Gratitude

“You asked for a child, and there she is. You have her!” my husband would always tell me this when I complain of not having energy to get out of the house and do any activities with her. 
I am beyond grateful and I am reminded how faithful God is when the little one came after being told by my doctor that I can’t conceive. 
Today, is her last day of summer since school will be tomorrow. My body and mind is set to stay in the house and to accomplish what’s on my to-do-list. But she wants to have fun. 
Life as we all know is not always about us. It is hard but I learn to be flexible, manage my time, manage to smile and watch my attitude when my plan is interrupted. 
I was cranky at first, while planning and looking where we can go today. 
When she came to me, and said, “Thank you Mama for thinking of me,” it just crushed my heart in a good way. 
Switching off negative attitude results gratitude. 
I am not giving credit to myself but it is good to think of the ones you love first amidst a list of household chores because there should be great memories (at least try the best we can) in every moment that this life brings us. 

Blessings to all the Mama’s and Papas!

And the world is passing away along with its desires, but whoever does the will of God abides forever. 1 John 2:17 

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Grateful

This mom is/still wearing a happy face after having a great time swimming today with the little one. She is happy, I am happy.

Time is too short. I hate it when I feel like I am a  slave of it, but I learn to prioritize things. What and who matters the most comes first. 

I don’t mind leaving dirty dishes, not putting clean laundry right away, and serving leftovers or making egg sandwiches for dinner when time is short. 

But I really love to leave the house organize so that when we come home all I have to do is flop in the couch and relax. Anyway, being a mom and wife does teach us to be flexible, unselfish, manage time and prioritize things. It does make us like monsters too when things go wrong because we care too much. 

Let’s not forget to breathe and love the life we are given. Be grateful and keep making memories! 

A happy heart makes the face cheerful. Proverbs 15:13

Jump Rope and Terracotta

This kid can break my heart in a good way. She can make it leap for joy as well.

When we went to the playground, she was hoping to see her friend whom we did not plan to have a playdate with. She was hoping that her friend think the same as her that day – to be at the  playground. I guess she just missed her, and she do not know any kids to play with at that moment.

To brighten her day a little bit, I took her to the library. She had fun. She was excited to start reading a new series of book she borrowed.

We had a great day together.

When we got home, we went outside right away. She wanted us to do more things together, but I planned to workout. Jump rope.

She did not insist, instead she went to her swing.

She swung by herself. Slow. Head down. She seemed okay. I kept looking at her. I could hear the squeaky noise from her swing.

I got sad that she is alone. My heart aches.

She came to me while I was working out. She watched. She tried to get involved by cheering on, “Whip it, Mama!”

My jump rope got stuck. I got distracted. She cheered again, “Whip it, Mama”. I got stuck again. I felt guilty that I am so desperate to have my me time. I felt so selfish and just wanna be alone and get it done.

She seemed desperate for my attention…. or

Maybe I misinterpreted her happy gestures. She was cheering, probably to encourage me. I was passive. No words came out from me. I kept going. Unhappy. Cranky.

After getting stuck many times, she noticed my frustration. She decided to leave me alone and went to her favorite spot in the yard – a big pile of square stone that she uses as a table.

I sat next to her as soon as I got done with my workout.

She was smashing these small rocks of different colors until it changed its form to powder. She would mix them up. Terracotta is her favorite color.

When I tried to get up, she asked me to stay beside her.

While watching her, I asked if she would like a baby brother or a baby sister. She answered “No!”. I was just wondering what she thinks. She said, “I want someone equal to my age.”

It is difficult and sad when she wants a playmate. I know she is happy when we spend time together, but some days she likes to have friends around who are “equal” to her age.

It is more harder that it is summertime. Two of her school friends move out-of-state. Her other friends are on vacation.

That night, she tried to call a friend. It was not successful. I think she was fine when she did not get hold of her friend. She grabbed a book to read and stayed in her room.

Today, I asked for her friend’s mom’s number. I made the call. Left a message. The phone rang. It was her friend. Her face lit up. They/we are planning for a play-date soon. Success!

It only took a minute to help her meet her needs – attention, connection and something great to look forward to.

Time is precious.

I regret that I failed to see the simplest desire of her heart, instead I jumped into conclusion that she is too desperate for my attention. Cheering me on while I was doing the Jump Rope was probably her way of trying to connect with me. I could have stop, be flexible, and get her involve by asking her to count how many jump or tricks I can do, or hold/watch the stop watch. I could have let her pretend as my coach. She would have loved it.

Parenting can be tough even on little things like this. All I want is for her to be happy and content.

I understand, I have accepted and it is proven that life is not perfect. It will never be. She understand that too. But I will continue to do the best that I can to be responsive to her needs – attention, connection, something to be thankful for, and something great to look forward to.

I am learning that distraction is okay. It is okay to  Stop. Be Gentle. Listen. Acknowledge. Learn. Keep Loving. Keep Living.

jumprope and terracotta

 

 With all humility and gentleness, with patience, bearing with one another in love,… Ephesians 4:2

 

 

Something Special

Today we both are home. It’s a snowday, 4° outside.

I am sick but the little girl is wide awake and psyched up for the day. After a science experiment we did, we thought we can do another thing together.

She had these white paper cut outs in the kitchen table which I thought she would use for origami birds.

We both came up with an idea that was pretty fun and special.

We got to know what we have in mind about each other. And we agreed not to get upset if we say something about our weaknesses.

Some of the subjects of each card are contributed by both of us.

Here it is:

Journy’s idea to start with.

Three description about each other.

Our weaknesses.

Three good things about each other.

Doodles for each other.

Prayers for each other.

What she would tell her Dad, my husband.

What will you do to serve others?

 “Trust in the Lord with all of your heart; do not depend on your own understanding. Seek his will in all you do, and he will show you which path to take.” Proverbs 3:5-6

When Your Child Wants To Quit (What Would You Do?)

She was practicing in her room, counting out loud as she pressed each keys on her keyboard. I heard a lot of pauses. She played again, counted again and this time with the metronome… it was not that long til I heard another pause, and then no music.

I heard her running to the kitchen. She had tears in her eyes and a very unhappy face as she leaned against the wall. She actually looked so cute standing there wearing her pink long sleeve shirt and on her underwear, and the music book in her hand, slightly pouty lips trying to disclose the most terrible moment of her life and sparkly big tears behind her glasses.

I know what she was going to tell me and I can read her facial expression. She stated she wants to quit piano lesson and she does not like it anyway.

Looking at her so disappointed, I wanted to remind her that she cannot quit music. She knows that. We talked about it before. And she is doing well. Telling her no right at that moment would make her feel worst though.

When Your Child Wants To Quit photo

She was very concern. She was not ready for today’s session. She was having a hard time to count as she read the notes and play at the same time. It confused her. She cannot concentrate.

We did not have enough time to discuss about quitting and issue behind her disappointment. Instead, we got ourselves ready and head to see her teacher.

She probably thought we would cancel.

I did wish I have the knowledge about music and that I can find the right words or even a little piece of advice in that aspect. All I know is I can play a guitar and read the chords and that’s it.

So, as a mom who knows so little about music education I thought that I am not in a position to handle her difficulty to catch up.

When Your Child Wants To Quit photo 2I said to her that “Your teacher knows you better. She knows your strength and she knows your weakness. It’s okay if she notice you struggling and I know she will work with you. She will find a way.”

We got out of the house. She had her designated bag for piano lesson. I checked it while walking to the car and I noticed she did not have the right book in. I was quick to think that she probably intend to forget it, but I chose to shut my mouth and went back in the house and grabbed the book instead.

I joked to wipe her tears before she meet her teacher because I did not want her to think I beat the crap out of her.

She did great according to what her teacher told her.

She was a bit embarrassed to go back to one part of her old lesson or music sheet just so she can count, it was at slower pace but at the right rhythm.

I am a very emotional person and that means I was happy and teary eyed as I listen her play because I saw how stressed she was and how quick she decided to just quit.

I realized that sometimes telling her “You’ll be fine or You’ll do great” is not the best I can do, although I often resort to that to make her feel better, because in reality she have moments of not feeling great, and struggling. I want the best for her. I would do everything when I can, but there are times that the right person who knows where to lead and guide her on that particular situation can do better than me, her piano teacher.

Not to sound like I am a pro with parenting, but I try to remind her that life is not perfect. She can’t just quit. She can’t always get what she want. There will be frustrations and difficulties but she has to deal with it, and whatever it is, she needs the right attitude to deal with it.

 Do you not know that those who run in a race all run, but one receives the prize? Run in such a way that you may obtain it. I Cor. 9:24


P.S Here’s a conversation we had long time ago that pertains to quitting (sort of). She heard her father and I so stressed/complaining about work.

Our Daughter: “Mama, just quit your job.”
Mama: “You can’t just quit. It’s part of life.” “Did Papa quit?”
Our Daughter: “No.”
Papa: “What if your Mom decided to quit when she was pushing you out of her belly?”
Our Daughter: (Silence)…. “but it was not a job.”

“You Can Make A Way Because You’re A Mom”

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In between her Kuyas in her Filipino way of sitting during dinner time.

Our daughter said that to me today after she heard me worrying what to cook for dinner.
I have to change the meal I planned since her Kuya is coming and I want to make sure that we would have enough for the four of us (or maybe five when the other Kuya come along). It was her big brother’s birthday yesterday and I did not know he was planning to come. And when it is someone’s birthday, it is a tradition to have a home-made birthday cake which we won’t be having because I don’t have the time to bake.
So while I was driving on our way to her piano lesson, I was stress what to cook and she heard me talking to myself. She said, “You can make a way because you are a mom.”
It sounded really good. Music to my ear. It was encouraging. It was kind of her to say that. It was a pat to my back and a reminder that I can do anything. She probably think I am a superwoman in some way.
What she said may not be a big deal for any mom out there but it was for me. I do consider and take heart what she say especially when I am stress. She knows how to pick me up.
I am not a perfect mother but I try to do the best that I can. She would tell me, “Mom you seems stress.” And would ask, “What’s wrong?” I have my days.  I try not to forget that those keen little eyes and ears and her not so little but huge mind absorbs the things she notices.
Whatever made her say that statement today could be from the goodness she found in some things that I am working on to be good at. Maybe she was impressed with something I did that seemed impossible to be done. I don’t know. I remember though that I caught her little noggin so perfectly fitted right onto my palm when she slipped as she ran to the door to greet her dad. I was facing towards the door to unlock it while I heard her fast “tippy tappy” sound and I noticed my husband’s face with his eyes and mouth wide opened (he was standing outside waiting to get in), for some reason I turned around and quickly stretched out my other arm and catched her head. That day I would say I was a super woman. I made a way to save her head.
I know a lot of things that only a mom can do and understand. I may not recognize my strength until I am right on that particular situation.

With Kuyas

But when our kids speak out something like that, it comes from their heart and they believe in it. Where else that statement is coming from?
Yes I am patting my back but it really is heartwarming and encouraging when I hear it from her in the middle of there’s so much to do with too little time and I’m going crazy.

See You Tomorrow

I told some of my friends that I would love to write a children’s book; but tonight I wrote a poem instead.I choose the tittle See You Tomorrow because it sounds very positive that kids can actually be great friends not only on their first meeting; and gives the new kid in the block something (hope) to look forward to the next day.

See You Tomorrow

Boys and girls make some friends,

Say hi to him, give her a wave.

Smile is free, give it away

It is better than a penny.

She is new, please don’t ignore

Let her come in

Open the door.

It’s more fun when you’re not alone

When you can talk,

Play and walk and

Share a laugh with someone.

Don’t take his lunch,

His only brunch,

Ask nicely to enjoy a crunch.

Remember your please and thank you,

Wish her a good day,

“See you tomorrow”.

You made a friend,

Today, someone is happy,

It is easy,

It did not cost you a penny.

All you need is a smile,

A simple hi,

And a great heart

To live by.

– Chelle G. _-

Scent And Music Takes Me Back In Time

There are things that take me back in time – images of events, places, and people. It could be from a photo, fashion, a scar (physically or emotionally), somebody’s cooking, gestures, scents or somebody’s situation where probably I was before. It could be a happy or sad memory, or something worth sharing and to laugh about, inspiring or embarrassing.

But scents and music are the two things that quickly trigger a lot of memories in my head.

I can see the image of my mom playing her guitar sitting on a Banig (native sleeping mat) on the floor using an improvised Lamparilla to lit up our living room and help her read her song book. Her favorite hits were Obladi Obladi by The Beatles, Boulevard by Dan Byrd, Changes In My Life by Jed Madela – she played this song hundred times and she even taught me to sing it with action, Paper Roses by Marie Osmond – this is the very first song I heard her play with her guitar and mind you, if I give her a guitar now, she will do this song in a heart beat. I can see mom’s fingers forming the basic chords and her strumming. She played well. Her voice was music in our home.

We did not have electricity growing up. You would know which one was our house because the only household that is not bright at night was ours; and we lived right at the corner of the street. At least, the street light gives off light thru our two windows. My mom had a battery operated radio, she would turn it on for weather forecast and when her favorite soap opera, Matud Nila, is on.

See, this is what music do to me. This reminds me how much I have to be thankful for. We grow up poor. Those were the old days when my Dad pursue college while working in his parent’s rice field, and at the same time, him and mom have the five of us. I used to carry an empty pot to my grandparents’ to be filled with rice and sometimes come home still empty. I remember my mom would tell me not to swing the aluminum pot when it is empty as I walk home so that our neighbors would not know that we don’t have rice for dinner. The lid would come off down to the unpaved road and would make noise and probably caught our neighbor’s attention.  We would end up eating Saba  (Plantain Banana) served with Kalamay (round candy that taste like molasses) to make it taste better.

When I was a baker at Dunkin Donuts, the smell of Sour Cream Donut reminds me of my mom’s deep-fried donut. It brings me back to those memories where I had to crack the Bagol (coconut shell), pile it up in a certain way to start a fire in our Sug-angan (cooking pit). My mother did not know how to cook until when my father left to work overseas. She leaped for joy the first time she cooked Pancit (rice noodles). She was so proud of herself. When we had a Carenderia (local eatery), I was her helper in the kitchen. I was 12 years old and we would wake up at 4 o’clock in the morning and walk from our house to the eatery. We had to wake up that early so Mother can get fresh meat in the market and we had to cut the freaking meat depending on what recipe she have in mind.  I said freaking meat because I hated cutting 10 to 15 lbs. of meat. Unlike here, the meat are already cut. We would start cooking as early as we can, when we’re done I would go back to sleep with sore muscles in my shoulder, wake up and get ready for school. I got a break from being a cook when I went to college, but when I am home particularly on weekends, I had to help. I have four siblings but she preferred to have me as helper because I know how to cook. Growing up, my chore in the house was more in the kitchen that includes cleaning, washing the dishes and cooking our meal. While my sister was with the laundry and ironing and cleaning the living room.

During my Dad’s vacation, we would cook together too. We would listen to music and play guessing game. We would guess of who the artist is from the song we were listening. Up to this day, I can see my Dad and I in that old “dirty kitchen” (extra kitchen outside) cooking together and competing to that game. He love to lay down, shirtless, on our concrete floor as he listens to his loud music. The red concrete floor was a good spot for us inside the house when it is too hot out. When the temperature “goes down” especially in the afternoon, we would ride a moped (motorbike).

Music has been part of me growing up. Dad got me a keyboard but I was not good at it. Maybe we live too far from the city where I could have gone for a piano lesson. But I love playing the guitar (I still do). I really did not care much about going out with friends in the weekend. As kids, plus I am a girl, I should be learning to do chores in the house according to my parents. The break I could get was playing the guitar, sing-a-long with a minus one tape and pretend I am a song writer. I did join a singing competition once where I forgot the lyrics and heard the crowd oohed. It was embarrassing. It was nuts.

I have a lot to write. I do have sad memories too, but I prefer the good ones. Something that makes me smile.

And by the way, when I smell the Christian Dior Poison Perfume (aInay Nenita Jan 2014 present my mom used to get when my Dad would come home from overseas), it reminds me of my mom and I at the Pawnshop lending her piece of jewelry when money is short, and we would ride the public bus going home with lots of food for my brothers and sister, and I would tell her, “Nanay , you smell like an angel.”

She Is Not Just A “Have-To-Do” Part Of The Day

Just like other mothers, I have my routine at home.

Every morning, during school days, I would wake her up fifteen minutes before the real time she get out of bed. Her clothes are ready for school, laid on the foot-board of her bed. Her toothbrush and toothpaste too, as well as water and mouthwash. This is our morning routine. When she gets up, all she need to do is get clean, and put her clothes on and head to the kitchen for breakfast.

Often times she will say, “I love you, Mama”, and I am very grateful and privileged. I think she feel the same way by expressing her love. This makes me realize that our short time in the morning is more than just a routine.

She is not just a “have-to-do” part of the day.

She looks at me as a mom. She sees a mother’s job is hard and  important. She reminds me that I am strong, she seeks for my help. She calls for me.  She teaches me humility when I do wrong. She shows appreciation having her underwear ready, socks being matched, outfits are laid, help to fix her bed is given and her piece of toast smelling good in the kitchen is waiting for her.

She gives me hugs and kisses.

She tells me she loves me and sometimes I fail to acknowledge it because I am so caught up with other things to do.

I am not patting my shoulder by saying all these. But maybe these are few things that our kids really wanting us to notice in them, when they verbalize their love and affection. These are probably what they want us to hear when we are in the middle of “running-out-of-time”, in a hurry or when we feel like they are “getting in our nerves”.

I strive to be patient, to have the right attitude when things get rough. I get worn out too. I sometimes think, it would be easier to get things out-of-the-way away as soon as I can according to what I planned; and move on to the next.

Motherhood is not a perfect boat to sail. The wind may take me to a different direction, but I can’t let her move along. She is part of me and we’ll sail together; and ask God to be the wind.

Yes, it really is good when I can have my alone time as soon as she gets on the school bus.

But at the end of the day, it is darn greater good when she hop off the bus, climb on you and tells you, “I love you, Mama”.

Psalms 127:3 Children are a gift from the Lord; they are a reward from him.

Kids Grow Up, They’re Not Stuck In Their Imaginary World

Nothing is more satisfying when our child started exploring her imagination. She would talk to herself as she play independently. Any type of toys turn to whatever character she wants it to be. She would pretend to be somebody. We would stop whatever we are doing and watch her quietly. We video taped or took a quick click to seal that moment. When we get caught, she would stop and feel embarrassed, or we get yelled at for interrupting or asked us to join the fun in her imaginary world.

Her mind does not stop, it keeps growing and learning. Her understanding to things widens. It gets more real, more than just curiosity.

She speaks her mind confidently because what she sees and hears come from my husband and I, and her two older brothers. “Monkey see, monkey do”.

She trusts us, depend on us,  do the things we do and  speak the words we say.

She thought everything is right and acceptable until when we fail and we are sorry, when wants are not given, when arguments between parents or siblings are witnessed, when apology and forgiveness are received.

She realized that life is not fair, not perfect, and that you don’t always get what you want. It is difficult.

It was and still easy and care-free in her imagination, in her alone time with the “things” she is fond of  for a while, and that is her pretend time or play time.

As she gets older, perceiving things get more serious. She is not just a kid with a playful heart and mind, she is sensitive, demanding, loving, sweet, and can be a pain in the butt but she is just like us in need of real connection in the world.

She needs 100% attention. In need of understanding, and help in dealing with her demands and frustrations, in need of reassurance.

She can distinguish between genuine and pretentious act. She is like a detective, she can tell when I am not fully committed in spending time with her. She listens keenly to the tone of our voice and watch closely the expressions in  our face.

She voices out whatever discomfort and dissatisfaction she notices. She is right to the point.

I am not a perfect Mom and I always struggle to be a good one. She helped me realize what matters most for a kid like her. 

She doesn’t like the “Oh Yeah!” response. For her, it does not sound like I am paying enough attention.  I am pretending according to her. It is not genuine. She is hoping that I will STOP what I am doing, take a LOOK on what she is trying to show me and LISTEN. I think, these are the only way I can SEE what she is trying to share with me; and SEE the right response I can genuinely give back to her.

When I tell her we are going to have fun today. We are going to the playground. It means her and me. She does not like it when the “Playground Becomes My (Mom”s) “Breakground”.
She doesn’t make friends right away at the playground. Yes, of all creatures, kids are quick to make friends but it’s not always the case. As soon as we get there, I will look for a bench to sit. I would say, “Okay Sweetheart, have fun. I’ll be right here.” I forget to take time to look around and see if there is a kid whom she  knows she can play with? I think of taking a break while she is playing. It’s okay to chat the day away with other parents when she is actually having fun socializing with other kids. When she is playing alone, she would ask me to play with her.  Having fun does not always mean spending it with fellow kids alone. I want her to enjoy the TIME being there, I don’t want to push the IDEA that since it’s a playground it’s going to be fantastic, that she will be with other kids, Mom will have a break. But seriously, I really don’t get a break not even at the playground, I have to keep an eye on her anyway. I am not complaining by the way. This is just one of the real scenarios that other kids can’t replace my status as a mother on that day. To be around for her; and our time together matters most.

One more thing she opposes , and you’ll know it when you hear her say, “You’re taking too much photos”. When we go for a walk, she wants to make sure that it involves just me and her. She wants me to leave my camera at home.  She likes to look at things. She talks a lot. She likes to discuss every detail of anything she can find. This happened many times, she had to stop talking excitedly about something she discovered because I was on the ground taking a picture of something. Oh boy, she complained about it. This actually made me feel guilty. She uttered, “You just want to take pictures Mom, this is boring”. I still take my camera when we go for a hike and I try really hard that it won’t be my main focus. I always hope not to make things complicated.

She is only a little girl but smart enough to discern how genuine my intentions are; and I can’t make excuses when I fail her.

She’s not stuck in her “imaginary” world although she still enjoys it. 

She understands that Dad, Mom, Brothers and Herself are for real. It involves quality time, love, patience (a lot of this), listening (yeah, non stop listening) and a lot of that good stuff (imperfections too)  to live happily ever after and to live the best we can.

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If I Could Only Turn Back Time

Some days is difficult to get motivated. It is way impossible to carry out at least one or two things for the day. I feel like snuggling in the couch would be the best thing to do…. to relax.

Yet, inside of me want to do something. Make the best I can for the day. If somebody pour a bucket full of cold water on me, it will probably get me up and moving.

I am hoping for a great day today. Our kid is off from school due to inclement weather.  I find it difficult when she is around (in a good way). I know I have to spend quality time with her. Yes I said I have to.

Her being off from school and myself off from work is like a privilege for us. Our time together is not always perfect. Sometimes she would end up doing what she really like – reading and play with her tablet.  We would agree to do something later when my chores are done.

I work part-time; and mostly in the weekend. There are days I work 4 days in a row. It means I am not able to put her to bed and read a book. No cuddle time with hubby, missing Big Bang Theory and Guilligan’s Island. That part of day is special to us. I am not trying to make this sound like we are  perfect. We are not, but there are little things at home that we really love to do together; and it’s always at night-time, before bedtime.

That’s why when my daughter and I are both home, it’s a privilege. I start thinking what we can do together and end up worrying that the day will be over. I worry that we may not be able to spend it together.

I sometimes hate time because you chase it, work around it, and spend it wisely. You almost treat it like a precious gem.  Once it passed, it’s gone.If I could only turn back time. I can undo the past, make up the days I missed.

Well, I just need the ability to manage and prioritize. Spend it to what matters the most. Our daughter will be a kid only once. With time (I just have to love to use it wisely), we can make memories together, good or bad.

I know I really don’t have to stress myself out planning and thinking what we can do together. There’s more to life to worry about. Eating breakfast together is a good start. Watching her reading comics as she munches on her food is okay. A great time together can start right on our dining table.

I need to be reminded that simple connection is more important and it does not have to be a hard work.

Time is not in control of me. I can’t be a slave of it. It is difficult but I have to strive everyday that I get the most out of it. I can be flexible to prepare myself for circumstances that may happen and change the course of plan I have for today. I hope I won’t gripe about it but be reminded that everyday is “….the day that the Lord has made. Let us rejoice and be glad in it” Psalm 118:24