Tuesday, October 20, 2009


I had the worst job interview today.

The man I met with asked me a simple but insightful question, and before I could stop myself the words: "To be honest, I hadn't really thought about it" came out of my mouth. To be fair to myself --- I really hadn't. And rather than bullshit this obviously intelligent person with some marketing mumbo jumbo I gave him the truth.

Needless to say he was a little under-whelmed.

I don't blame him, it was not my finest (half) hour.

So I dragged the carcass of my ego 4 blocks to Shangri-la Mall and met up with some friends for dinner. And a pity party ensued. Well, a pity party for me and Jaims while Steve and Jill tried to give us constructive advice.

Jaime drove me home afterward and we sat in his car and decided to prolong the pity party a little. So we spoke about our respective personal existential angst which is mostly grounded on the same thesis: Coming to grips with who you are now, when it is so far from who you always thought you would be.

Now we both agree that in theory God should smote us both with lightning for being ungrateful bastards. We both live good lives. Very good lives. We are both aware that we are blessed.

But when we look at the lives we lead, we feel twinges of poignancy (see Jaims -- I can spell it even if I can't pronounce it) ---- realizing the compromises that we have made to help us get to where we are today.

Should we even dream that the compromises we make today will someday help us become even better than the people we always thought we would be?

I hope so.

I left my career to become a mother, always keeping in the back of my mind that it was always something I could go back to when Pilar gets a little older. When she doesn't need me to be around so much anymore. I always believed that even if I took a 5 year break -- I could always go back to work. Because I was good at what I did and I could be so again.

Today showed me that may be I am not as good as I always thought I was. May be I cannot leave being mother to have a career again.

Perhaps mother is my new career.

One I never thought I'd want to have.

This is my compromise.

Will it help me become better than the person I always thought I'd grow up to be?

I hope so.


When I finally crawled out of Jaime's car --- buoyed by the knowledge that a) I am not alone; b) there is hope; c) there is someone crazier than I am --- I found Pilar passed out on our bed still in her play-clothes and not in her jammies (obviously her Pappy had fallen asleep before she did). And as I tried to gently change her clothes she groggily opened her eyes. She asked me: "Are you going with me to school tomorrow?". I asked her: "Do you want me to go to school with you?".

She said: "I always want you to be with me. I miss you when you're not around."

Compromise is not a bad thing.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Fight or Flight?

I have been obsessively scouring the internet of cheap airfares to the US, this despite the fact that we have just come from vacation (although traveling with a 4-year old is NEVER a vacation for anyone).

I don't know why I have itchy feet syndrome. Why being home just makes me anxious and raring to be anyplace but here. May be because when I'm home I just have a tendency to veg-out. I can lie in bed all day in my pjs watching God-knows-what on TV or surfing the internet. I know there are soooooo many things that I should be doing, but I just can't muster up the energy to do them. Things to fix, things to pack away, things to give away.... it stresses me out just thinking about them... and yet.... I can't be bothered. I feel lazy and tired and.....

I have purposely refused to be introspective the last couple of months. It just depresses the living hell out of me. I try not to delve into my own psyche too deeply --- I know what's waiting down there for me. They are always in the thoughts that I never let come to fore. Whenever thoughts of them come up, I purposely push them back down. I am tired of the mourning that never seems to end, and the infinite sadness that comes with it. But it is always there, just waiting.

So here I am --- yelling at people from Northwest that their online promo is nothing but baloney (damn their ticket designators and fare basis crap!). I know that I can't run away from my own thoughts, but I'm determined to try anyway. I realize that they will always be with me, and that the sadness will be here for a while. I know as soon as I unpack my suitcase from whatever "vacation" I've conjured up for us, I unpack my emotional baggage as well.

It is strange to be Sisyphus again.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Let's Hear it For the Boy

So the hub turned 40 yesterday. :-)

He didn't want a big party.

He didn't want to go out of the country.

So we just spent the weekend at Anvaya with his family.

And boy am I still tired. (details in another post)

While at Anvaya, I was able to organize a special dinner for John at the Wine Cellar. It went really well. The food was great (pumpkin and lobster bisque, spinach and mushroom salad with bacon and cognac vinaigrette, filet mignon with butterfly prawns and truffle infused mashed potatoes, and decadent chocolate cake with french vanilla ice cream and cheese cake with fresh fruits) and the set-up was amazing. The only flies in the ointment were the 3 little rascals that kept us from having a civilized sit-down dinner by constantly threatening to jump into the koi pond and blowing out all the candles that were lit for mood lighting.

Still it was a nice dinner.

While he really appreciated all the planning that went into the dinner, nay, the whole trip, I know it wasn't really John's scene. He's not into the big production numbers or fancy events. I'm pretty sure he went along for the ride because he knew it made ME happy to plan something big and fancy for him. At heart, he's really just a simple guy.

So come Monday, since he took the day off, I finally let him celebrate his birthday --- his way:

First we dropped Pilar off at school, which really made him happy since its something he never gets to do. He went around the school, met her friends, and had his first glimpse of the Mommy Pit (details to follow in another post).

Then we headed off to Megamall because its his favorite mall (next to Greenhills).

When it was time to decide where to have lunch --- there were all sorts of options (us being in Megamall). Expensive ones, mid priced ones, and cheap ones. He was still trying to be nice and started suggesting places he thought I'd like to eat in. But I took one look at him and said 3 letters I knew would make his day: K-F-C?

John loves KFC. Seriously. It is for this very same reason that I hate KFC. Because when you're married to John you will eat in KFC a lot. A LOT.

But since its his birthday, KFC it is.

After lunch, I don't even have to ask what we'll do next. It's the Power Books-Comic Quest-Filbars-Book Sale route. It is always the Power Books-Comic Quest-Filbars-Book Sale route when we're in building A. If it were Building B then it would be the Ace Hardware-Department Store-Cyber Zone-Tutto Moda route. My man is a creature of habit.

The morning is capped off with a visit to Dairy Queen for his standard 16 oz. Cashew Caramel fix.

We leave the mall full of chicken, comics and calories. And John couldn't be happier.

Like I posted on my status yesterday: It takes a day spent like a 7 year old boy to make my 40 year old man happy.

Thursday, August 13, 2009

54 Days

Two things are going to surprise a lot of you when you read this post:

1. You will find out that I actually pray. And that I have prayed novenas.

2. That the person who gave me this latest novena is Jaims. (this part is for those of us who know him) ;-)

I just finished the 4th day of the 54 days that is required for the Holy Rosary Novenas to Our Lady. It's a 54 day novena, divided into 27 days of petition and 27 days of thanksgiving (something that you should still pray whether or not your petition is granted -- for as you know, or may eventually discover, God doesn't always give us what we want but He does give us what we need).

I can't remember if Jaime gave me this novena when I was still pregnant with the twins, or after I lost them. All I can remember is that 1) I was shocked he even knew what a novena was (hahaha); 2) he says his family swears by it, and 3) that he gave me his own copy of it as soon as I expressed interest in it. Which is just the kind of friend that he is.

It has been sitting on my shelf for quite a while now, frankly, gathering dust. 54 days is a big commitment you see. 54 straight days. No skipping, no doubling back (well you could technically say 2 in one day if you happened to forget --- but where's your commitment if you did that?).

Then I realized that I have prayed a novena longer than that.

When I was trying to conceive Pilar I found the Novena to the Sacred Heart of Jesus in the makeshift chapel of our old UnionBank building. It was just there on an empty seat next to me. And when I read it, I really felt that it spoke to me. It gave me the words to express to God how much I wanted to have a baby. So I promised God, after I prayed the novena for the first time, that if he would bless me with a positive pregnancy test I would pray that novena every day until my baby was born.

254 (++) days later (no skipping, no doubling back --- honestly!) He gave me Pilar.

The Novena has not always worked. Or not always in the way we hoped it would. It went on to give me 2 more positive pregnancy tests after Pilar. But she remains my only child. For now.

I will be the first person to tell you --- that I am not the most religious person you will meet. I may be closer to the opposite end of the spectrum. I am a non-practicing Catholic (blame the Jesuits and too many interesting books on the ordinary origins of sacred things). But certain novenas and prayers have really touched my life. One was the Novena to the Sacred Heart, the other is this:

When I lost my twins, John's Tita Cecile did the nicest thing that anyone could have done for me --- she sent me the Novena for Mary, Undoer of Knots. And let me tell you --- that novena helped calm my heart more than anything or anyone could those first couple of months. I am eternally grateful to her for sending me that book.

So last Monday I found the courage, nay the fortitude, to start the Holy Rosary Novenas to Our Lady. Can I just share that at the end of each mystery you pray for a particular grace or virtue (eg. the virtue of resignation to the will of God)? And each every day the virtues that the novena calls for are the same virtues I myself feel like praying for. The novena makes me feel like I am speaking/praying from my heart.

With 50 more days to go, I hope I feel like this every day.

P.S. I am not afraid to share that I am praying for another baby. That if it is in God's plans for us, then I hope he blesses us with another child, hopefully another child we can conceive naturally. And if it is not His will that we have more kids, then I am also praying for acceptance of His plan, I am praying for healing, I am praying for forgiveness (from Him, my babies and from myself). I hope that whoever is reading this prays for me too. :-)

P.S.S. Anyone who wants a copy of any of the above mentioned novenas...just holler. :-)

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Mr. E. Coompy

This is Mr. E. Coompy

He is the latest addition to our growing menagerie of toilet-roll-with-pipe-cleaners-and-glue" pets. Mr. E. Coompy is the name that Pilar gave him.

He epitomizes the quandary that I am in.

On the one hand, he stands for what my life has been this past year and a half: nanny, personal chef, maid, pet, toy, friend, teacher and magician all rolled into one. I am Mommy.

On the other, I see Mr. E. Coompy and realize he is my biggest "achievement" of the day. So I wonder: What the.....?

Growing up, this is never who I thought I'd grow up to be. Lawyer, theater director, writer.... these are things that come to mind. But Mother was never part of that list.

I was groomed to be a Master of the Universe. My father always told me that I would grow up to be someone very important someday.

So as I end my day packing away Dora and her friends, wondering about tomorrow's menu and making mental reminders to arrange for a play date in the afternoon --- is this all there is to me now?

Is my life on hold, as hers goes fast forward?

Because as much as I love being with her, being there to watch her grow and be such an integral part of her life.....I miss the life... the me.. I had to give up to be here.

Not the work, but the sense of fulfillment it gave me. The sense of self, of worth, that I got in a job well done. The little personal achievements, milestones. The ego-stroking. The love of self that I felt knowing that I was good at what I did, and people knew it.

May be it boils down to a question of who do I love more? Myself? Or her?

The answer will always be... her. So much more than myself, or the version of me I'd always thought I'd grow up to be.

So I pack away these thoughts and doubts along with her jigsaw puzzle pieces.... and the other pieces of my life that puzzle me.

I may not be the Master of my Universe. But her world revolves around me (for now) --- so may be I am the Sun in hers.

And at least I was able to fulfill my father's prophesy: I AM someone very important. To the one person who matters the most.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Never Shake Your Booty While Pushing a Shopping Cart

(Intro: Queen: Pressure... pushing down on you....)

I like going to the grocery store. More so when I'm by myself. I find wandering up and down the aisles relaxing. I get a little exercise and get my "shopping" fix even if it is just over canned goods and laundry detergent.

My usual plan of attack is this: 
1. Go through pantries, freezer and fridge and draft shopping list.
2. Have driver drop me off at any of the following: SNR, Parco, Hi-Top, Rustans or Shopwise (SNR and Parco being my groceries of choice).
3. Grab eco-bags and shopping cart.
4. Turn on iPod and select band of choice for today's shopping excursion.
5. Waste 2-3 hours going through each and every aisle.

The music I play while I do my grocery shopping generally reflects my mood and outlook for the day. 

Am I feeling contemplative as I analyze how many wash loads I can get out of a 4 liter bottle of fabric softener? Then break out the Sigur Ros. May be some Radio Head.

Are the rising prices of chicken and fish making me depressed? How bout some Damien Rice and Sarah MacLachlan?

Are the badly stacked piles of toilet paper making me angry? That calls for some Stereophonics. May be a couple of vintage glam rock tracks from Guns and Roses and Poison.

But generally I like shiny, happy music while I do my grocery shopping. Katrina and the Waves kind of happy. I like listening to some ska like Save Ferris and Letters from Cleo. A little gay Brit pop from Right Said Fred and the Pet Shop Boys. Some vintage Queen.

A word of caution though: never let yourself get to carried away by what's playing in your ear. This has happened to me one too many times.

In Shopwise I once bumped into an ex-office mate while belting out the chorus of a Mariah Carey song in the canned goods section (I blame the noise-canceling headphones which apparently really DOES cancel out all noise --- including your own).

In SM Hypermart I caught one of the LEAP preschool mommies staring at me as I grooved to Quincy Jones' Q's Jook Joint while squeezing lemons amongst the produce.

And today...today will live forever in infamy. 

I was playing Under Pressure by Queen as I was on my way to the check out counter of SNR. I didn't realize that the pulsating beat of dum-dum-dum-du-du-dum-dum (so reminiscent of Vanilla Ice's Ice Ice Baby) had driven me to subconsciously do a mini Running Man while pushing my shopping cart. It was only when I looked back to go back for some canola oil did I realize that all the sales people from aisles 10 onward were staring at me and laughing their asses off.

Beware the iPod while doing grocery shopping. Damn those block-rockin beats. 

(Extro: Groove Armada: I see you baby...shakin that ass....)

Monday, June 08, 2009

The Tenth of an Inch Difference Between Heaven and Hell

....is accepting things as they are or wishing them to be otherwise.  

It's been a tough couple of days. This has been my life ---- long stretches of being ok and normal followed by sudden bursts of depression.  

No one really gets to see it. I've become very good at hiding how I feel. The only one who ever senses it (and gives me a wide berth and lots of patience because of it) is John.  

The insomnia's back. Long, late sleepless nights spent staring at the wall. Or writing in my journal. Days that are spent trying to catch up to lost sleep.  

The short temper.  

The tears. 

I slipped in the laundry area again last night, wearing the same slippers I was wearing when I fell that awful night. In my anger and anguish I threw them in the trash. I'd burn them if I could. It reminded me of what happened. And I started wishing again that I never wore them that night. Or that I went up as soon as dinner was over. Or that I didn't got down at all.  

Wishing for things that I cannot change. For things that, I know now, could not have changed anything.  

The most awful realization I have had to make in my sad journey towards letting my babies go --- is that they were never mine to keep. 
Awful, yet freeing at the same time.  

May be one day this thought won't make my heart feel that it's being squeezed in a vise. May be one day, writing these words won't make me cry anymore.  

May be one day I'll be able to bridge that distance and find peace.  

A tenth of an inch doesn't seem that far.

Sunday, June 07, 2009

Here We Are Again

I haven't had the heart to update this blog.

I couldn't find the words to say: we have lost 2 more babies.

We hadn't even gotten over losing Ines, and now we have to add getting over Carmen and Salvador (our twins) to this impossible task.

It has been 46 days since we lost the twins.

I still don't have the words.

Wednesday, April 08, 2009

Crossed Off the Bookshelf

So since I've been stuck at home and I have watched all the episodes of all the tv shows that I like....I've been burning through books like nobody's business. It's a good thing Fully Booked gave me a 20% discount otherwise we'd be broke.

Just a quick run through of the books I've finished in the last 3 weeks and my 2 cents worth on each:

1. The Nasty Bits by Anthony Bourdain - I'm a big Bourdain fan. I have a copy of Kitchen Confidential and A Cook's Tour, plus his fiction novel Gone Bamboo. He's a funny writer (he writes like someone I should be friends with) and makes me feel like I should be eating better food and learning how to cook. He's irreverent and I bet Jamie Oliver hates his guts. :-)

2. Heart Sick - pure pulp fiction. The literary equivalent of a popcorn movie. Fun, fast and totally shallow. I forget who wrote it (my sister has my book right now) but its one of the better murder/mystery novels I've read in a long while.

3. Love the One You're With by Emily Giffin - chick lit. Blech. I actually like chick lit. But there's something about the main character that bugged the living crap out of me. I felt totally unsympathetic with her indecisiveness and childish reasoning. And the premise, I mean....really? Choose between your wonderful, loving, successful, handsome, rich husband --- or your emotionally stunted, brooding, passive aggressive ex-boyfriend who dumped you for no reason. What kind of choice is that?

4. StarGirl by Jerry Spinelli* - what a great book! All teenage girls should be made to read this book. What a terrific treatise on being free to be whoever you want to be. I've always felt that conformity is overrated. Why should we waste time seeking the approval of others when what really matters is being true to one's self. Stargirl is a wonderful testament to that. It's funny, poignant and stirring. I can't wait till Pilar is old enough to read this.

5. Holes by Louis Sachar* - you would have thought it was a short story with how fast I read through this book (6 hours straight --- although inclusive of lunch, afternoon nap and 10 million bathroom breaks). I can understand why it won a Newberry medal. Though the ending was predictable (although I am 34 and this book is targeted for the 15 and under crowd --- so it should be no surprise that I knew what was going to happen halfway through the book) it didn't detract from the book's charm and I was still eager to read through the whole thing just to see how it would pan out.

6. When You Are Engulfed in Flames by David Sedaris - here's another guy who writes like he should be my friend. I can just imagine the conversations we would have. The minute I finished reading it I immediately called my friend Jaime and told him that this is what he would be like if he were a smart and witty gay writer.....instead of just being uhm...gay. :-) Actually his sexuality is only anecdotal to his random musings on life, family, fashion, and whatever the hell else caught his fancy. I found this one much more enjoyable than his other collection of essays Dress Your Family in Corduroy and Denim.

7.On Chesil Beach by Ian McEwan - I have always promised myself that I would own/read an Ian McEwan book before I die. Largely because he has like 6 books on the 1001 Book You Must Read Before You Die. But to be honest, I haven't finished this one yet. His books are like Merchant/Ivory movies --- beautiful, lyrical, profound....and a tad boring. I keep starting and stopping. It feels a little like work to get through it. So I'm putting it back on the shelf for a while.

I also read Everything You Need to Know to Have a Healthy Twin Pregnancy but I doubt if you'd want to hear about.

I highly recommend The Nasty Bits and When You Are Engulfed in Flames, as well as Star Girl and Holes.

* Star Girl and Holes are books for kids by who says you have to limit yourself to adult fiction? :-)

Tuesday, March 03, 2009

Life is Short.

Last week, I was already mulling over the thought that life is short. Its a trite phrase I know. But watching my mom recover in the hospital, hearing about that poor little boy in Ateneo, and finding out about an old office mate who suffered a stroke (at the age of 36!) really drove it home for me.

Life is short.

Then today I read a friend's blog about the passing of her brother's girlfriend. And all I could think of was: life is short.

As I get older, as my life becomes more intertwined with others, its a thought that scares me and yet fills me with a strange determination.

Life is short. We will lose people we love. 

It doesn't mean we stop loving people. We open ourselves up to the eventuality of loss (and don't kid yourself that loss isn't inevitable) to allow ourselves to love fully, to appreciate the people that we love, to realize that each and every day is an opportunity to love and be loved.

Losing a parent taught me to cherish the one I have left. And after years of struggling to know her and understand her --- I can now see my mom through eyes that realize how much she sacrificed for us, how much she loved me in her own way. That she raised me in the best way she knew how. And that a lot of what I am, I owe to her.

It taught me to open my heart to my in-laws so that they could (in their own measure) become parents to me. It has taught me to love them unconditionally, to love them on my own terms --- not as John's parents, but as people who truly love me and care for me who I love and care for in return.

Losing a child taught me to cherish the one I have now. That she is, and always will be, a miracle -- a gift from God. I love her unreservedly and wholeheartedly --- and if that will turn her into the biggest brat in the world I don't care. All our days start and end with me telling her that I love her and she will always know that she is the best thing that has ever happened to me.

It also taught me that even in the light of such tragedy, life goes on. Moves on. That new life can light even the darkest corners of our hearts. 

Life is short. Time is running out to do the things that will mean something to us. 

I quit my job a year ago. A job, that despite the tremendous pressure and 14-hour work days, I actually really liked. I quit it to do 2 things that I felt were more important:

1. To try to have more kids
2. To be a full time mom

I'm 33. I'll be 34 at the end of the year. Each year that passes, my fertility issues compound upon themselves. I didn't want to wait any longer to try and have more kids, only to realize I had waited too long. 

Pilar, at the time, was 3 turning 4. She would only be that age once, and I had already missed so much. The child we had waited so long to have --- was growing up without me.

So even with my dream (of becoming a Marketing Director) so close at hand --- no one, except for my ex-boss and I, will ever know how close --- I chose to leave it all behind to do something I always thought of doing but never thought I'd do.

And while I am now no more than a glorified part-time nanny/cook/human incubator for two --- I have never regretted that decision.

Because life is short.

I am holding my loved ones close and trying to make dreams come true.

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

When do you let go?

There's been a lot of confusion about the status message I posted the other day. A lot of people have been worried that there's something wrong with the twins. First of all let me assure everyone that the twins are doing great. They're both on track and are already beginning to show distinct personalities. One quiet and shy (like John). The other --- not quiet and shy (like me). But thank you for all your prayers and well wishes.

The post was about my mom.

She was hospitalized last weekend for an infection, and yesterday her doctor met with us to discuss some very hard but very necessary decisions that we needed to make on her behalf.

You see, my mom has Progressive Supranuclear Palsy. It's a very rare degenerative neurological disease that has caused total body paralysis. She no longer walks or talks. She cannot make voluntary movements. And dementia is the final, awful phase of her disease.

Because it is degenerative in nature, all of this did not happen to her in one fell swoop. It happened in sporadic episodes. First the ability to keep her balance, then ability to move her legs. She became incontinent, and then lost the ability to swallow. That was the hard part. Because of that we had to put in a tube in her stomach where we could feed her with liquid food. Then we had to put a tube in her throat to suction saliva and mucus that pooled in her throat.

Now she can no longer move her head from side to side. And sometimes she forgets to blink.

More than the physical toll on her body, the disease has been hardest on her spirit. 

My brave, strong, hard-working mother has been reduced to a shell of her former self. It's cold consolation that she no longer understands the daily struggles she has to go through.

If you knew my mother back when she was still well, you would understand why seeing her go through all this is so hard. She was such a tireless person. She raised 4 kids full time, ran our household like a captain runs a ship, and was the kind of wife any man could be proud of.

I remember when we were kids, my dad would throw these dinners at our house and my mom would cook everything from scratch. From the bread, the main course to dessert. Then in between all that cooking she would find the time (and the strength) to make sure the house was spotless, the kids were presentable, and fresh flowers were on the table. She could do this for a group of 4 to 40. With just a day's notice.

Even now part of me wishes I could be half the home-maker my mom was. 

And that's the perfect phrase to describe her: a home-maker. 

She made our house a home. The kind any kid wishes he could come home to. Where every thing was always in order, and there was always good food around. The kind where you learned the values of being responsible, diligent and hard-working. And the kind that gave you life skills you never thought would be important, but now that you're older and on your own are essential: how to cook, how to clean a toilet, how to market, how to train household help, how to launder and iron. And most importantly - how to raise decent God-fearing kids.

And now the whirling dervish that was my mom in action lies quietly in her bed. Instead of hearing her yell at us in Bisaya to pick up after ourselves, all you'll hear now is the not-so-quiet hiss of the suction machine that keeps her from choking.

I have not heard her speak in almost 4 years. And I miss the sound of her voice. Raised in anger or quietly whispering words of reassurance --- I'd give anything to hear it again.

And now back to the hospital.

They have asked us to review this document that outlines several medical procedures. Beside each medical procedure are boxes marked: "Withhold" and "Withdraw". 

Because her hospitalizations are becoming more and more frequent, her doctors have advised us that she may be in a state of deterioration. The next major infection could be her last, and the next time we bring her to the hospital we may not be able to bring her home anymore.

So they want us to specify how far we want them to intervene medically. This is something we have to specify because unlike someone who gets into an accident and has a chance of surviving, my mom is "medically futile". Meaning no matter what we do she will never be cured, she will never get better. All we can do for her is manage her "quality of life".

Medically futile is the saddest phrase I've ever heard. More than terminally ill. At least terminally ill has end. Medically futile can drag on for years. She has been sick for almost 8.

So now we have decide whether or not we agree to let the hospital do the following (in case the worst happens):
- Defribrilator
- Dialysis
- Nutrition
- Invasive procedures (like central lines, etc)
- Intravenous fluids
- Ventilator

Some are easy like Nurtrition and IVs. Why on earth would we withhold those?

Dialysis is on the fence. It's painful and invasive but the alternative is pulmonary edema (which is like drowning out of water).

CPR and de-fib form part of a DNR order. Do not resuscitate. 

It's like asking us: At which point are you willing to let your mom go?

How much of this is the need to give her the best medical care, and how much of it is our desire to keep her with us a while longer? Because even if she's no longer herself, she is still our mother. At least we can still see her, touch her, kiss her and tell her that we love her.

These are questions we were faced with before with my dad. And it's so painful to be faced with them again for my mom.

I have signed 2 Do Not Resuscitate orders in my life. One for my father. One for Ines.

Where will I find the strength to sign another one?

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Chasing Pavements

After watching her performance at the Grammy's, I've been really curious about the British singer Adele and her song "Chasing Pavements". I thought the lyrics were very poignant even though I didn't catch most of them.

So I googled the rest of the lyrics while John downloaded the album. 

"Should I give up? Or should I just keep chasing pavements? Even if it leads nowhere?"

Wow, those lyrics.... I love them! A lot of people think that it's about breaking up or unrequited love. But when I was reading through the lyrics I realized that its about taking chances, about facing the uncertainties of falling in love (mainly not being sure if the person you love loves you back). Facing the uncertainties and taking the leap anyway.

It brought me back to the early days of when John and I were just starting to date. Well, I use the term "date" loosely since we didn't admit that we were dating until it finally became us. Most of the time we told people (and ourselves) that we were just "hanging out". 

I remember after our 5th or 6th date, I was telling some girlfriends that I was starting to really like John. To the point where I thought I was falling in love with him. And it freaked the living crap out of them. They couldn't understand:

a) How I could feel that way after only a couple of dates
b) How I could feel that way about someone like John

But here's the thing, those dates...those dates were awesome. We would mostly go out for dinner, start talking....and wind up closing down whatever bar/restaurant/coffee place we were in. All we did was talk, talk, talk. Talk about the most amazing and mundane things. We had so much in common, and yet we had enough things that we didn't agree on to keep things interesting. I had never met anyone so interested in my opinion, my views, and just my general outlook in life.

And John. He was so different from all the guys I dated. He was older (it doesn't matter so much now that we're in our 30's --- but back then, I was 24 and he was 31, and that freaked a lot of people out). He was so different from me --- quiet, reserved, private, cranky... :-) And I was...well....I could run for mayor. But to me he was thoughtful, mature (with just a hint of boyishness), smart, and funny.

So I found myself falling in love, despite the protestations (and interventions) of several well meaning friends. They had seen me get my heart broken more than once, seen me pin my hopes and love on a guy only to have my heart handed back to me in pieces. They didn't want me to get hurt again. They meant well.

And I remember telling one of them at one point: what have I got to lose? I wanted to open myself up fully to the experience of falling in love with this great guy. What's the worst that could happen? That he doesn't love me back? So what?

One doesn't love only on the condition that one will be loved back.

So we kept dating, and I let myself fall. Even if he wouldn't even admit that we were dating. Even if he never made a move to hold my hand or kiss me (yes people you read that right --- the entire month we were dating John never put the moves on me, and I didn't put the moves on him. Hahaha.). Even if I was the first one to say: I really l-- uh I really LIKE you.

A little after a month of dating, on his birthday, John asked me if he could hold my hand. I said yes. 

2 months after he asked my hand in my hand in marriage. I said yes.

Imagine how differently things would have ended up had I never opened up my heart and been brave enough to say: Screw it! I love this guy! Sure it's only been less than a month. But the heart wants what the heart wants."

"Should I give up? Or should I just keep chasing pavements? Even if it leads nowhere?" 

I say keep chasing those pavements. Yes, sometimes they do lead nowhere. But one day, they will lead you home. 


I've made up my mind, 
Don't need to think it over, 
If I'm wrong I am right, 
Don't need to look no further, 
This ain't lust, 
I know this is love but, 

If I tell the world, 
I'll never say enough, 
Cause it was not said to you, 
And that's exactly what I need to do, 
If I'm in love with you, 

Should I give up, 
Or should I just keep chasing pavements?
Even if it leads nowhere, 
Or would it be a waste?
Even If I knew my place should I leave it there?
Should I give up, 
Or should I just keep chasing pavements?
Even if it leads nowhere

I'd build myself up, 
And fly around in circles, 
Waiting as my heart drops, 
And my back begins to tingle
Finally could this be it

Should I give up, 
Or should I just keep chasing pavements?
Even if it leads nowhere, 
Or would it be a waste?
Even If I knew my place should I leave it there?
Should I give up, 
Or should I just keep chasing pavements?
Even if it leads nowhere

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Faith, Hope and Love

The change in my profile picture signifies that yes, I am ready to share with EVERYONE that we are pregnant again. And this time, amazingly, miraculously, and nervously, with twins. :-) I was going to hold off until the end of the 1st trimester to share the good news. Wait until we had crossed the critical milestone before telling everyone. Just in case I "jinxed" it. But if there's anything our experience last year, with the loss of Ines, taught me is that time is relative. Especially pregnancy time. We were almost 6 months pregnant at the time. A few more months to the finish line. And yet.... So whether I share this happy news now, 1 or 2 months down the line, or wait until "Luke" and "Leia" are in my arms...it doesn't matter. What will be, will be. It will be as God wills it. Having had 2 extremely difficult pregnancies have shown me that there are only a finite things in life that we can control. The rest we leave to God, luck and life. Of the few things we can control, we can manage our capacity for joy and we can control our fears. When I found out I was pregnant (on New Year's Eve would you believe it?), I felt two emotions at once: joy and fear. And as the weeks passed, fear started to override joy. My fear became more pronounced when I found out we were having twins. Having multiples is double the joy, but also double the risk. And with my history of hemorrhaging, my ridiculous "incompetent cervix" (and yes, that is the actual medical term and not just me being pissed with my reproductive system), and all the other wonderful complications that arise when I get pregnant --- having twins was not the best case scenario for me. For us. My sonologist went as far as to voice out: "Who knows, may be we'll get lucky and only one will have a heart beat?" What the hell? Despite the fear the gripped me, I still prayed for them. My 2 little stragglers. And on my 7th week sonogram, we saw 2 heart beats. We were really having twins. Outside of immediate family, we didn't really share the news with anyone. Part of me held off, may be because I still didn't know what was going to happen and just in case the worst did happen --- I didn't want to go through the experience of telling people that I had lost a baby/babies again. And every night, before I sleep, I'd be wracked by the most horrible thoughts. That one day we'd do a sonogram and there would be no more heart beats. Or worse --- that one day I'd wake up and feel those horrible contractions again and still be helpless to save them. And I would pray. Not just for strong, healthy, beautiful, intelligent and normal babies --- but that God would take the fear in my heart and replace it instead with: Faith - faith strong enough to open up my heart and lay all my fears at His feet. Faith in His wisdom. Faith that all things that happen to us are part of His plan. Faith, to not question or try to understand, but to accept. Hope - that He will hear my prayers and bless us with strong, healthy, beautiful, intelligent and normal babies. Love - that I won't be afraid to love these little ones now. Now when they are no more than little grape like objects sitting in my tummy. That I might love them unconditionally even if there's a chance that I won't keep them. That even now, while their neural tubes are just about to close -- they can feel that I love them and want them so badly. I loved Ines the moment they put her in my tummy along with the 3 other embryos. I loved her every moment that she grew in my tummy. I loved her when I first met her. And I sent her off with love when she passed away holding my hand. I am afraid to love these little ones the same way, worried that my heart won't be able to stand being broken that way again. But I realized I can control my fears, and not let it control me. I can choose to live out the next 7 months gripped in fear, torturing myself with random scenarios and what-ifs. Or I can take a deep breath.....and just let it go. And let joy take its place. Joy at the miracles of medical science that have helped us get pregnant (yet again!). Joy at the thought of having not just one but two new babies! Joy that I can, once again, go through the wonderful experience of watching life unfold: The miracle of the 1st heartbeat. The amazing transformation from zygote to embryo to fetus to baby. The first time you feel the baby kick. The day you find out the gender to the day you finally get to meet. There is so much joy to be felt and experienced. Why would I chose fear over it? I still have my moments of fear and doubt. But the more I open myself up to the miracle(s) that's happening inside me, the less fearful I become. So this is why I'm finally openly broadcasting that we're pregnant again: Joy is meant to be shared and miracles should be openly celebrated.

Friday, January 23, 2009

To My Father on His 67th Birthday

Dear Daddy:

You'd think by now I would have run out of tears. But last night, thinking about you and yet another birthday without you, I cried myself to sleep.

You would have been 67 today.

What a great birthday it would have been. 

You have 4 grandkids by now (with 2 more on the way!) --- your dream come true. A large family with tons of kids.

And we're all doing ok.

Yes, I am a full time mom now. I'm not sure if that would make you happy or disappointed. I'm sure my old job at SCB would have made you proud. But then, I know that you would understand the reason why I left. And you would have enjoyed the fact that we're having twins in return for the sacrifice. I'm sure you'd claim all the credit since twins run on your side of the family --- never mind the fact that these kiddos are products of IVF.

You know what would make you proud? Eppie and Jaime. Eppie is doing really well at his job right now. And he keeps getting theses amazing offers for other jobs. We try to caution him not to get too blinded by the big bucks, but we know that you are up there helping to guide him in his decisions.

And Jaime. What a great kid. He got into Ateneo, just like you always wanted for him, and he's at the top of his class. He's turning out to be such a smart little boy. We have all tried to do our share in helping raise him, just like we promised, but in the end all credit goes to Mellina. She has become a great mom. You and mom would be proud.

Lastly, there's Wiway. She has become the Father and the Mother that we no longer have. She is the one who keeps our family together. You would be so proud of how well she has managed the funds, how she always reminds us to spend our money wisely, and how good she has become in bossing us around. She reminds me a lot of you --- and we're lucky that your kind, loving and caring spirit lives on in her.

I guess you'll always be here. In all of us. Your go-getting, hard working personality in Eppie. Your great parenting skills in Mellina. Your kind, beautiful soul in Wiway. And... all you old bad habits with me? :-) 

I still like to think that among all of us, there is so much of you in me. May be that's why I still feel you so close. Why some times I still can't believe that you're gone. And why I still love, and miss, you so much.

I always thought that when you lose someone, the love you feel for them eventually fades away. But after 5 years I still love you as much as I did when you were still here. May be that's how you live forever. Or that's how you live on. In our hearts, in our minds, in the beautiful memories we'll always have. In the children we now care for, hopefully in the same way you cared for us. 

You will always be there.

But it still doesn't make me miss you any less.

Love, Tanya