So there, a promise broken.
Sometime in the restless summers of my youth, I vowed that when I had kids, I would never be a stage mama. I vowed that I would not poke, push, pull or whatever it is that stage mamas do to their kids. I would let them live independent lives; I would just watch and guide them from the sidelines. They could choose what they want to do, wear, even who to fall in love with! I would not nag, berate, be paranoid, be overly sensitive, and definitely, would not recite their offenses from the time of their birth to present day, each time I would get upset or angry with them. I would never be nosy, especially about their love lives, and would wait for them to share with me the matters of the heart, IF they wanted to. In short, I would be the perfect, cool mom! But what happened? I have evolved into the exact opposite! My only excuse is that adage “Promises are meant to be broken”! What a wise human being is she/he who coined this phrase. Thanks to him/her, I have an explanation for my weird “momma dearest” behavior.
What is it about motherhood that makes one cling, nose, poke, badger, shape-shift from angel to witch and that whole gamut of hyped mama behavior? Oh, the sheer agony and self-restraint to not read letters left around, to not explore cell phones left unattended, and the like! What’s with the incessant “kakulitan” about “what’s up? Did he call, text? Why the hell is he doing that to you? Why in heaven’s name are you doing that to him? Are you and your friends okay? Did you study already? Stop texting! Where are you going, what are you doing? You’re going out AGAIN?” The list goes on and on! Geesh, I drive myself CRAAAAAZY trying to get information and attention from my girls—like an addict and “KSP” even. I catch myself and think, “my poor, poor kids”, feel a twinge of guilt then launch, in the space of a breath or two, an award-worthy repeat performance.
So why, why? I guess it simply boils down to this—I want to be a part of every iota of my kids’ lives. I want only the best for them. I want to protect them, prepare them, inspire, nurture them and everything else a good mama (in the ideal sense) would want to be and do. But I’m only HUMAN too. I need to be needed. I need to know I am loved…and appreciated…and a significant part of their lives—entwined in all they are, and do and dream, etc. I know in my head that I should let them grow, let them be, and in time let them go. But my heart says “Wait up, slow down, let me in…I want to tag along on the journey of your life. Please?”. I hope my kids understand. I’m just a MOM…who loves them so, so much.
No, my life is not perfect. I have had many a dream blow up in my face. I have my fair share of struggles and challenges. I could wail and whine about what I have lost, or what was withheld from me, but of what use would that be? I have just learned that the best way to keep afloat in the sea of negativity is to look up and look beyond.
I look up to a Father God who I trust is ALWAYS looking after me. I hold fast to my faith that He holds my head above the waters, or that gives me the strength to swim through the waves. He provides me with the life-vest of loving family and friends. Whether the seas are calm or stormy, He is the captain of my life’s ship, and the compass of my life’s destination.
I look beyond the loss, the absence, the lack of things and people that would/could make life better or happier, and consciously and oftentimes, with great difficulty, COUNT MY BLESSINGS instead. When I CHOOSE to do this, the number of blessings far outweigh the negativities. I have also learned to channel the not-so-good experiences into stepping stones for personal growth. The products of this channeling—greater courage, fortitude, sympathy, empathy, compassion, patience and understanding for others—have served me well in reaching out to and walking the path with those in pain, and allowed me to share their joys more profoundly.
So with a heart overflowing with gratitude, I say “Thank you Lord!” With these words, I not only float, but I have the potential to FLY!
An international airport is like a little universe. It has its own energies—vibrant, alive, teeming. It breathes people in; it breathes people out. Sometimes the breath comes in bursts, almost hyperventilating. Now, as i sit and await my flight home, its breath is quiet, slower, more steady. I watch the people come and go. I am fascinated. I surreptitiously study their clothing, their luggage, and most of all, their expressions. Some are stylish and elegant; others look like they just stepped out of bed. Some look excited; others, harried and anxious. Some walk with the swag of a seasoned traveler; others, with the trepidation of a first-timer. Many, many faces; many, many looks. Always, I try to look out for my own kind. Even if I don’t know them, nor talk to them, just seeing them around relieves some of the anxieties of traveling alone abroad. The minute I hear Tagalog or a Philippine dialect, I heave a sigh of relief. Of course there is no certainty that the Filipinos will rush to my aid should anything negative happen to me, but it is a good feeling to have faith that if need be, they will do so, if only because we are kababayans. In that long stretch of waiting, rather than playing games or reading on my phone or iPad, I spin tales about the passengers around me—where they’re going, where they came from, why they are traveling. I imagine who they left behind, who they are meeting. I wonder if they wonder about me too. I play a solo guessing game at what is inside their hand-carried luggage. Even the luggage tell their own stories. Some look like they been on and off planes often. Others look spankingly new. They usually match their owners. And in my weaving of stories-with-no-endings, the airport and Time become my friends. Then, the highly-anticipated call for boarding breaks the silence of that long wait. My heart dances. Home is just a few clouds away. I bid adieu to that little universe I shared for a moment in time. Till my next trip…
Many years ago, as a young teacher of English Literature, I came across a lovely, little poem, “Message from a Butterfly” by Lilian Moore. There was something in its simple expression of a complex, on-going life experience that so appealed to me. My life has always been defined by metamorphosis—the constant flux between cocoon, worm-like times and butterfly days.
Being a creature of habit, it was a major break-through to be able to embrace my worm-like state when changes threatened the peace and calm of my well-ordered existence. I used to thrash, resist, whine, and get anxious when change came a-knocking on my life’s door. Now, I willingly slide (or crawl, depending on the nature of change I am undergoing) back into my cocoon. There, in the “darkness”, I try to positively deal with the discomfort, anxiety, fear, uncertainty, sadness, etc that these changes bring. And yes, in that period of difficulty and challenge, I grow my strength and wing span. Each time I emerge from my cocoon time, I have greater wisdom and understanding, patience, fortitude, courage and whatever else I may need to soar. That greater wing span allows me to embrace my joys, and to recognize and give thanks for the many blessings I have been given. I have greater appreciation for the “wind beneath my wings”—the family I love, the friends who support me, the people who push my buttons the wrong way (hehe), and whoever and whatever it is that push me into constant cycle of metamorphosis. And when my cocoon times come around again, I just remember Lilian Moore’s line…
“I’m worm-like now, but in this dark, I’m growing wings.”
After much prodding, pondering, hesitating and general dilly dally-ing I am prone to do these days, I am FINALLY stretching my wings. I am starting (and hopefully, sustaining ) this blog. I have no mind map with which to navigate this blog, no concrete agenda except to commit my thoughts, sentiments and experiences onto a page. These sharings will be random—on anything and everything. I will write for myself and for whoever wishes to walk my life’s journey with me. I am at once excited and anxious about going this public with my cocoon and butterfly times, but my wings are a-flutter and rarin’ to go. Come fly with me…