My favourite

Growing up I always had a thing about favourites. I wanted to be the favourite daughter, the favourite student, the favourite friend, every favourite you can name of, I want to know that I am a favourite to a person. I want to make sure that there is a teacher who likes me the best. I’ve asked my parents whom between them loves me more (never got an answer from it so I just assumed). I made sure that my chosen best friend in grade school’s favourite friend is also me. And I get really upset if I am not.

And the thing is, I try really hard and put effort so I can be someone’s favourite. But I learned that favouring someone over others is sometimes unexplainable. I can compare it almost to a gut feel. There is just a connection that is deeper than the relationship, and goes beyond what is obvious. There is no logic to it. It’s like falling in love.

I’ve never really had a favourite person. I loved my parents. I semi liked my sister. I had a best friend by label. I have people I look up to but never a favourite until I realized it was my younger cousin Janina. We started off as family but we chose to remain as one. We share so much more than blood. There is an unbreakable bond. Our lives are so connected that the stories we share although some are already blurry or fading away, will always have a special place in my heart. And when I moved continents I thought the relationship will naturally fade but it never did. We kept it as if we were still together. If anything it only became stronger.

She’s my person when I need to vent out because she will understand and she would never judge. She’s my person when I need to tell a weird story or a memory or something that I just need a connection with. She gives me comfort even just through words. She never lets me down when I need her. She’ll always offer a laugh and a positive note that whenever we finish our chat, I always feel lighter and happier.

Janina, I wish I could have been there for you now to comfort you, to hug you, to talk whatever, to laugh at all the silly nonsensical things we laugh at. I wish there was not a pandemic sweeping through the nation so we could have celebrated you, and your next stage of your life. But alas here we are both and the whole world in isolation. There is a reason. And we will realize it in the future but for now, God said to wait.

Janina, our middle names are the same which accounts for something. My mom said Tito Cery asked her if he can use the same one for you. And I’m so happy he did choose that same name. Because from then to now, we have more than blood that connects us. We even share a name that God has blessed us both with. And guess what “Ana” means? FAVOR! And this is one of the reasons why you will always be my favourite. As Korean dramas go, “we are fated”.

Happy birthday, Janina Ana!

Always here for you,

Ericka Ana

Three things I am grateful for

The past two weeks that we’ve all been staying home due to the pandemic has been quite… interesting. We have a full house with myself, Elon and Edward.

I can’t tell you that I’m loving every second of it. There are times that by the end of the day, I would feel defeated, guilty and tired of the whole situation. But I know that this is our reality for the next more days, or weeks even. 

So instead of sulking, we are shifting our focus on the positive side of things. Each night before we sleep, Elon and I list 3 things we are grateful for before pray time. Here I am sharing with you some of the things Elon lists down:

I am happy because we played shark together.

I am happy because I hug Mama.

I am grateful because I play I spy.

I am happy because I ate by myself with no help. 

I am grateful for mama’s soup. That is the best soup ever! It’s my favourite rice and soup ever!

I am grateful for the chicken Mama cooked for me. 

I am happy because I love Mama. 

I am happy because I watched so much animals today.

I am grateful I made puzzle with Dada. 

Everyday he would list more than 3 things. And even he would call himself out on it and say that he has so much, more than 3 that he is grateful for!

That only reminds me that although times are tough once we focus on the positive and simple things about our current situation, there are so much to be grateful for.

I am grateful that I get to spend time with Elon in every second of his life for the past two weeks. I never miss a waking moment and I get to put him to sleep each night with no rush or anything. I am grateful that I get to have him by my side literally 24/7! I am grateful that we have resources and we are able to stay at home during this pandemic. I am grateful we get to spend family time in the evenings and we get to sit down more  for meals as a family. I am grateful that I get to do a job that I love while at home. I am grateful for Elon. I am grateful for the gift of time. I am grateful for the gift of family. And most of all I am grateful for Jesus for sustaining us through this time.

What are you grateful for today?

 

 

 

 

Ding dong

Ding dong says the bell as I cross the street to drop you off in school. It is the first real sign of the day that I am to part with you. Shakespeare said parting is such sweet sorrow but it’s mostly sorrow for me. Maybe because you’re just 4 and very sweet. My boy, I wonder how you get on with school. You still sometimes cry when I drop you off especially if we’re coming off from the long weekend and we had a lot of bonding times together. You say you don’t like school and I hope you just say that to be sweet to me.

Ding dong, another sound of the bell but this one signals something good. It means we are going home. It means another 2 or 3 hours that I can be with you, see you, listen to you, and love you. Majority of it are menial tasks to get on with our day and prepare for the next day ahead.

But there are the in- betweens that I love like when I cook while you play. You asking Google to play some rock and roll music that you head-bang to. Asking Google 10 more minutes before brushing your teeth. I love how you would ask me to do things together that you know I enjoy like puzzles and your activity books. I am amazed by the small stories you have with your dinosaurs, your wild and sea animals. And even when you don’t understand the game you sit down with us to watch Team Raptors. And my favourite is when I read to you at night and you intently listen like you have to grasp all the words before they’re gone. But the best of all are your random I love you’s and Mama kiss and hug me. There is not enough time in the day for me to feel all these.

Tomorrow, the ding dong will sound again. Although those couple of hours without you makes my heart feel sad, I look forward to knowing that there is another ding dong at the end of the day that will signal us being together again.

This is 6th!

Happy anniversary, babe! (2013 photo for inspiration)

I can’t believe we’re on the 6th year now (it feels so much longer hahaha). I also can’t believe we almost forgot about this day. You know, although my only gift for you is a small tub of vaseline, always remember that it’s the little things that’s keeping this relationship. Even when I complain a lot and sounds ungrateful, know that only 50% of them are from the heart, the other half are from my hormones. We’ve gone this far so I am sure we can push this more. I plan to spend more solo time with you once all our kids are gone for college (so if we have our second one now, this plan will be happening in 18 years).

I could not imagine myself choosing another human being to have lived this last 6 years of my life with, with 4 years of that being with Elon. If it were another person, I am sure they would have given up by year one or two of our marriage. I am a hard person to live with having a type A personality, but thankfully you’ve adjusted to it by now. My only complain is if you can just wash the dishes right away and stop with the excuse that there’s no space to put them away (you can always make some more!)

Thanks for pushing me to look at the quality over price because in the long run, I would be really saving money. You’ve made me realize so many things but I would not admit it now because I am sure this will be a point against me during arguments. I wish you would buy me more flowers because even if I can’t eat them, I am still a girl who likes pretty things (it also makes me happier esp when it’s wintertime and everywhere is black and gloomy).

And because it’s our anniversary I am choosing to overlook my complaints and focus on the nice things you do for me and Elon. So thank you:

– for taking nice photos of me and Elon (after complaining)

– for watching movies with me (even though you ask questions like I’ve watched the movie already)

– for showering/bathing Elon (recent but it’s been more consistent)

– for trying to be present (Raptors always gets in the way)

– for washing the dishes (in your own time)

– for engaging Elon in meaningful adult conversations (sometimes too much)

– for always saying sorry because I would not

– for not throwing things at me when you’re really mad (the walls can take it)

– for volunteering to pick up Elon one day a week so I can yoga

– for letting me realize my mistakes in my own time (even after you told me hundred times already)

– for going to church with me every Sunday (although you say that this doesn’t really make me a better person because I’m still a bitch after)

There, I made it to more than 10 right? Here I thought I can only list 3. See, you surprise me every time! And this is the reason we’ll have more years ahead – years that will be sometimes hard, mostly good, but always together.

Elon is 4!

Dearest Elon,

 

From the moment of your conception, you were a surprise. You surprised me when you walked at 10 months (slight brag). You surprised me when everyone from the toddler room knew colours and you didn’t and suddenly after weeks of prodding you seem to get it (like finally).  You surprised me by just talking full sentences one day after I thought you had speech delay (until now you wouldn’t shut up, oops, I mean keep quiet). You surprised me with how easy going you are with most things, not seemingly afraid to try roller coasters, tobogganing, hiking, ATV-ing, snorkelling, canoeing, swimming and everything your dad and I do. You just always kept up with us, adjusting to the adults in the family instead of us adjusting to you.

But the best part is you simply were UNBOTHERED by the timeline of the world which is the exact opposite of me. You see I would like to think myself as an achiever, benchmarking the normal of the world and making sure I am ahead of it. It doesn’t mean I enjoy it or understand the purpose of it because the only focus is to be ahead but nothing else. But you, you don’t care ’cause you literally do you. Keep at it, baby. Be unbothered. Life is too short to compare yourself with the world.

You were also not the easiest baby, Elon. The first year was a blur (probably I was tired). I just wanted to get over some days. But there was one day that we clicked. I remember you were seated in your high chair as I was getting us ready to eat together and you got whatever it was I was trying to tell you. To me, that was the first real communication we had. I knew you would get me from then on. And you did, you and I, we were just connected deeper than words, my love. You would know when I am sad, mad, or stressed, or happy. You would always ask me if I am happy or if I am mad at you and the negative thought seemingly disappears whenever you do.

You never really had terrible twos or obnoxious threes, you were just you and had moments like every adult I know. You never had problems with sharing and you were always happy and kind – the two things I pray to God you grow up to be.

Elon, you are not the first to learn colours in class, or count to 100 (he currently still messes up until 20), or know to identify the letters OR numbers. Heck, you probably wont even know how to read until everyone else does but the things you are good at are the more unconventional things in life (we enjoy you more because of it). And you taught me how to be okay with that. You are always open to new things, and brave enough to try and try until you are satisfied with what you’ve accomplished.

You are only 4 today and I could not be prouder of someone who still has a lot to learn and become (that is not me). You certainly do not define me but you are one of the bigger parts of my definition.

This photo is how I feel everyday whenever I catch you waking up – an unexpected gift from God jumping right out at me. You fill me in with so much love. You can be anything you want to be, baby.

Happy Birthday, Elon. I love you.

Mama

When I think of my mom

When I think of my mom,  I think of warm happy feelings (most of the time). We are alike in a lot of ways, I just modified some areas for improvement (also to be millennial). In high school, she’d let me skipped school so we can finish watching Lord of the Rings. Every Friday, we would rent DVDs and she let me pick the titles that interest me. She loved violent movies and that is the reason my favourite film is Kill Bill. We watched volumes 1&2 together. I swear, most of the things that I like and believe are because of her influence. Those were fond memories. And when she knows I’m interested in something, she will make sure I get a chance to hone it even when it is financially hard. She invests in me because she loves me.

When I think of my mom, it’s not all happy thoughts. There were some darker days that I remember that were not the best memories. There were looming fears. Fears of losing her too soon because she’s always been transparent about her health, saying that she has this and that and that is not good. She would sometimes talk about death ever so casually. Part of me thinks it’s her coping mechanism but also maybe this is how she really feels about the whole idea.

When I think of my mom, I think of transparency about her feelings. She never hid anything from me — we don’t have money for a certain thing that I want (but ultimately bending the universe so I can still get what I want like a new laptop or a phone), she’s disappointed of my exam scores, she’s happy with my exam scores, I am good at singing, I suck at singing, she’s mad at my dad, she loves my dad, she thinks I’m getting fat, she thinks I am too skinny, she thinks I need to see a dermatologist, she thinks my skin is getting better, she’s frustrated at me, she’s proud of me. I know her every feeling because she’s not scared to share them with me. She is human.

When I think of my mom, I failed to see her as a human being (but I got past that). We are so easy to think of our parents as just parents and failing to see that before they dedicated their lives for our well- being, they too, had lives of their own. Lives that may have been more important than ours. They were probably more popular than us during their time. They were probably the smartest, the prettiest, whatever it is that they were. Heck, they are probably us when they were younger. But through time and becoming a mother myself, I’ve learned to see past that with both my mom and dad. My mom and dad are human beings just like me and not this powerful entities who can/and should solve all my worries away. We need to take care of them more and show our appreciation (I am working on that).

When I think of my mom, I think of being the best version of myself. She wants me to be the actual best version of myself whether that means good grades, steady job instead of a career, not putting your laptop on top of your stomach without a protector, not putting your phone under your pillow when you’re sleeping, drinking lemon in the morning, putting a hood on when it’s cold outside, checking in to see if you’re pooping everyday, checking in to see if your period is regular, constant reminder of eating well, constant reminder of maintaining a healthy weight and exercising, everyday texts of checking in to see if Elon made it to daycare. Ultimately, she pushes me for things which she thinks is best (in a way she defines the word). My mom deserves the best. And my best version of myself is my best gift for her. I am her legacy.

My mom. She is simple. She is funny. She has a lot of worries. Worries that stem from loving us a whole lot. When you are a mom, you let a part of yourself away without knowing where that part is going. You love your kids hard even when you’re frustrated, even when they don’t listen, even when they forget to show appreciation. As my mom said, it is hard having children because you get so vulnerable that you fear things you haven’t given a second thought before. You fear being gone because you think what would happen to your child without you, who would take care of them like you would, but it’s harder not to have experience this selfless love, loving someone and putting them above yourself first. Constantly worrying about them. Always loving them no matter what. You love anyway and you give part of yourself away because in the end, it is worth it.

Mommy, you’ve lived a selfless life. Now that you are starting your senior years, my prayer for you is that you get to actually NOT worry about a single thing because the Lord got your back. Be worry-free, we got you (daddy got you). You did great. We are okay and we will be okay so please truly enjoy your life for you, the way you want to live it. I am very lucky that you are my mother. I love you.

Bestfriend.

I had a best friend once when I was in grade school. It was just the concept of the word and being called that but nothing that we were was such of the word. It was only a label. I believed in the concept but never experienced having a best friend until I hit college.

I was in this all girls dormitory, not knowing what to expect, just taking each day as it comes. I met different people from different parts of the country and I became friends/acquaintances with many. I thought that as friends, we would just normally drift apart when we’ve taken the next phases of our lives. I didn’t think much of it. I go with the flow and plan as I move along. But there you were almost seemingly present in the different phases of my life.

From when we started enjoying our ‘night lives’, to watching our favourite shows overnight with classes the next morning, to experiencing university’s ups and downs of acad life, to pouring out our deepest darkest secrets (I really think this is where we bonded), to sleeping over together in a very uncomfortable single bed, to really enjoying our different sets of friends separately but still finding time to connect with each other, to us being worlds apart, to me getting married, you taking law, to me having Elon. I thought this is where I was going to lose you.

But here you are still ever present in my life in a lot of ways. Little things that I appreciate. You never fail to reach out, and even when I reply days after, it doesn’t matter. We still connect like we’ve never been apart at any given point in time. When I think of best friends, I think of you and me.

Wyn, you are my best friend in every sense of the word. Thank you that you do not tire of being my friend. I pray for your heart’s desires and wishes. The Lord already knows it. You just have to continue your path and trust. Trust that wherever you are is where you’re supposed to be when you’re with Him. I am always cheering you on regardless whatever part of the world I may be in. I love you. Happiest of birthdays.

I want to stay with you forever

It was Easter long weekend so Elon and Mama have been inseparable. We spent time together doing egg hunts, painting eggs, stuffing our faces with chocolates, you name it, we’ve done it.. together. I’ve always told him that I miss him each morning when he would just wake up. I tell him that while he slept, it was a chance for me to miss him. On Friday, all through the day, he kept on making sure that we are not going to send him off to daycare. He says “Mama, no daycare today?” “Mama, I want to stay with you, no daycare” “Mama, I want to miss you, no daycare, okay?” He meant that we can spend time missing each other together so he doesn’t want to be sent off to daycare.

Saturday was fun. We spent most of the morning and afternoon together so when Sunday came, I had to tell him that it’ll be daycare time soon. Before his naptime on Sunday, he said, “Mama, I want to stay with you forever”. My mom heard this too and we were just surprised and heartbroken at the same time. Cause really there is no forever. I kept on explaining that there is no way we can spend forever together (although I wanted to), because I need to go to work and earn money. He said “Mama you have money” to which I said “Ya, I have money because I work that’s why I need to keep on working so I have money for you”. He cute pouted but insisted “ya you have money so you don’t have to go to work and I don’t have to go to daycare”.

 

If only baby, if only I had some bottomless cash, I would stay with you forever.

Today at Drop Off

As I listen to The Sea by HAEVN not knowing or understanding the lyrics but just being emotional with the music it brings my momma heart, I think about Elon and imagine the exact moment when I dropped him off this morning. And although I am working on writing my research deck about unique visitors for certain websites and apps (I work in media), my thoughts transport me back to a memory this morning that seems like part of a movie.

Edward and I dropped off Elon and because it was almost close to 9, the kids were already on their way to the playground. This is their morning routine (part of it when the weather allows it). I hand over Elon to the teacher as he was dressed already for outside weather. He held on to me and said “Mama, stay”. He clings onto me like I was his comfort and that he needed me to be happy. That no play equates to me being there. I kissed him and said that I will just drop off his bag inside the room and that I will be back. I did and was back after a couple of minutes.

I saw him inside the gated playground as he held onto the gate while I blew him kisses. He only said one word – we both felt sadness of needing to part. “Mama” he said. I had to turn my back and walk towards the car where Edward was waiting because, my god, if I didn’t, I would have called in sick and took him home and sniffed and cuddled him the whole day. 

That was not the heartbreaking part, the saddest part was while Edward and I drove away, I saw my baby running towards us, trying to find a way to get out of that gated box where he would stay for a couple hours more as we succumb to the daily routine of life. 

 

I felt a strong feeling to write this out so I don’t forget. Don’t let me forget.

HOLD STEADY as the song says, hold steady..

 

I need a new baby!

Elon has been the great joy of my existence and I still cannot believe that he came from my actual body. It is so weird just writing that out. Anyway, this boy is starting JK in September and my momma heart cries silently at night thinking how fast those years flew by. He still loves me a whole lot and needs me 80% of the time. Maybe 60%, who am I kidding. But the real deal is, HOW INNOCENT IS HE NOW? And how much will he lose once he starts big kids school. He goes to daycare everyday and you would think I would be more prepared in him moving to another level, but what is up with my too many feelings and emotions in this part of his life. I guess when you become a mother, it just doesn’t stop.

I don’t worry about him all the time (contrary to popular belief). But what I do a lot of times is miss him when I don’t get to spend time with him. I almost want to attach myself into his tiny body so I can be with him 24/7. Who says mom needs a break? I don’t want one. Maybe Elon wants one but me, no. When he’s older, he’ll probably read this post and think how much I love him but really it’s borderline obsessive, child. I am not sure what your mother was thinking writing this down. I’m sorry your mother is crazy.

Boy oh boy do I need another human being to smother. Edward, make me a new baby!