Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Pagmumuni sa Umaga ng isang Buntis

Gising na naman ang aking diwa. Tatlong oras na siyang lumilipad lipad at paikot ikot sa aking isipan habang pilit ko siyang pinatatahimik upang makuha ang ninanasang himbing na tulog. Kawawa naman ang anak ko sa sinapupunan, kulang na kulang sa tulog, lagi na lang gising ang ina kahit pikit ang mata.

Sabi ng aking mabuting asawa, ipikit lang ang aking mata at magbilang ng tupa. Haay, ilang ulit ko na bang ginawa yan sa aking buhay. Minsan tumatalab, madalas sa hindi. At sa mga ganitong pagkakataon, alam ko na ang gusto niya. Gusto niyang mapagod. Kaya eto na naman ako sa harap ng modernong makinilya, nagsusulat ng kung anuman ang pumasok sa aking kamalayan.

Sa ngayon, ang nasa isip ko ay ang aking sanggol. Kamusta kaya siya sa loob? Sabi ng aking doctor, sa panglabingtatlong linggo pa lang maaaring marinig naming muli ang kanyang tibok ng puso na hindi nag”uultrasound” at gamit lamang ang isang “Doppler” instrument. Pang sampung linggo pa lang. Tatlong linggo pang paghihintay. Sa kanyang edad , meron na siyang utak at puso at kanyang binubuo ang kanyang mga paa’t kamay. Marahil kaya madalas ding magising ang kanyang ina, nagsimula na siyang mag-isip at ginigising niya ang nanay para samahan siya sa kanyang mga pagmumuni, pagninilay at mga katanungan. Gusto kong sabihin sa kanyang, Anak, matulog ka muna, paglabas mo at sa paglaki mo, magsasawa ka sa pagiisip sa kung anu ano. Magsasawa ka sa pagdiskubre ng mga bagay bagay at paghanap ng kasagutan sa iyong mga tanong. Ngunit malamang sa hindi ay hindi siya makikinig sa akin. Minsan ako’y nanggangamba sa sinabi ng aking asawa, baka magmana ang ating anak sa iyo na matigas ang ulo. Kung ganun man ay hindi niya kailanman malalaman na mas naiintindihan ko siya higit sa lahat. Dahil pilit niyang iisiping kaya niya ang lahat ng bagay ng walang tulong, na matalino siya kung kaya’t makakaisip siya ng makakaisip ng tamang sagot sa lahat .Buti na lang at dalawa ang magulang. Isang ama at isang ina. Ang ama niya ang magtuturo at magsasabi sa kanya ng mga bagay na hindi niya kailanman tatanggapin mula sa akin.

Wala sa tabi naman ngayon ang kanyang ama. Walang taga”yapos” at tagahagod ng ulo upang muling makabalik sa tulog ang kanyang mag-ina. Andito kami ngayon sa kanyang Lola. Kapiling ang kanyang Tito Aaron , Tita Malou, Tita Irene at Ate Kat. Kung ang Lola niya ang masusunod, gusto niyang dito kami muna at dating gawi si Lola and tagadala ng pagkain at gatas sa kama. Minsan , naiisip ko marahil dapat ganito muna. Pero nararamdaman kong magrereklamo ang bata. Gusto niyang kasama ang ama. Kailangan na naming bumalik sa probinsiya.

Inabutan na naman ako ng umaga. Mag-aalmusal na kami ng aking "baby". Pero sana anak, pagkatapos nito, matulog na tayo. Pagod na rin ang nanay sa ilang oras nating hiwalay at minsa'y magkasamang pagmumuni.Mamayang gabi susunduin na tayo ng iyong tatay pauwi, kaya meme na meme na. Makikita na natin siya maya maya.

Saturday, October 9, 2010

Early morning thoughts...

I woke up very early this Sunday Morning with nothing much on my head but excitement for what lies ahead. Instinctively, I rubbed my belly as if to comfort and protect my unborn child against unwanted thoughts that might permeate her mother's inner being. I turn to my left and I could hear my husband's heavy breathing.

He has been awfully tired from work the whole week but somehow I knew that the thought of an addition to our little circle of love keeps him going and makes things at the workplace bearable.

And knowing that, I love him more for it. He is a patient man,a silent sufferer.But at night when he rest from everything and I lay my head against his chest, I could feel his weariness and I could feel how much he fight against it. I love him more for that.

Love, the romantic love I have grown up believing as a child, they say is not real. Its an association that comes with the accidents of life. And once the condition that allowed it to exist for a long period of time is taken away then that same love will be gone.

Love, shared between mankind , though is real. It is borne about by a common goal, a shared commitment.

To bring up a child in the ways of God is a marriage's primary aim.

And to do that, it takes two wings for flight to happen. In such lies the beauty, because heights are achieved through the elements of balance and harmony of two distinct individuals. Love?

My thoughts end here. But my prayers remain ascending Above.

Let me Lord be a good wife, let me Lord be a good mother.

Let me believe and personify the kind of person You have always thought I am but I have until now hesitate to claim.

Alone, I will never achieve that perfection but I am certain that the Holy Spirit will be there to assist.

Monday, September 13, 2010

Weekend Confinement

He is there beside me desensitized to his surroundings as he continues to feel the effects of anesthesia after his 2 hour surgery. Half-sedated is how he seems to me as I sit across the hospital bed attempting human connection. I will try to engage him in small talks but he is like a broken light bulb, one minute attempting to reply and the next completely turned off and without power.

Yes, my Michael is out and I felt alone again, left to my own devices to figure out where to channel my restless mind to. We were sharing a ward room with another patient who got stabbed 4 times by what police news report indicated as rugby boys. He managed to hail a “jeepney” to take him to Our Lady of Lourdes of Hospital. His visitors were endlessly coming and going, friends, family; he must be a pretty nice guy indeed. So for some time, I listened to him tell that night’s story of how he ended up in the hospital 10 different times sometimes with varying versions to suit his audience. Then I grew tired of it. In the white plastic orocan chair cramped near Kurt Michael’s bed, I managed to pull my legs up to rest in the lone small cabinet we have and then rest the Project Management Book I brought with me on my lap as I attempted to do some studying for my exam. I got to finish one chapter but then I gave up. I could not concentrate what with the aircon being a bit too cold for me and the nurses kept dropping by asking me to assist in waking Mike up to get his BP, temperature and blood sample. I also kept looking at the content of the dextrose wondering why the content level has not gone down for some time now and preparing to complain to the nurses ( We found out it was being blocked somewhere and they ended up fixing it). The catheter bag is also almost full and I have to keep reminding the nurses to replace it. He is on a no food diet so I ended up eating his hospital lunch delivered to us.

I kept asking the nurses to ask the doctor if we can get discharged that night but the doctor said it was impossible, they need to monitor him first and ensure his surgical wounds are dried up. They said most likely 2 more days. It was a Saturday. I suddenly felt down, aside from the potential additional cost in extending two more days, I dread the thought of sleeping two more nights in that cramped, cold space.

I sighed. I took out my prayer book and started to recite the long healing prayer. In that moment, I felt calmer and things begin to put themselves in the proper perspective. I remember my Michael telling me, Patience, my dear… patience. And so that is just what I did. I waited. I waited for him to get well. I waited for the days to be over.

Saturday night, my Michael is having a fever. I went out to buy some socks and requested additional blankets from the nurse station. And then I climbed up the available space in the hospital bed taking care not to get tangled in the dextrose and catheter tubes. Then I put on his socks, added the blankets and then hugged him real tight. At midnight, the nurse woke me, we will need to transfer to another room. It was a good thing though because our bed was too near the aircon unit and I’m starting to get a fever myself.

There were two other occupants in the new room we were in but we were located away from the aircon unit which was good.

Sunday came and go with my brother Aaron visiting with my sister Irene and wife, Malou to bring me some clothes which is good because I really wanted to take a bath myself. My Michael has his already with hot water and alcohol in bed and fresh new hospital gown. I didn’t know we were staying long so I didn’t brought clothes with me. Michael was allowed to eat around lunch time and I let him read the Sunday newspaper I bought downstairs.

Sunday night, Michael’s bp was up to 140 and I had a fever myself. I took Bioflu so as to stop it from progressing.

Monday morning, I woke up very excited. “Today we may be able to go home”, I thought. My fever was gone, thank you BIO FLU. Michael’s BP is normal. Then the doctor came by and started removing the dextrose and catheter and advised us we can go home that afternoon. I ran out the door to go check with Billing the charges but was met with a crying woman just outside. She was the wife of the other patient in our room. They didn’t have visitors. It was just her and his husband. She told me that her husband has cancer of the gums. I have noticed her from Saturday night and Sunday and found her to be very strong and efficient. She was always cleaning their space and then I hear her talking to her husband even if her husband can’t reply back about what diet he needs to follow moving forward. She needed someone to talk to. Strong women cry too although they do it out of sight of their loved ones. She told me in tagalog, “Ganyan talaga, hanggang sa huli kayo talagang mag-asawa magkadamay. Yung sakit ng isa sakit mo na rin.” I imagined myself ten years from now at the age of this woman, in this same hospital room and I wonder whether I will be as strong and efficient as she. She heard a moan from her husband and went in back to the room but not before she dried her tears. I slowly went to the accounting department to settle our bill. Yes, marriage is like that…in sickness and in health, for better or for worse…’til death do us part.

My Michael was out but I am not alone and will never be alone.

Monday, August 30, 2010


At exactly 7 AM this morning as in every weekday morning, my michael is out of our door. I would kiss him goodbye, bid him take care and then lock the gates.

And yet this morning is different from every morning of the almost three months we were together, I do not relish the site that greets me in our small house as I close the door behind me. There is a gargantuan of dishes that needed to be washed as we were both too tired from last night and the breakfast stuff also got added into it.

The furniture is in disarray and boxes, bags from our weekend stay in Manila litter the floor.
I checked out our dirty laundry box and found it to be full. I checked out the trash bin in the kitchen area and found it full as well.

I checked out our refrigerator and found nothing there except a few garlic and some unused monggo beans and a few malunggay leaves.Meaning a trip to the market is needed.

I checked my blackberry phone and found I had lots of catch up stuff I need to do for work today given the holiday yesterday.

I saw some gelatin and condensed milk and got inspired to prepare dessert later for my michael when he comes back at around 6 pm.Im thinking that plus the mongo dinner will be sufficient and I didn't need to go out to the market today.

But for some reason, the enthusiasm died. I went over the sala area and opened the newly bought LCD TV. There is nothing really good to watch so I just lingered on to watch the tantrums and concerns of overgrown girls in Canada's Next Top Model.

And probably for a good couple of hours I just sat down mindlessly watching a show that I didn't really much care about.

And then it struck me. I am not a princess. This is not a fairy tale. I am not that girl that plays house with her toy kitchen wares anymore who will ask a friend that is a boy to pretend he is my husband so we can play husband and wife. My yaya will not suddenly appear from nowhere asking me to go home, stop playing because its getting late. I am a grown woman. I am married. I have a husband that will come home to a dirty house with no food in the table if I don't get up from where I have been sitting lazily for hours.

I cannot let the lack of enthusiasm get in the way of what needs to be done or the responsibilities assigned me and I have taken upon myself.

I got up , checked the cupboard and found a single pack of chicken noodles. I smiled. So now I realize why at my mother's house in Las Pinas, we never ran out of noodles and had like  a dozen of it available at any given time. It is for times like this when one needs "magic" . Instant noodles, instant energy, instant "feel good". Let me have  my cup first and then maybe I can still do that gelatin later plus all the other stuff....because I'm not a princess but I am a wife.

Thursday, August 5, 2010

The Making of a Cook-Wife

When some of my husband’s friends visited us one weekend, I made a comment that made them laugh. I told them I have cooked more in the almost two months I’m married than in all my single life combined.

I don’t cook. That’s where I’m categorized at amongst family and friends. For me then, there is more to life than cooking. I was used to living life to the fullest as able. Domesticity to me is sort of like an imprisonment. A lazy Sunday would mean either a TV marathon, take-out PIZZA plus finishing a good book or a big let’s go to the MALL and watch a movie event, my treat. When we have guests at home, Andok’s never let us down plus a can of ice cream. Spaghetti is the most complicated dish I would have tried that is done on a regular basis. And even when I would be excited to cook something, nobody shares my excitement so I just kind of let it die without trying.

But somewhere deep inside I knew I had some sort of affinity to cooking. When I was able to have my own condo unit thus my own kitchen, I started to discover the benefits of cooking. One is it keeps my mind off things. Cooking helps me focus on the task at hand and not overwork my mind about the emotional turmoil of my life or the mental stress from work. It calms me in essence and that is very important especially for such a hyperactive individual like me. I just can’t sit still.

And now just today, I can’t believe I have spent the entire morning watching cooking shows on TV. I watched interestingly as Danica Sotto made this soup with Dina B. on” Full time Moms” perfect for the rainy season , then I went on to watch “Sarap at home” as they churned out tuna kebabs ,” my favorite recipe” came up with sirloin steak curry and pansit molo and afterwards “Quickfire”s Menudo by Rosebud was a delight by using real tomatoes.

No, I did not grab a pen and paper to jot down the recipes, everything was just mentally stored for future use. I learned early on not to depend on recipes when cooking. They are just guide. I make my own rules. I cook what’s there, what I feel like, and I don’t measure things because I don’t want to repeat myself. I want every dish I cook to be unique never to be replicated because I never remember what I put in it exactly and how much. My main thing is the result and whether my hubby would put his thumbs up. I substitute ingredients very liberally as my resources are limited. The outcome is of course always something different than expected and that’s how I want it to be.

And since my husband is fond of soups, I do not have any fear of things going wrong so I’m a bit brave in this area. You can never burn a soup and/ or cook it prematurely especially when it comes to vegetables. If it’s a little under cooked then its good because raw is better for the health. If you simmer it longer than usual, the aroma sinks in more so it acquires a richer distinct taste. And I learned that when things get really bad, the salt and pepper tandem always come to the rescue plus you can do things over with a little more water.

My boss, who happens to be not that fond of cooking told me it is not really the cooking that turns her off but the cleaning after. And yes, sad to say… it goes with the territory. But through time, you learn to be more efficient, less messy . You learn to not cry when you chop onions or look with dread at all the chopping you still need to do before you combine everything on the pot like what they show in TV or you learn to protect yourself from the mini accidents of hot oil and wounded fingers. Blood and pain is all part of the experience.

My husband will be home in 4 hours. I’m off to cook my Broccoli with toasted almonds version for dinner. We play this game when he arrives, the what’s the name of the meal I cooked. And it’s fun.

We can surprise even ourselves sometimes. We become people we never thought we will be if we just try. So folks, next time you ask me, do I cook? I will reply back…. Like a Pro…:)  And for those who will not believe me, you are welcome to drop by my home and taste my creations.

Monday, August 2, 2010

Ants Out!

They came with a sudden force that I was caught totally unprepared for the battle ahead. With just a lift of that rice box I kept in the corner, they came scurrying out, filling all available space in the kitchen counter. I can’t seem to trace where they were coming from. My first instinct was to protect myself. I jumped up and down ridding my entire body of the little squirmy things. They were all over my neck, arms and legs. I could see small red swells developing everywhere in my skin. And then I got a little braver. After the momentary shock, I grabbed the rice box and rid it of its contents. But they remain scampering in the table despite the removal of the object.

Drown them! That was the first thing my mind registered. I immediately went to get water and then doused the flat surface with water and using a rag directed all towards the kitchen sink. Many perished.

I breathed a little sigh of relief and got to mixing detergent with water and cleaning the entire surface. I went back to the rice and placed them in a plastic bag, sealed them tight before putting them back to the now ant-free rice box.

Little did I know that such battle would just be the first of many encounters. The following day, they were back with a vengeance, not only did they invade the kitchen as they milled around a forgotten cooked rice grain hidden behind the rice cooker but they can now be found even in one of the rooms. I have this big box I kept in the corner to contain my excess clothes that could no longer fit in our cabinet dresser. I was trying to find some old clothes I could give away when lo and behold, all my clothes inside have these tiny pests covering them.

I told myself, I need to fight this intelligently. I went to the internet and googled for immediate tools I can use. And there I saw Johnson’s baby powder and apple cider vinegar. It also mentioned cinnamon and borax but I don’t have them handy in my place. I removed the boxes and moved them outside the house. The apple cider vinegar I was saving for my vegetable salad became my weapon of choice I diluted it with water and then doused the floor with it. I was relentless. I mopped my entire floor with vinegar. I cleaned all the corners of the kitchen cabinets and the table top with vinegar. I was it for 3 long hours. But finally it was done, the place was clean and smelly. I got the air freshener and sprayed everywhere. I took the Johnson’s baby powder and sprinkled them in the kitchen counter, the corners of the kitchen cabinet and even in our dining table where even the banana I placed there was not spared.

I’m getting used to the small bites. But I know I will need to strengthen myself for further onslaught.

My neighbor told me that our house is sitting on top of a former sugar agriculture land thus the ants are common here in Nasugbu, Batangas. The only real remedy is to maintain cleanliness and be vigilant with left-over food and make sure everything is sealed and out of the enemy’s smell and reach.

My husband is out during the day when they usually time their visits so I will be alone in this battle.

Let the battle begin …