A Tribute To The Love of Our Lives

June 19, 2011. Today is one of those special days – a day when our family celebrates father’s day as well as my husband’s 30th birthday. So there is really no better day suited for showing him how much we love and appreciate him.

So to my dearest other half,

Thank you for all the love and support you have been giving us. You are truly one of a kind and I hope you know how lucky we are to have you in our lives. There is never a day when your laugh would not brighten up our home. You take care of us and show us that your family is the most important thing (next to the computer and cameras of course but we understand that :P). You are our rock and we know that each and everyday you try to show us how much you love us and how important we are in your life. You have been a blessing in my life. You are a wonderful husband and father no matter how much I joke about your fathering “i’ll-take-care-of-you-son-you-use-your-ipad-son-while-I-use-mine” skill 🙂 Life is truly better with you around. Thank you for your patience, understanding, affection and infinite love. We hope you know how much you are loved in return. Happy happy birthday and happy father’s day 🙂

Love,

The wife and son 🙂

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March: A Month for Remembering

Today I’m taking a break from my usual travel stories because today’s date is an extremely important one in my life.

It was exactly 7 years from today when my mom passed away and next week it will be my dad’s 14th death anniversary as well. Looking back, I still consider these the two most painful experiences in my life. I don’t think anyone will be able to imagine the pain of a parent’s death until they’ve experienced it themselves. And it’s a kind of pain I wouldn’t want to wish on anyone else. I was still young when my dad passed so the impact was there but not quite as significant as my mom’s passing. I was almost 23 years old then and by losing the most important person in my life, my world just came crashing down. It didn’t help that these two happened so close to my birthday. Like any normal human being, there are days that I’d wish they were still here -knowing of course that it’s just not possible yet still hoping that they’re watching over me.

It is always during this month that I remember the most about them. The birthdays, Christmases, New Years – all celebrated with every tradition you can imagine. I remember it was my dad who made me taste my first bottle of beer. He bought me my first CD. He was the one who told me to always keep guys at arms length and to always choose a guy who has a good, loving and kind family (when I was in 7th grade!!!). It was my dad who encouraged all of us to travel together as a family and to just travel in general. My dad always had his Nikon film camera when we’d travel and he’d take so much pictures of everyone. My mom on the other hand was the ultimate housewife. I don’t think there was anything that my mom couldn’t do. She was the one who took me to my first ballet class and to all the other lessons I took. I always traveled with her. She helped me with my homework. She inspired me to be OC  (but until now I still cannot for the life of me file my papers the way she did). She helped me cook my very first dish. And she was there for me every step of the way, no matter how hard headed I got. So little time, yet I know I have so much memories to be thankful for.

with mom

with dad

So today, like the past years, I give thanks to the Lord for giving me such great parents even if my time with them was very brief. I thank Him for helping me realize how beautiful life is and for helping me appreciate every minute I have on this earth. I know despite the pain, I have been truly blessed and I am eternally grateful for His constant outpour of blessings. And to my wonderful parents- wherever you may be, I miss you and thank you because I know I am who I am because of you.

Traveling Without My Toddler

My husband and I have been blessed with a lot of travels in the last year. Next year I’m sure it will lessen considerably. These past few months I’ve been asked “are you bringing your son?” or “how can you leave your son that long/that often?”. I must admit we are pretty lucky because we live in the Philippines and my in-laws love my son and they have been willing to take care of him while we travel. Of course it’s a big plus that I found a nanny that could tolerate my curious son and who gets along with the in-laws. But it never gets any easier – in fact it seems to be getting harder as he grows up (attachment parenting makes leaving hard for the mom as well!).

I traveled for the first time after giving birth when my son was around 7 1/2 months old. Being able to travel again was the best thing that ever happened to me since my son came into our lives – and that is saying a lot because I only didn’t travel for around 9 months. But traveling is a big part of who I am. Before I gave birth all I kept hearing was “you’ll never get to travel again”, “you won’t have time to travel” or “you won’t be able to leave your baby behind”. I kept thinking, why not? When I was younger my parents would often travel (together or separately) and I would get left behind for months at a time. When I was old enough they started bringing me along. I know that if I get to the point that I can no longer leave my son behind, I would gladly bring him because during our Australia trip I was able to prove to myself that I could take him on trips and not go insane. It wasn’t easy but it wasn’t as hard as I imagined.

Yet as of now, the hardest thing about leaving him behind is having to say goodbye. Last year when we went on a 3 week trip to North America without him, I cried like a baby on the way to the airport. And it still makes me cry thinking about it and thinking that I’m gonna have to keep doing it over and over again. No matter how short our trip will take, the pain of leaving him behind doesn’t change. But I always say to myself (maybe to rationalize?) that we’ll enjoy ourselves and before we know it we’ll be back with him. Of course that doesn’t include all the nagging thoughts like “what if something happens to him while you’re away -(last year it was what if he gets H1N1? this year Dengue Fever)? what if something happens to you while you’re away? what if he doesn’t recognize you when you get back?”. But I also know that if I don’t get to travel I’ll lose a part of myself and that won’t be good for him as well.

So how do I do it? A couple of weeks before I travel I start talking to him and telling him that daddy and mommy has to ride an airplane once again and that we’ll be gone for a number of days/weeks. I tell him that I promise that we’ll be back and that no matter how long our trips take we’ll always come back to him. I ask him not to get mad at us (when we left him for the first time, he didn’t want me to carry him right away when we got back) and that we’re sorry that we have to leave him and that we’ll miss him and again tell him that we’ll be back before he knows it. He understands I suppose and hopefully will continue to understand. Sooner or later I know we’ll be able to bring him with us. For now, we’ll try to capture and see everything that we can so that when the time comes, we’ll be able to show him how we’ve seen the world.

Someday soon my little man…

Family picture petronas towers, Malaysia

My Son’s Pain Is My Pain

My journey as a mother proves to be a continuous battle of highs and lows – luckily with more highs than lows. I am fortunate because so far, my son can be considered healthy (though on the thin side). But as a mother, especially since my son is only 20 months old, it is very difficult for me to see my baby in pain.

Last wednesday (March 31, 2010) I woke up around 7:30 am through my son’s persistent nudging and movements and found our him and our bed soaked with watery stool. The night before I knew that he was having stomach pains since he kept getting my hand and putting it on his stomach. But not knowing what the real problem was, I couldn’t do anything about it. He has been through mild cases of diarrhea before but not quite as bad as this one. So that morning we decided to observe first if his stools were going to get better. But they didn’t and he seemed very thirsty for the rest of the day. So 14 hours later, my mother-in-law (who is also my son’s pediatrician) recommended that we bring him to the hospital. I have never been confined in a hospital before giving birth. So maybe I assumed that my son would be the same way. It was very difficult for me to bring him to the hospital not knowing what the outcome would be (his type of diarrhea seemed like symptoms for rotavirus or cholera). So we brought him to the emergency room and they had to put him on dextrose since he was becoming dehydrated. Seeing his tears and hearing him scream while the IV was being inserted was heartbreaking. And for the rest of the night, even when we were at the hospital room, he kept freaking out every time a nurse would come near him. If only I could’ve taken his pain from him. He only really calmed down when we were the only 2 left in the room. Finally around 1230 am of April 1, he fell asleep.

The next morning, I knew my prayers were answered – his test results came out normal. He was smiling more and kept moving around (even though he was irritated with the IV). But the important thing was he became my happy little boy again. After lunch, even though he was still hooked up to the dextrose, we went to my in-law’s house and took care of him there. And finally around 1130 pm, his IV was removed.

I know some people may have experienced worse but I know that every mother can say that no pain will ever be too insignificant and that her child’s pain will always be her pain. And maybe this happening during holy week is an opportune time for me to once again thank God for all the blessings he has showered upon my family because despite whatever pain I’ve been through in the past (I lost my father during holy week as well) He still has never left my side; and to thank Him for giving us His only son- who in turn gave up his life for us. Only our Father’s love can accept all the pain thrown at him and only His love can sacrifice so much- knowing that at the end of it all, His children will be saved.

Have a blessed holy week!