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

 

 

The Feeling of Being Deserving To Be Fired As A Mom

I cried and I thought I deserve to get fired as a mom at least that moment, that day.

I felt terrible.

My husband and I beside each other while I was “recording” that moment. Photo credit to my friend.

I can’t believe I misclick the right button to record our daughter’s piano recital performance. I did notice the absence of a “red dot” and the word “rec” on my camera screen. But I continue holding up my camera and watch her play thru live view.

She looked beautiful. “Hip” with her cowboy boots matched with teal lacy dress. She sat gracefully and hands perfect on the baby grand piano. She played, Minuet and Trio. She had great timing.

I heard “wows” and “nice” whispers around when she finished. She did marvelous. She received a warm applause after her great performance.

When I checked my camera I realized that I failed to record it. I miss the whole performance. I was very disappointed and so was my husband. It felt worst when he said, “You’re fired being a mom”.

I watched the whole show and soon I had to leave for work.

I cried on my way to work. I cried while at work.

Photo captured by my friend. Grateful

I am so thankful for my friend who took this photo.

I wanted it documented. I love to keep memories and look back into it someday; also it would be nice for her to see herself on stage and realize how great she is after all those moments when she would like to quit.

I thought, the “wows” and “nice” compliments and applause from the background would prove that she did great; and inspire her to keep playing, learning and have fun with piano.

But all I had planned did not work . I failed and I need to forget about it while I was working. I couldn’t move on.

There must be something wrong with me, I thought. I prayed about it to settle my heart.

On Psalms 30:3 it says, “For His anger is but for a moment; His favor is for life; weeping may endure for a night, but joy comes in the morning.”

I may be weird but I grab my Bible when I am really sad even for simple situations that bothers me. I always find comfort in God’s word. It sounds crazy considering that it was just about missing the right button.

As I was thinking and writing my journal I remember every detail of that day. Everything about her. I think she was nervous. She sat with us in the audience before the show started and I watched her playing her fingers against her piano book; she was probably practicing. If she was stressed, she handled it wonderfully. She played with no mistakes and memorized her piece. She did what she was expected to do. She got it right. (See, if I did not miss the right button, I could have it recorded and insert it here as a proof.)

The next day, she told us she was nervous and she actually was nauseated. “That feeling”, according to her Dad, “makes you stronger because you did a great job.” My husband called it “adrenaload”.

I realized I did not miss that moment. I watched and listen her play. I am grateful to be there and very proud how she did; and I can’t be fired as a mom just because I miss the right button.

She may remember that I forgot to record her show but I know our daughter; I know she is more grateful that I was there.

I realized life is more than a click of our devices. Gadgets are made for convenience or for keeping and documenting memories we created. Sometimes it can be life’s distraction.

Memories are made with our time and presence. It is made with a desire to live that certain moment. It is made by heart.

“How do you think people survive long long time ago without high tech gadgets?”, my husband’s statement to calm me down.

Failures can appear unexpectedly in every situation. It makes me uncomfortable.  It can rob my joy but not for long.  God is gracious enough to remind me not to dwell on it.

I was sad that her grandma who is thousands miles away won’t see how she did; but there is a lot of it coming. There is going to be more recital coming; she’s only 8 years old for goodness sake.

There is more to life to  focus on and be grateful for. There is going to be a lot of mistakes, tears, and pain that I will go through. A lot of learning. A lot of patience. A lot of love. A lot of healing.  I will forever experience all these because I am a mother. My seat will stay and I am blessed to be in this position; and I will never get fired. I love being a mom and everything that goes with it.

Imagine how difficult life would be for our children if the rule is getting mothers fired when we miss the right button. Thankfully, it does not work that way.

 Finally brethren, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is of a good report — if there is any virtue and if there is any praise — think on these things. Philippinas 4:8

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. _-

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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