My Love

Elon, you are five today. I will always say this but I could not believe it. I wouldn’t say the time flew past me because I have been with you every day of those 5 years. I have cherished every single day even those ones that were not the best. We were never away from each other. I have watched you grow. I have watched you from being a tiny little thing to becoming this sensitive boy with a mix of your dad and I’s personalities. I have watched you from zero. And probably that’s why parents love their kids so much, right? Because they literally are witnessing a miracle everyday by experiencing their kids. God, you are my miracle.

I am so lucky and proud to be your parent, Elon. I cannot count the number of times you would do your own thing and entertain yourself while your dad and I rest and/or sleep. You try so hard to do things on your own and be independent so you can help us. But I am happy whenever you need me. I am happy to be there and help you. I like you needing me. Your independence, although good, sometimes makes me sad because it means you are slipping away from me.

You try to help me cook and watch Korean shows just so you can bond with me. You will come with me to shop even when it’s not really enjoyable for you while I peruse the dress section, only giving you some five minutes to look at toys. You would always be understanding and will always pre-empt the situation by saying that you will just look and not buy because our money is reserved for something else. You are my lovely boy always trying to be good while having this endless energy that somehow we always try to tame. Don’t listen to us. Don’t lose that energy, Elon. Always build, always learn. Always be kind and understanding. Those are gifts from the Lord to you.

Tonight as I write the second part of this post, you are sleeping soundly in your own bedroom. Wow, I did not expect that I would say “your own bedroom”. And I know a lot of parents sleep train their kids so they can eventually move to their own bedroom, but I had dreaded this day. This is probably why I am up, when usually we would be sleeping together in “mama’s bed”. I am up because I think about how you begged me to stay and sleep beside you. But I convinced myself that I need to do this to “train” you because by the time your sister arrives, you need to sleep on your bed while I take care of her. So that your sleep would not be interrupted when she cries at night. I told myself this is just a preparation for you. When I told you this, you said that would not be a problem because her cries would not wake you up.

But why is it so sad when I’ve been successful putting you into your own bed tonight? My heart is telling me to go back and just insert myself beside your twin bed, hope for the best, and expect to wake up with some body soreness. But then my brain which is the more logical part of me is just saying “just kiss him good night, tell him you love him and then go”. I thought that this would be enjoyable, Elon – having my me time. But what do I do with it without you? We could have been playing letters, or your silly games, or “talking about things” as you would say. You are always so full of life, so sweet, so loving, my sweet boy. I pray you would never change these parts of you.

This would be your last birthday as our “only child”. I always tell your dad to soak up the moments and listen to you when you ask. I tell him he should fulfill your requests because somehow things will change once your sister is born. I also try to revel in these moments that you are still my only child. I purposely “baby” you as your dad would put it. I purposely feed you even when I know you can do it by yourself. I wake you earlier so I can cuddle with you longer before your class. I keep you all to myself so I can remember these times that it was mostly just you and me. I thank God for these moments. I thank God for letting me work from home (even when I complain about it) because then I get to see you everyday. I pray you would not feel any differently once your little sister comes because I want you to understand nothing between us changes. I know I would have more love to give to both of you. And I know you have a lot more love to share and spare for your little sister because you are exactly like that – full of love, full of sensitivity. My sweetheart, my baby boy, I am always yours. Please remember that you will always be the best boy in mama’s heart.

I love you so much, Elon. Happy 5th birthday.

-Mama

Happy birthday, Edward!

I have written so many drafts but the words are not coming out right but let me try one more time.

This year has been good (or maybe you have been good) that I can’t complain much about you (very unlikely). I would say you are perfect but only God is perfect so I would say the closest thing to it. You have surpassed my expectations as a partner in life. As a father, maybe you are on your way there like 77%? (HAHAHA you are not getting everything here). We have literally come a long way together from the Philippines (which is around 7000 miles away) to Canada. 

I have said this many times but I cannot simply imagine going through everything if it were not with you. I knew you were a good investment the moment you sent that one liner of a text to say “hi”. I would ask how you got my number but let me be honest with myself here that my friend already asked me if she can give it to you. I was actually waiting for the text. What flirt and mystery that text was clouded by? But here we are 14 years later with no more flirtations and zero mystery in a different country we didn’t really expect we would be living in with a 4-year-old son and another one the way. If I have told you then that you would not be practicing Architecture 14 years later, I wonder what your younger self would say. Probably along the lines of, “we will die anyway what does it matter”. To figure you out then was such a challenge, and to figure you out now sometimes still frustrates me BUT I, at least know some of the more overt things about you – like your go-to Tim Hortons order or your ice cream flavour (it’s a trick question, he tries not to eat some).

When I randomly asked you what are the things you like about me, you were puzzled and didn’t know what to say. Can’t blame you for that, it’s hard even for me, I got to dig deep. But when you asked that same question back to me, it was easy cause there were many things about you that people do not necessarily see and know that I like and appreciate even when I don’t say it. 

I like that when you decide on things, it’s 100% commitment from you. No half assing, you give it your all. It’s like you throwing away our compost despite the bin being outside of our building no matter the weather. Or you washing the dishes because you claim I half-ass washing them (maybe I do this on purpose so you would do it). 

I like that you support me and you are not afraid to provide constructive criticism even when you know that some hell in me will break loose because I take every criticism to heart and I cry with it and sleep at night. You push for greater things even when the process is painful. I half like that you do it with Elon but may I remind you that he is just 4 years old (but I get your point about developing grit). You have to let him win sometimes. 

I like that you can adapt so quickly and you always surprise me of the things you are able to do and accomplish. Can I say that there are times when I doubt you but when you proved me wrong the first time, I let you be. It honestly made my life better because I don’t have to stress about things and I let you lead it with all your superb organizational skills (with matching excel file and tables). I want to say here, and don’t make me repeat this again, that I am so proud of you. You have come a longer way than I did (I mean I get half the credit right). 

I like that you want me to have my own thing, and you have learned to let me be (you now even tolerate Kdramas which you previously asked me what was the point of watching it). Just don’t ask me anything about the story when I watch it please? I want to savour each and every moment of the drama. That’s why it’s called a drama.

Caution for you, enjoy this while you can because even when you reference this later on when we have arguments, I would not admit to it.

Happy birthday, my love! I know there’s so much more in store for us together. I love you like a kdrama love story with a happy ending. HEHE

PS I am aligned with our goals for the next 5 years.

It’s October

It’s October

Leaves are falling

It’s orange, red and yellow I see

The wind has turned bitter

But the smell is crisp

It’s when I think of you most

Your whole you that I feel

Your hands busy

Your mind busier

Your love sometimes too much for me

Without you

I would neither want

This kind of October

Nor this cold winter I am about to see

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.