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!

Mortality

I am writing this down to remember this time when I felt like I almost had gone crazy. But really I could have avoided it if I had more or just enough fear of the Lord rather than FOMO. I had a scare recently when I have felt a lump in my chest with some pains. My mind already fast forwarded to the worst story possible. And instead of seeking help immediately, I found myself overwhelmed with fear with the possibility of leaving this Earth too soon (in all the sense of its relativity). I found myself googling, researching everything and anything about what I thought it was but not bringing myself to tell people about what I am feeling.

Honestly (what an irony), I was scared to know the truth. The truth that I would later found out to be nothing to worry about. That’s the thing about fear right – it sucks the life out of you dry. I have had sleepless nights, feeling sorry for myself, worrying about what would happen to the people I cared about when I am gone. What would happen to me when I am gone, where do I go? Do I get reincarnated? Do I remember Elon? Will Elon remember me?

Every night I would just think and think and think and damage my spirit until I had the courage to find out the truth. I started telling people including my mother. My mother is a nurse and she would almost always spot if there was something wrong with me. This is the main reason why I was holding back on sharing when I noticed the pains in my chest with her. Because I knew, just by telling her, she might already have a theory (and perhaps she will be right). I gave her top line details and she encouraged me to go see the doctor. She prodded me lots of times so she can theorize more but I purposely declined on giving more info.

I kept on praying. I kept on altering some of the things that I felt was contributing to the pain. I kept on thinking the day will be my last so I had to spend it wisely. No phones, focus on Elon, no stress, be happy. But my soul was confused – it was tugging between trying to brush off what I thought it was versus living the days as if it were the last. But the latter produced quality days for my life overall. I had more productivity at work. I loved hard and there was genuine kindness that I was sharing with everyone. When you think your life is ending you just want to make peace with everything in your life and accept that this is the life God had designed for you. You appreciate life for what it is and thank the Lord that you get to experience it.

But you also wonder a lot about the next part of life. What is really after it? I am a Catholic and I believe in Heaven. And I have a picture of Heaven in my mind but I also kept on wondering if reincarnation is true or what about people I know who have passed away, how are they? Can they talk to us? How do I know they are okay? How do I stop myself from being scared if mortality is such a natural thing and a part of life. And the answer is FEAR OF THE LORD. This is the only fear that is important because it overcomes anything. If you have enough Fear of the Lord, you do good by Him, you love Him, you respect Him and you follow Him. 

All of us living on Earth, healthy or not, nobody really knows when life will end for us. The experts might say 6 months or 100 more years but only God knows the truth. I realized (although it took time) that what I was fearing most was something each person will be facing – their individual end. There is no one person who would escape it. This changed the prayer in my heart. Instead of praying and hoping that everything will turn out the best that it could, now I pray that for each and every day, the Lord guides me through the Holy Spirit. So that I may live the life Jesus had intended for me. I want a life of genuine kindness, overflowing love to share, and quality moments where the people who truly matters to me would remember.

Happy trivial everydays

Happy birthday, my love.

I have been writing down notes weeks ago for this blog post but nothing ever worked out except for this one I just wrote during the eve of your birthday. I am an ESFJ so below is purely my feelings. Here it goes.

I admit it, I have put you aside ever since Elon came and I apologize for that. If our life were a show, we have now entered the comedy family sitcom phase where there are far less “awwwwws”, tender, cute and kilig moments between the main couple of the show. It is a different kind of genre from when it was just us and we’re trying to cement our bond together with marriage. Now we have no choice (I know you would say we always have a choice but whatevs) cause we have Elon as cement. It is more about getting the lessons out of the wrong and right decisions. It is more about making sense of the world and planning ahead for the future. Most of all, it is about facing trivial issues of everyday:

Is Elon awake yet

What is for breakfast

Have you washed the fruits yet

What to dress him with

What to dress us with

Do you get a salad today or should you pack rice

Was Elon’s sippy cup washed

Where are my keys

Where is my ring

What is for dinner

Who is going to shower Elon

Can Elon watch

What about iPad time

What time are you sleeping

Who is going to wash the dishes

Can we go grocery shopping

Have you thrown the garbage yet

After I’ve finally list these all down it seems all so strange that this is where life has taken us. But then, weirdly, I am okay with it because I get to do it everyday with you. There is nothing grand, it is ever so simple but they are happy trivial everydays (at least to me). I have you as family once a stranger. We are connected in more ways possible.

Now that you are 30 (which you keep on saying is the new 20), find that you will have my support for things you are sure and unsure of. Trust that it will always be you (with a reminder to split half the time with Elon). Expect that you would not hear the end for some things I feel passionate about (do not flush the toilet paper in toilet bowl). Love the times we get to spend time as a unit, freely, healthily, without restrictions, and together. These things do not always come together. Listen to our communicating child (he would only be this little this one time, you blink and he would not even think you were ever cool). Show us that trying will help us grow. Never tire reminding us how much you love us, expressing it ever so consistently.

My heart is yours to keep if you want to.

I guess that’s it. I hope you felt something there. Happy birthday, Edward, you’re my favourite name of all.

#Oversharing: Potty Training with Elon

Hello everybody!

 

Writing just to share with you how awesome Elon is during his potty training. I could not get over it I had to share! Apparently, Elon’s daycare (which I am very thankful for) potty trains their toddlers, given that they are ready. Elon’s time to shine has come and he was to start his training after the Civic Holiday in August.

WEEKS PRIOR TO TRAINING..

Mama Ruth: Hija, bring a lot of underwear for Elon after the long weekend

Ericka: What’s going on?

Mama Ruth: Elon is ready. We are going to potty train him.

 

There were so many things in my head that I wanted to tell Mama Ruth like, “are you  sure he is ready” “he doesn’t even understand pee pee” he confuses pee pee and his thing. I don’t know Mama Ruth if this is a good idea is what I wanted to tell her so bad but good thing I did not! But being the anxious person that I am, I had to ask my questions..

Ericka: Mama Ruth, what if Elon poops?

Mama Ruth: We change him and we send the soiled underwear + clothes in a plastic bag for you to take home.

My mind was silenced and I didn’t think too much of this and thought that  I will cross the bridge when I get there.

MONDAY..

Monday of the long weekend came and we were home. I bought the groceries in the morning, bought Elon under wears (3 pack), washed all extra clothes that he might need for the week of his training, and everything was fine.. until it was not. My genius mind decided why not prime Elon for his upcoming potty training. I decided to put him in briefs. Five minutes into it, he peed himself. He was all wet and grossed out. He was fine. I wasn’t. I said let’s try it again. Two minutes into it, he pooped in the stupid dinosaur briefs from Walmart. I WAS SO STRESSED OUT. I was mad at Elon, mad at myself, mad at Edward, mad at the idea of potty training. You wouldn’t want to be near me. I was yelling at Elon and I became his stressor. I gave up that day and put him in diapers. I decided he was not ready and maybe I should air my issues out at Mama Ruth the next day on his first day of potty training.

TUESDAY..

It was the day of the reckoning for Elon, I thought. Poor boy does not know what was to come. I brought Elon in diapers and found a different person other than Mama Ruth to drop him off with. I told the other teacher that Elon is in his diapers and I was instructed by Mama Ruth that today they would train him. I was slightly annoyed that she doesn’t know what I was talking about and that she even said that parents need to be consistent at home too. I told her I know that and that is my plan moving forward. I left it at that and as I stepped out of Elon’s daycare, I have been praying to the Lord, “Lord, please I don’t care how many times he wet his clothes and underwear, just no poop in a plastic bag please please please”. I was worried at work but really had to move on cause I cannot do anything anyway.

Fast forward to pick up time, I even went to the grocery  store to buy Elon something in case, by some miracle, he did a good job. Not that I am expecting it. All I wanted was no poop in a plastic bag. And I got it!! No poop and they even said it was going well although the amount of wet clothes was not any indication of that. It was a start.

 

WEDNESDAY..

Mama: Elon, tell Mama Ruth when you need to go pee, or Veronica, or Saeeda.. or..

Elon:  NO! NO NOOOOOOOO!!!! NO pee pee OKAYYY???

That was that and I though it would be the poop plastic bag day. He really was not learning..or so I thought. By the end of the day. He still had two accidents but he was going directly to the bathroom. He was not asking them or telling them he would go but he would go and do it by himself. HALLELUJAH!!! Again, I avoided the poop plastic bag day.

THURSDAY..

I didn’t expect much but then they said the accident was only ONCE. And this was when they were out playing. As he does not know yet to say that he needs to go, or maybe too shy because of my prodding, the teachers did not know he wanted to pee when he was holding his thing and and pushing the playground fence.

 

FRIDAY..

NO ACCIDENT! Edward even picked him up and he was brought back to me with clothes from the morning. IT WAS THE BEST!

SATURDAY AND SUNDAY..

I purposely did not plan any trips for this weekend because I wanted Elon to be home to help him with his training although by now he would tell me when he needs to go or would go by himself when the door is open for him (as he cannot open doors yet, also our doors are heavy). The next challenge we have is when going out long periods of time. On Saturday at Church, although I put diapers on him, he still told me when he wanted to go so I took him and eventually took the diaper out.

But today, as of writing, when we went to Ikea, he had an accident just before we were going to leave. I put him on diapers and he was happily peeing into the thing until we got home where he is now again in briefs and we continue the potty dance.

Honestly this is bittersweet for me cause my baby is losing his baby-ness. He is learning how to be more independent of me. Like tomorrow I know he will be moving out and then the next day, he will only visit me every other weekend, but who is thinking that far ahead?? Just me, the crazy too attached mother of Elon who loves him a WHOLE LOT. Okay until next time oversharing time.

 

My Dad.

Today during mass, the homily was about planting the seed of faith. Today is also Father’s Day. Today I would like to honour my father. How these three things connect, you will find out later.

Growing up, my dad was not the one to show or say that he loves us. You would never hear it from him. I hated it. To be fair, my mom never really said it too. Or maybe she only stopped saying it when we got to a certain age. My dad also never attended any of my graduations or any ceremonies related to school. I hated that too. I never understood his introvert nature or just how he is in general. Until I get to a certain age that I did get how he is.

Then I realize that he does not say words, he does them. My dad is a man of action. My dad is the kind of father who would drive your homework to school when you forget it at home. He is the kind of father who would take care of dogs (even when he does not like them) just so my sister and I get to play with them. He is the kind of father who remembers what kind of food you actually eat, notes it down in his brain, cooks it so when you get home you actually get to enjoy it. He is the kind of father that does not seem to be proud of you and seemingly is unsatisfied by what you do but actually boasts all your accomplishments whenever he gets a chance.

Usually, we describe dads as strong, brave and the best but I want to describe my dad simply as the most thoughtful person I know. He is intentional. And if there is one thing I am thankful for him the most, that would be his faith. Without fail, he sets an example for our family to go to church. Whether he had a crazy work week, a late night party he attended, with snowstorm, with us or without us, driving or commuting, he would go and hear mass every Sunday. Each and every Sunday.

Thank you dad for planting the seed of faith in us, your children. I fail and struggle sometimes, but you know as the priest said, if you have planted it, trust that it is there. Not seeing it does not mean it does not exist. I have this faith in the Lord because of you. And I know this is great for Elon too.

I thank the Lord everyday for all that you are and for welcoming Elon and Edward like they are yours. I love you and Happy Father’s Day Daddy!!