Forgiveness is gained only by those who atone and remorseful of their sins and shortcomings. It is earned, not demanded.
No amount of forgiveness can reverse the pain inflicted on the aggrieved individual. Pain can be concealed but its effects linger and are hard to forget.
Forgiveness is not the key to rebuild a broken relationship. Anything broken, relationship included, remains broken, it cannot be patched nor retouched.
Mutual respect, trust and dedication are the key factors that could keep a relationship. Even love which has become a common expression could not keep a relationship cause love without respect is useless.
Happy birthday Xy….
Our moderator and mediator and true to be the eldest among my children, Xylem is a big sister, literally and figuratively (hehehe) to her siblings (though sometimes she is more childish) and to me.
We have gone through lots of challenges and funs that make us and continue to become closer. Our relationship is beyond being mom and daughter, we are friends, and we share what is in our minds and in our hearts.
But despite the “cool” relationship we have, there is still that boundary that she should not cross. I remain her mom and regardless of the independence she now enjoys, respect is high in our family values.
At her tender age, Xylem had already showed her assertiveness and being demanding. In school, she joined a poetry contest and told me that I should be there during her turn. Unfortunately, I came late, she was very mad she said she was looking at the crowd and did not see me.
And there was a time I failed to tell her I am going to buy groceries, upon arriving home, she approached me and said she has also her needs I should have asked her first before I did my shopping.
But unlike other first child, she did not grow up as a spoiled brat. Immediately when she could reach the sink, I started teaching her how to wash plates. I let her carry her own bag and fix her things although we have a driver and a nanny who attend and look after her.
She’s more meticulous than me at home, she would spend the whole day sorting things out until she gets the finish that she wanted and she does it on her own. She continue to love to wash plates, probably because that was the first chore I taught her.
Delivering her in this world was a struggle, after laboring for 10 hours, she was too stubborn to leave my tummy the doctors have to induce me and use forceps to pull her out.
But after the enduring pain and several huffs and puffs, I managed to give a big sigh of relief and told myself, we made it, especially when the doctor placed her on my chest.
But relief, it was not, in taking care of her. She’s a very hyper active girl she only stop playing and moving around when she is asleep. There was a time she made everybody in the house nervous, she got lost. We found her on top of the roof; she scaled the window grills until she reached the top. She was four years old.
And it was difficult to feed her, she was very slow to eat she will always test your patience. This, however, did not last long, when she learned to eat on her own; she developed a sweet tooth I have to control her. And it is true until now…..hahaha
Looking back how she came to the this world, I am always reminded that for every decision we make, though sometimes we may lose something in the process, our choices will always make us different.
Her coming into being taught me how to be brave, how to be tough and made me understand that being a mom is a joy that even the toughest challenge would not stop you from becoming one.
Love you Xy…..
A bird keeps flying on my window, chirping! Good morning everyone, the chirping bird brings a message of lovely morning ushering the week with happiness and promise of brighter and lively days ahead. Have a pleasant day everyone, let's soar like the bird, spread our wings and explore the horizon....
Twenty years ago today, I gave birth to a baby boy whom we called Bj. He came out ahead of his schedule, he was not fully developed, his feet were soft, and they looked like empty pouches.
He has also jaundice, his eyes were yellow, his skin was yellow and he does not want to take my milk. He would cry the whole night; I was very worried I do not know what to do.
Luckily, my doctor gave me a very efficient nurse who looked after him. She would spoon-feed him with water, his only sustenance after birth, and look after him while I am recovering from my delivery.
And good riddance, it was summer when I delivered him. The sun served as his incubator for a week. His nurse will come to the house everyday and at early morning, she would undress him, cover his eyes and for an hour, she will sit in the balcony with my baby and sun bathe him.
I would watch them from the door as she patiently turn my baby from time to time, expose him to the sun and make sure he got enough of the sun’s heat.
She did it for a week and slowly, his yellow skin fades, the eyes started to become brighter and one thing good, he started to take my milk. It was a very trying period, had it not for the nurse’s assistance, I do not know what to do and how to handle him.
It was a struggle doing the nurse’s routine when she stopped coming. But my patience paid off, his feet started to develop muscles and the yellow color totally fades away. He mellowed, he does not cry too much and started to take my milk regularly.
As he grew up, he developed an attitude, he would cry until he turns black. I could run down the 13-steps of our stairs whenever he cries , bring him to the garden to get some air.
I was worried, I thought he has a heart problem; we consulted a doctor at the Australian Embassy clinic. I was advised he needs spanking, it was just his way of getting my attention.
The doctor advised me to whisk water on his face whenever he cries. And true enough, every time he starts to cry, I would take him close to the sink and immediately he would stop. A naughty boy indeed.
He grew up to be a sweet boy though. He loves to sing and narrate stories, in Burmese language, as early as two years old. Frog is his favorite subject he could tell anything about the frog to the delight of his favorite nanny, Lily, an efficient Indian girl who I could trust to look after my children whenever I have to attend some functions.
He is also a tough guy. At six years old, he started to play Taekwondo. I never thought he would grow up to be a good kicker, what with his empty feet. I was at first afraid to watch him join the competition, I would hide not to see him play. But he turned out to be a good player and at an early age, he became a champion.
He is a black belter when we left Riyadh in 2004 but was demoted to yellow by his coach in Laguna. However, despite his low rank, he won the gold during the Milo Olympics in 2005 and in several competitions he was fielded.
During his one fight in Oslo, his coach was surprised when he subdued his opponent who was bigger than him. “You kicked like a horse,” he told him after the competition.
At his tender age, just like his siblings, Bj grew up to be responsible and sensible. We were together during my trying times. He was my refuge and my ally, he would defend me from his dad.
We are always together and the longest we were separated was when I went to Denmark for two week. And on the period I have to leave longer to visit Xy and Bar, he told me, “Mama, when you leave, I will study how to play the guitar so I can play your favorite song when you return.”
And he did! He played one of my favorite songs or rather the only song I can play in the guitar without looking at the chord book… Four Strong Winds upon my arrival.
I felt great I was the reason why he studied to play the guitar. I have been cajoling him to study like his sisters but to no avail. From then on, we find time to sing together....
I also always have a hug whenever he comes home from school. And if at times he won't see or hear from me when he comes, he would immediately go to my room and if I am not home, he will call and send me an SMS.
He remains sweet until now. When I got sick, after I was discharged from the hospital, he drove me around Stockholm and took me to the lake where he and his friends frequent. He wants me to get a breath of fresh air.
And one time while we were strolling inside a mall in Doha, I told him to buy me a signature bag when he gets employed and starts earning which he replied “I’ll rather buy you your retirement home than those bags!”
He is stubborn at times, if not always. He only does what he wants, but he is caring. He does not allow me to do tedious household chores; he would do them for me. When I hurt my leg after an altercation with his dad, he nursed and massaged my leg until I get better.
Though he grew up in the most unusual Filipino family set up and environment, Bj still keep the values of being respectful and responsible. He has learned how to handle his emotions, track his own life and live the life he wanted.
We may not be together this time but I still look forward to spending more precious moments with him; singing together, driving me around to places and fun of tickling and making fun of each other.
Happy birthday Pogs! Mama misses you…miss the hugs and your company.
Be focused! I wish you good health and that you realize all you dreams.
Love you always!
The color of life brightens and pales just as the sun rises in the morning and sets in the evening! And like the tide, we have our highs and lows. But life goes on and never stops until the last straw.....A pleasant day to all!
Windy....if only the wind can whisper to our ears the possibilities and probabilities the day brings!
Have a pleasant day everyone!
The soft wind, the thin line of light and the singing birds usher the new day which for the Chinese, the beginning of a new year. Good Monday morning everyone; hopes shine as bright as the light in the horizon. Let's dream big that we may accomplish big and take everyday as an opportunity to accomplish our dream. A blessed week to all!
The rain subsides, the sun peeping on the horizon, the birds chirping, the rooster cocking....The surrounding is alive with the sounds and sights of life...Let's rise and enjoy the blessing called LIFE....Have a pleasant day everyone!
What an auspicious Monday….it ushers us to another week and another year….a new beginning, a fresh start….Good morning everyone! May the spirit of hope and possibilities that Monday always brings continue to the coming year…Have a pleasant day and wish you all a blessed year! Manigong Bagong Taon! Happy New Year! Godt Nytt År! Xάππυ Νεω Υεαρ! Buon Anno! Feliz año nuevo!
We might miss out on one thing, spend too much on anything, forget something…. and feel bad they happen. Don't be for everything happens for reason. Life is full of ups and downs, of twirls and swirls, of bounds and out bounds.
We may not know why for now but the important thing is we move on and continue living.
Sometimes we are occupied with what we’ve lost and forget what we still have;
That we worry about things we have not done instead of moving ahead and make new plans.
We are jealous of others successes and not gracious of our personal feats;
And we’re engrossed with our own whims that we become insensitive to others needs.
Living is only worthwhile when we can feel and sense others. May we breathe life to others and be the living symbol to everyone.
Talking about religiosity, Qataris are very much different from the Saudis. In Riyadh where we lived for six years, it has been the general practice that during prayer time, (salah) all shops are closed and workers stop from working. We have experienced several times that even if we are not yet done eating, in some restaurants; we have to go out while in others, lights are shut down and we are locked inside.
During my short stay in Doha, I have noticed that even during prayer time, shops are open and you can see children playing on the field. Everybody go about their task even on prayer time.
Could it be because Saudi Arabia is the center of Islam, the seat of Kaaba? Or is it in their culture?
In Qatar, women are allowed to drive, a no no in Saudi Arabia. Women are not also wearing the black gown (abaya) and the veil (tarha) unlike in Saudi Arabia where even the non-Muslims are required to wear.
I have several experiences with the mutawah, religious police, who accosted me for not wearing a veil. One time, I was in a bookstore buying school supplies for my children. A bearded guy wearing the traditional white dress called thob, stand by my side and talked to me in a very low voice....Do you know that women here are required to cover their hair? ( I always wear my hair long and I find it uncomfortable to cover my hair, first it is hot and second, the veil always fall down)...Explaining I was new in the Kingdom and was not aware of the regulation, I promised him that I will always cover my hair… a promise that was broken many times.
Once scary encounter I had with the mutawah was when I was inside a mall walking with my uncovered hair. A mutawah and a police tried to stop me while uttering words in Arabic. I was aware why they were accosting me; I was not wearing a veil. I hurriedly went inside a shop that sells veils and pretended I am buying one. Good enough, they could not follow me inside the shop because it was a woman shop. That saved me. In Saudi, a mutawah, accompanied by a police, can effect arrest.
That was also a big difference here in Doha. In malls and supermarket, mingling with opposite sex is not prohibited. Aside for some few who are wearing abaya and tarha and from the Arabic language, you would not think you are in a Muslim country. It is a far cry from Riyadh where women are limited to talk (socially) only to their husband or fellow women when in public place.
Anyway, it is an interesting experience to learn different culture, meet different people and see different places. It enriches our knowledge and widens our perspective in life. We see how blessed and progressive we are in more ways than the others.
Independence came early to Xylem and Barbie. Only in their teens, (Xylem, 18 and Barbie, 17,) they were left to tend on their own in Manila in 2007 while attending their university studies. They did their own marketing, managed the household and budget their allowances.
They were left with a stiff “instruction” that any deviance from their studies would mean a stop on financial support. Their privilege to grow as normal individuals was not, however, curtailed. They partied, went to places with their friends, have their boyfriends. They have more fun which I believed other children of strict parents failed to enjoy than they did.
I was also a strict mom though, not just strict but a fierce mom. During their younger years, my fangs and claws were always ready to parry any predator that would prey on them. And like mother hen, I always keep them under my wings to protect and shield them from any harm and danger.
But being protective has limits. As they grow up, I gradually distanced myself from providing “physical” protection. I started helping them acquire skills and values and motivated them to become responsible and independent individuals.
They became aware that they are solely responsible for their own future. Nobody, not even we, their parents, can secure their good future. And I always remind them that while others professed that they love them, no one and nobody will love them truly except themselves.
I know I can trust them and true enough, Xylem and Barbie managed their own lives, they knew their priorities and worked on them. They finished their studies without much glitch.
But that was just one phase of their life. They lived comfortably in a flat which we own and with financial support from their dad. They did not have to worry where to get money to pay the utility bills, to buy food and even for their shopping spree and gimmicks.
This time, Xy and Bar started their journey towards total independence. They pay their bills, buy their food, and attend to their needs. They are now on their own, away, in a foreign land, with no relatives around.
It was a mixed feeling leaving them this time. The fact that Sweden is a safer place compared to the Philippines did not ease my worries. When before, my major worry was they might go wayward and fail to finish their studies, this time it’s a confluence of many fears and apprehensions.
Can they manage financially, what if their earning is just enough to cover their basic needs; do they have to work harder to survive? What if they get sick, who will look after them?
I don’t know, maybe my worries are unfounded but then again, having gone through some difficulties myself when I started living on my own, I can’t help myself from feeling this way.
But anyway, I believe Xy and Bar are very much capable of living in their own now. They have proven it before, I am confident. they will make much better, this time.
As I come closer to my golden year, I can’t help but realized that over the years, while some trials I’ve been through have drained me emotionally, physically and mentally, I have more to be thankful than to be sorry about.
I may not be the luckiest wife but I am blessed to be the most fortunate mom to my three children.
I may have fall short of my duty as a wife when I failed to endure and sustain the sacrifices it entails but I can modestly say I managed to fulfill my duty as a good mom.
And even if I fail to realize the ideal family that I have envisioned since I was a child, I am grateful for the opportunity that allowed me to make it possible for my children.
Living is choosing. Our life is what we have chosen. While it is true that somehow, from birth, our paths have already been laden, going through our path is a choice we have to make.
It is still not clear where my path would lead me but as I trace my way back, I have realized that though most of my tracks were bumpy and at few times almost at the dead end, I have trodden my path successfully.
I have left enough marks along my way which I hope that when the road comes to an end, the history written along the path I have trodden lives on.
It scares me to think or know where my path would lead me. I rather not know where it is leading me.
All I want now is to continue walking, walk more miles and explore more avenues…walk to where my neuropathic leg would allow me….where the walkways would lead me and where the wind will take me.....
The heart's desire is stronger than the mind could think. May balance and perspective rule in all our udertaking!
We all go through some transition periods in our life and it is during these times that our resolved and strength are tested,
That we wish that life changes are as easier as discarding old clothes and acquiring new ones, repainting house with new color, rearranging furniture and changing house theme decors and having a new hair style.
That it is as simply as correcting a typographical error, altering a font and changing the letter form from indented to block form....
Change is trying being tough is not enough....
Losing the one we love is hard and moving on is harder. But life should go on however difficult it is...we should look at the brighter side of life and believe that something, someone better willl come our way...
As the month ends, my countdown comes closer to its ending too; two winks and I will be flying back to the land where the sun rises in the morning and sets in the evening.
Where the weather reflects the people's character; fierce at some times, but generally warm and friendly most of the time.
To the land where people’s regard for timeliness is too little and highly regarded that everything that happens to them are the workings of the Unseen Hands.
To the land where "Who you know" matters more than "What you know."
Like in basketball game where every second counts towards the last quarter to catch a win, mine is on the edge too. I have just a week left to wrap everything, literally and figuratively.
My stance is, however, not clear, whether I am winning or losing. I remain positive though that this will be for the best and for everybody's goodness.
Soon I'll be off to the land where the sun signifies the time of the day, where seeds thrown anywhere thrive and where people wears a smile even during deadly calamities.
The place where religious people meddle with state affairs and forgot that their duty is to promote moral and spiritual consciousness and where institution does not gather roots as it changes everytime the leadership is new.
An ironic place which, despite its rich natural resources and ingenious people, continues to lag behind its neighbors.
Happy Father's Day to all dads, relatively and figuratively.
To children, father is their superhero, their knight-in-shining armor and their role-model. I wish all the fathers to live their life the way as children envisioned them…selfless, caring and dignified.
Cheers to all fathers, rejoice for having the privilege of being a dad. Some may become short of being a good husband but be proud enough to be a better father.
There comes a time in our life when our heart rules over our head and we can’t help it. We become blind, deaf, and mute, we always find good reason even to the meanest action the person we have learned to like (but not necessarily love) does.
We also could not recognize truth from pretensions, like from admiration and lust from love. Even the strongest-willed and the cleverest person bowed when the heart rules.
Such an ironic life, the heart that feels is also the same heart that sometimes makes us dumb…
Memories are like water, they reverberate when a stone is thrown at them.
We are all players in our lifetime; the world is our playing field. The people around us are our co-players. Each of us has a role to play; the strength how we dispense our role depends on our own ability and choices though: we can be strong, we can be laggard, we can be aggressive, we can be timid.
There may be players who are arrogant and shrewd but being intimidated by them is a choice we have to make. Our success and failure depend mainly on our own conviction…we are our own master, we direct our own life.
Our co-players forces, positive or negative, should not, in any way possible, pull us down but help us perform our role better.
We do not exist by chance, we were borne for a reason.
We define our essence of existence through our actions and reactions.
May we be as smart as an owl, as gentle as a lamb and as innocent as a dove.
I lost count of how old she would be has she's been alive today but the memories of her remain vivid in my mind. Lola, as we fondly called her, is a domineering woman yet she folds up when lolo exercises his masculinity. She is a loving and generous lola, an exact opposite of lolo whom she calls kuripot or stingy. I remember in some visits I did to their place, lola would keep some food and give it to me secretly with a strict reminder not to show them to lolo or heaven and hell will break lose. Lolo has his favorite’s grandchildren and I happen to be not one of them.
Lola is also a religious woman. She has memorized the complete mystery and could pray the rosary without any guide. I remember going with her in some padasal where she was the lead prayer. Their house is located beside the barrio chapel and hearing the Sunday mass has been part of her weekly routine. She is also a hilot; she has helped several mothers in delivering their babies. She has an herbal garden in their backyard.
A giddy lola when it comes to dresses, she only trusted Mama, my mom, to sew her dresses. She only has few pieces of bestida which she wore in going to church and some formal gatherings. I remember her telling me that she did not trust other modista, they are not as pulido as mama in sewing clothes.
My fondest memory of lola, however, was when I took her for a walk at Luneta and at the grounds of the Cultural Center of the Philippines. One summer time, Mama took lolo and lola to my place in Makati where I used to live. It was a weekend and I was off from work. Lolo, who was then complaining of getting tired easily, opted to stay at home.
While at the park, I let lola explored on her own. However, instead of roaming around, I saw her looking intently on a couple kissing in a corner. "Ganyan ka rin ba?" she asked me which I answered by wiggling my head. She found kissing in public as absurd.
From Luneta, we proceeded to the CCP grounds. We walked at the bay side and pointed and explained to her all the buildings that were built there. As we walked towards the CCP building, lola opened her umbrella (she always brings umbrella with her to cover herself from sudden downpour or heat of the sun) saying it was raining.
I couldn't stop myself from laughing because the rain she was saying was the massive fountain in front of the CPP building that was opened just as we passed it. Funny, but no, it was the first time, I believed, lola saw a fountain.
It was only a weekend stay, lolo and lola has to go back to Mindoro because mama has also her job. Before leaving, I bought lolo a pair of slippers which turned out to be my yearly gift to him and to lola a new duster.
That was the closest moment I managed to spend with lola. Few years passed and I saw her again a year after I got married when we spent our Christmas holiday in Mindoro with mama. It was our last year of stay in the Philippines before we moved to Burma.
After five years since the last time I saw her, I managed to see lola again when I went home for an emergency operation. The vibrant lola that I used to know has become a placid grandma; she could no longer walk and could barely recognized people. Tia Nene, her youngest child who is looking after her, has to carry her out to catch some sun. Old age and a falling incident that broke her pelvic bones robbed her of her vitality.
I never see lola again after that last visit. She died a year after. I did not have the opportunity to go to her burial but I am sure she won't miss me because the dress she wore when she was buried was my gift. Mama bought it in my behalf.
Happy birthday lola. I know you are happier now with lolo beside you.
A mother, an aunt, a sister and a friend, they embody