Tuesday, March 29, 2016

Reflections on My Life this Easter Monday

Life doesn't always turn out the way you plan it.

When you are young you have so many plans and dreams just like I had at 18. And though I didn't think of the concrete steps to make these dreams a reality, I was able to make some of them come true. Right after graduation I landed a nice job in a multinational company in the financial district of Makati and I was given a very attractive compensation package. I had an endowment plan at the age of 20. I had saved enough money for my trip to Europe at the age of 23 and I owned shares of stocks at the age of 25.

At 23, life held so much promise but somewhere along the way, I made some mistakes, one after another. And just like a tower of cards, my life came crumbling down right before my very eyes.

Today, I am far from the person I wanted and envisioned myself to be before graduation.  I'm now just someone who lives life wishing things were different, thinking of things that could have been, wondering if life would have turned out differently had I stuck to my beliefs, had I been wiser, braver, bolder,  humbler, had I been more patient and tolerant with people and their schemes or would I have ended up on the same road somehow because my mistakes just led me right where God really planned for me to be?

Since 2006, I have touched the lives of more than a thousand students.  I like  to believe I have started a spark in their hearts, sparks that will become flames as they grow older. I  like to believe that they are now better persons because of me, that someday they will become doctors, lawyers, entrepreneurs, executives, politicians, and teachers like myself, and they will all be amazing and good  because of what I have planted in their hearts. I like to believe that I am able to do what I came here to do -- to change the world one student at a time.

I have always said that I have made two major mistakes that have more or less dictated the direction of my life--  getting married at a young age of 23 and leaving the job I loved for reasons that only my immature 26-year-old self can understand.

Influencing the lives of my students is something I can live without but what I cannot live without is my son, my opinionated, talented 16-year-old musician, the one I gave birth to at the age of 25.  And everytime I think of all the mistakes I've made, each time I wish I could go back in time and live my past the way I should have, I realize time and again that this mistake of marrying young was something I'd gladly do over and over again because it means having my Tootsieroll in my life.  If I didn't marry at 23, I probably would never have married his dad which meant that though I might have had a son he would not have been my Mr. Toots, and that's a life I don't want to live.

Life is mysterious. Life is full of uncertainties. Life is sad and thinking about all the what-if's and the what-could-have -been's can make you go crazy. Life is complicated and life is never easy.  But despite everything life is still worth living. Life is exciting and life is meaningful because of the people you love -- whether they are with you because of the things you've done wrong or they're with you because of the things you've done right. Life is still beautiful no matter what. Life itself is hope because no matter which road I am on, no matter how many mistakes I have made and will still make in the future, God is with me and always will be.

Sunday, March 20, 2016

Eighteenth Letter to Sofia

Dearest Sofie,

How are you? It's been a while since I last wrote you a letter but don't think for one second that I have forgotten you because that is far from the truth. I think about you every day---Daddy and I think about you every day.

I wonder how life at home would have been like with you here. Life would have been so different by now, with you keeping me, your dad and even Kuya busy.  I would have given anything just to have that life with you. But I had no control over things. GOD wanted you back and no matter how badly we wanted you to stay, no matter how desperate we were to have that life with you, we couldn't do anything.

It's almost a year now since the day you were born. I still wonder what I did wrong. I still wonder if I failed you. I still wonder  if I was a good mom to you.  In any case, I hope you knew and felt how much I loved you, how much your daddy and I loved you.
You are loved and always will be.

Flying hugs and kisses to Heaven,

Sunday, March 6, 2016

Mommy Thoughts

I have just finished helping my son pack for a religious retreat that he and his other batch mates are required to attend from tomorrow until Wednesday (March 7-9, 2016).  This is the first time he's going to be sleeping so far away from home without me or without his dad.  The retreat is going to be held in Baguio, some six hour drive away from Manila and I'm now having separation anxiety.  I wonder how my parents dealt with the same thing when I was studying and had to go on a retreat back when there were no cellphones and being away from home meant no communication til you got back.  I pity them for what they had to go through because now I know the feeling of constantly worrying for your child.

It seems just like yesterday when I had to keep my eye on him all the time, so much so that I even brought him with me to the bathroom whenever I took a bath, or answered the call of nature.
I miss that little boy.  I miss holding his chubby little hands and kissing his chubby cheeks.  I miss those days he stopped in the middle of play just to give me a kiss or a hug.  

Tomorrow, he will have his first taste of freedom.  In just a couple of years, he will be in college, and after that he will be working, he will have his own family, a life of his own.  But he will always be my little boy, my Tootsieroll.

Last Wednesday, the high school clubs had their culminating activity.  I had a big problem because the grade school students were not invited to watch the show and that meant I had to be in class while my son was performing in the show. I expressed my problem to a co-teacher of mine who I hoped would be able to understand because she had small kids of her own.  However, she didn't.  She reasoned that my son was in high school (as if only moms of little kids had the right to be a stage mom) "High School na yun." and that I could just ask someone to record the show for me. She didn't understand that my son being in high school didn't make me love him any less, didn't make me feel less proud of him.  No matter how old my son gets I will always be a stage mom.  No matter how old he gets, I will always give him the moral support that he needs.   Because my love and my presence are the best gifts I can ever give him.   

a pic I took of him in a restaurant while he wasn't looking 

I eventually was able to swap class schedules with other teachers and sat with the other proud parents. But I don't think there was a parent prouder than I.  Aside from playing my favorite Canon in D with the other instrumentalists of the Music Club, my son had a special performance.  He played Justin Bieber's Love Yourself on the violin (just like other pop songs that he plays on the violin, he learned the notes just by listening to the song and playing  the music without reading any notes)  Some  students were shouting his name before he started playing and they sang along as he played.  As usual, he played superbly (allow me to brag) and it was all I could do not to stand from my seat and announce to everyone, "That's my son!"

So maybe if my co-teacher had seen him on stage, she would have understood why I wanted to be there. But as it is, she might not understand until her own kids are all grown.

Mom will always be moms, no matter how many years pass.  Manuel will always be my Tootsieroll, my little boy, my baby.  I thank God for this wonderful and beautiful gift that is my son and I thank Him for all the joys that motherhood brings. 

And now, I sleep hoping that March 9 would come at once so that I can be with my son once again.

May God bless my son and his batch mates with a successful, grace-filled retreat and keep them safe from harm. AMEN.