The Little Things You Do

IMG_0003

. “Enjoy little things in life for one day you ‘ll look back and realize they were the big things…”

Today husband and I celebrate our 18th year together as a married couple.  This post however, is not an outline of what makes our marriage successful; rather, it is an enumeration of the little things that my dear husband does that make me love him more everyday.

  1.  He is very prayerful and has deep faith in God. He prays when he wakes up, and prays before he sleeps.  Before we go out of the house, we pray together for protection. Before the kids go to school, he reminds them to say a prayer.  Before he or I travel, we would pray. We pray before meals.  We go to Church when he is home; he goes to Church when he isn’t home…When problems threaten to overwhelm us, he’d remind me to pray and trust in God’s providence.  I remember one time when the kids were in vacation in Manila and had to go back home soon for school was just a few days away and we didn’t have enough money  for their airfare.  My in-laws aren’t the thoughtful kind [at least, according to my standard]; it pains me to say that there were so many instances we sought their help and they often turned us down. And to think that the kids were there to visit them [sigh].  Anyways, I was already panicking. Then one night, at about 10 PM, he called me.  The first thing he said was that God is really good to us.  It turned out he won Php 60,000.00 in a three-digit lottery that night.  A colleague has shared with him these numbers and in desperation, he bet on them.  So we were able to book the kids plane tickets, buy our eldest a mobile for her birthday, and send money to my in-laws to pay for the electricity bill incurred because of their grandchildren’s use of the AC [another sigh].  When the sex was really good, he’d say “thank you Lord for this”, just after he tells me he loves me.  I have no idea if other men do this but I’m just saying my husband DOES!
  2. He always helps me around the house. Yes, he can be really bossy.  But he seems to enjoy cooking, doing the laundry, cleaning the appliances or cutting grass, not to mention bathing the dogs.  He always senses when I’m exhausted so he’d tell me to just rest and he would do all the housework.  This after he has traveled uncomfortably almost six hours in the middle of the night to get home.  I say uncomfortably because his free bus ride is on those slow, non-air conditioned, unlimited-stop trips. But then again, just about everything in this country is lousy and sucks like hell for poor people.
  3. He is considerate in the most unexpected ways.  When we go to sleep, and he is uncomfortable with his position and wants to turn his back on me, he would tell me, asking permission if he could do so.
  4. He is a dedicated cop. He would go on street duty for 12 hours straight, on a night shift, standing up most of the time.  He studies laws on traffic, drugs, crimes and criminal procedure and follows them studiously.  I remember someone bringing him to court and falsely accusing him because he was upholding an ordinance.  An ordinance! For him, all laws, big or small, have to be defended. Then there were times he would call me to ask for right terms to put on the complaints he is filing.  He passed all police-related examinations and was one of the top ten passers of a national police commission examination.
  5. He is a loving father and husband.  As a dad, he is sweet and solicitous with his daughters.  He would patiently take care of them when they get sick;  rub ointments on their backs when they have cough, spend time trading jokes and stories with them.  And he commands obedience from them with little effort, something I have never succeeded in.  He is affectionate but firm. He calls every night just to check if the kids are home from school or if we have eaten dinner. He never fails to call several times a day to make sure we are alright, to say goodnight, and of course, to assure me he loves me.

Yes, these things may seem little.  But now I’m recalling them, I realize they are the big things that make a woman most appreciative of her man <3.

I’m Finally Grieving

MY cousin one day posted on Facebook an old family photo of my dad’s family, circa 1960’s [years before I was born, though].  It shows my grandma and grandpa, all their grown up sons and daughters, and in-laws.  My dad, the eldest of the brood, looks really young and dashing, and my mom, very pretty and fashionable in her classic dress.  All of a sudden, I was hit by a great pang of longing and the floodgates open:I burst into tears, literally crying buckets and  I couldn’t seem to stop.  My mind conjures hundred of memories of them, reeling like old movies–my dad taking pictures of us kids, my mother watering her rows of red and white anthuriums; my dad playing, and singling along to, his favorite Sinatra songs, my mom cooking dinner after dashing home from work; my dad fixing some broken appliance, his perpetually broken eyeglasses perched on his nose, and my mom sewing me a dress for a piano recital.   There were many more sad and happy moments I recalled within those long minutes I was slumped on that chair sobbing my heart out.  And interspersed with these bittersweet recollections is the regret of taking for granted their presence and the many times I wasted being angry, resentful and rebellious, to them. But there is also the feeling of relief that finally, I could grieve their passing instead of ignoring and bottling up my sorrow all these long, lonely months… :((

60

[My dad, in a dark suit, seated beside grandma, and my mom, in a printed dress, standing behind him]

Wishes for Daughter, On her 16th Birthday

Image

May you always find joy in little things,
Wonder in simple joys, 
Humor in absurdities. 

I pray you remain faithful in adversity, 
Gracious in defeat, 
Proud of your victories. 

I wish to always hear your laughter, 
See your serene smiles, 
Feel your sweet kisses upon my busy brows. 

I hold you dearest, to my bosom, 
To protect you from harm, 
And, in times I couldn't, 
I will still hold you near 
To assure you I'm always here.

Journal Entry of the Day: This Houseful of Daughters

It’s been more than thirteen years since I last gave birth [to my youngest daughter] and unblinkingly took on a habit of a lifetime: motherhood.  Of course, having three daughters one after the other wasn’t a walk in the park but I did take raising them in stride.

I am not a tiger mom [despite being Asian :D), though I do get results done, emotional blackmail as the last [and most powerful] resort when all else fail. It’s my birthday in a few weeks and, along with the realization that I’m hitting my middle forties [whatever that means], is that my girls aren’t babies anymore; well, yes I’ve known this for some time now.  However, adjusting to the fact is a different thing  for me.

So this morning I found myself picking up socks dumped on shoes, airing mattresses, and ironing school uniforms, but with my husband’s disapproving voice echoing in my mind.  Damp towels I hang to dry, strewn textbooks I sort by subject; lunch I had to cook, and the laundry I had to wash.  This is not to say I don’t get help. On the contrary, I’ve been accused of being a perfectionist, a slave driver, a broken record, and various other unpleasant metaphors.  On other occasions I get dagger looks, pouts, and cold-shoulders. All these I take poker-faced, hiding my laughter else I not be taken seriously.cartoon-baby-girl

Suffice it to say that I love being a mother, so much so that I had forgotten how it was not being one.   So now, I have reached some kind of crossroad. My husband insists on letting the girls do the bulk of the house chores as this is an important training for them; that I should refrain from pampering them so much.  He is right of course.  But it is a hard habit to break. And I have to admit that my resistance stems from sentimental reasons.  Although my life revolves around them, theirs don’t revolve around me anymore.  I am painfully aware that someday soon, I won’t need to be doing these things for them anymore, that the sense of independence my husband and I have instilled in them will encourage them to prove their capabilities. This is why I’m holding on to these habits , for tomorrow they will become just memories–like their first cries, first tooth, first time walking, first word, first day of school, or the first time they confided about their crushes or cried over one.

So I guess, I will have to live in this moment and make the most of it.

In Memory of My Beloved Lucy

She lived unknown, and few could know
When Lucy ceased to be;
But she is in her grave, and oh,
The difference to me!
starMore than a week ago, my mom left us.  Death, like the proverbial thief in the night, took her away in her sleep.  Of course I was expecting this. She was, after all, 78 years old and for the past year or so, had been confined to her bed, painstakingly and patiently cared for by my youngest brother, Carlo. That day however, was our wedding anniversary; husband and I were planning to buy cake and ice cream to celebrate with her.  So waking up to learn she’s gone, and not having been able to bid her farewell was short of earth-shattering. 
So, here I am, left with nothing but memories of her. I gather each in my mind, those childhood ones most prominent and haunting.  I guess when one thinks of mothers, the immediate association is one of childhood: times when I was scared and her presence would comfort me, or when she would lull me to sleep with soft, rhythmic pats on my bottom. To any child, a mother is a source of emotional security and mine wasn’t an exception. I traverse those years of my life, the good and bad stuff I went through, with her presence figuring prominently in them, as if I never left her side to build a family of my own, because always, in everything that I did, she was like a shadow guiding me and then anchoring me when i stumble or cushioning me when I fall. I feel disoriented because her passing is slowly but insistently sinking in, compelling me to face the reality that from now on, I will have to make it on my own, with only the impressions of her voice encouraging me on.