside me. But during this time, I also became busy with counseling work as well as my graduate studies. Staying healthy and well-rested is still my top priority, but I couldn’t just dump my responsibilities at home, work, and school. I had to juggle time efficiently, and thank God for being my strength and stronghold.

Strong & happy @ 24th week

Third trimester came and I was no longer the skinny girl I used to know when I look at myself in the mirror. There were good days, and much more, worse days. My mood was at its craziest, and I always felt huge and tired. But my little Princess was a ball of sunshine that turned gloomy days into better ones. I always had something painful in my body, but that was a pain I wouldn’t ever mind.

Fast forward to my 38th week, I started my maternity leave even without any symptoms of labor for my patience at commuting to and from work had already reached its end. I was actually in the middle of being scared of what will happen in the delivery room and being joyful & excited with what’s coming after the dreaded pain of childbirth. The two weeks before my due date was a blur of fidgety sleep, bloody IEs, unabashed crying, unwanted moodiness, and loooooooong walks. We were kind of getting worried then because I was stuck with 1-2cm dilation with no pain or contractions. But despite the bloodiness and patience-testing moments of that crucial 2 weeks, I was actually thankful for Aljhon & I were able to build a bond that I know we’ll cherish forever. Those were the moments I needed him most, and he didn’t fail in his vow of being a faithful husband, in joy & despair, sickness & pain.

June 18, 2017, Father’s Day. I woke to a painful stomach. I stood up from the bed and noticed my wet shorts. I got mad at myself first but then I realized there was still water trickling down my legs. With all my family members, I was brought to the USTH at 5:30am. I was admitted with 5cm dilation and then the PAIN came to me. It was undescribable. I will always remember my moments at the labor room as horrifying and sacred at the same time. At 8am, my OB already instructed her JIs to transfer me to the delivery room; and from there, the most exhausting, draining, traumatic and amazing thing ever in my life happened. Rafaella Jesusa was born at 10:20am. I remember when I was still a teenager, I was prayed over a youth camp to receive the power of the Holy Spirit to create miracles; and at that very first moment I laid my exhausted and bloodshot eyes on my baby, I knew she is one of them.

Welcome Rafaella Jesusa! 💕🎉

Becoming pregnant is one of the most monumental things ever happened to me. It changed my life- my priorities and perspective, my goals and attitudes- forever. I was happy until I became pregnant, because now, what I feel is extremely joyful and blessed. I chose to share my childbirth story for I would like to share how greatly God has been good to us and how greatly Rafaella has blessed us. For all this, may God be glorified!

P. S. It’s Ella’s 4th month today. We love You baby! 😘😙😍❤

Motherhood · Musings

Yesterday

I had my heart broken into bits yesterday at work.

I was late for NAT, was scolded by a Coor because of unprepared classrooms, caught unready for the test administration’s small but important details, bound by a proctor’s pag-iinarte (sinalo ko lang naman ang proctoring responsibilities nya), missed my lunch (nawalan na din naman ako ng gana), shouldered all tasks that were supposed to be worked by 3, and got stuck in a traffic on a rainy afternoon with only an hour to spare before the schedule of the test materials’ retrieval ends.

I felt so inefficient, unprofessional, pressured, and exhausted.

While waiting for the van to move and get me home later that unfortunate afternoon, I almost burst out crying. My head was spinning, my neck hurt, and I was honestly caught in the middle of wanting to just cry and lie down because of tiredness or to speed up flying so I could go home already. My soul almost gave up.

But when I arrived in our house, what I did was switched the electric breastpump on and started attending to my Mommy duties.

Yesterday, I was inefficient, pressured, broken, and exhausted.

But as the days continue to prove that this week’s a series of unfortunate events I can’t help from happening, I am struck with the realization that God still is, and ever will be, holding me as I go through every stumble and fails of my life. Truly, when nothing cannot be handled anymore when standing up, one should kneel down. And that’s why I can still keep up and fight. I fight despite being crushed by responsibilities, I go on even when weighed down with baggages of exhaustion, demotivation, and pressure. Not just because I don’t have a choice but to do all my responsibilities, but because I know God is good to me. My prayers and faith change the way I view things, and this change in mindset changes how I behave in difficult situation. This is very important because life is a series of ups and downs, of good and bad, and happiness and sorrow. It’s very easy to just give in to depression and exhaustion and give up, but that is not the only way. It’s in our realization and conscious choice that we can draw the strength and hope to continue facing our today and tomorrow.