Category: On Learning

My WordCamp Experience

I first found out about it through iMom’s post and even commented that I so wanna go. But after checking on WordCamp’s official site, there were no more slots opened for bloggers. I got kinda sad because I wanted to learn more about blogging and wanted to see what WordCamp was all about.

Nevertheless, I signed up for email updates to know more about WordCamp and whaddya’know? They came up with a blog contest saying they were giving away free tickets to the event. Yes, you read that right, free! Its either you tweet or make a blog about the sponsor and winners will be given free tickets to WordCamp, with all the freebies that come with it. I chose to blog about it and with another stroke of luck, I won!

So off I went last October 2, 2010 to the College of St. Benilde to attend WordCamp. It all felt surreal for me. I was like a student again attending a conference where I will meet participants from different schools. It was a nostalgic experience for me. It reminded me of debate competitions, of journalists seminars, of girl scout campings. I just loved it!

Hubby dropped me off right in time for the lectures. I even got to munch away the Krispy Kreme donuts they gave away for free and even drowned myself with the free-flowing coffee. The event was well attended by bloggers of all shapes, sizes and ages! I realized that the blogging industry has grown so big and everybody is just welcome regardless of age, profession or school.

After a day of WordCamp, I got to take home new experiences, new friendly faces, and new websites to explore. I also stashed away a Krispy Kreme gift certificate and one year free webhosting. I also met Mr. WordPress himself and got to listen to his few words.

It was an enriching experience all in all. One worth repeating and worth blogging. I hope to join again next year, when I am better in blogging and I can join advance lectures instead. 🙂

The country is currently swamped with news about the hostage crisis which lasted approximately twelve hours yesterday. TV reports and even internet articles are more or less focused on what happened last night. Personally, I feel devastated. It is even ironic that such tragedy happened at the very place where our current president was inaugurated.

I may not be an overly patriotic person, but I love my country to pieces. And its disheartening that one man’s personal quest now has trampled upon the entire nation’s reputation.

I pity those Hongkong nationals who only wanted to enjoy themselves and visit the Philippines. I pity the members of the assault team because of their unintentional shortcomings and their seeming lack of equipment and/or tactics. I pity our country who must suffer economically because of all these. We can continue to speculate and rant all we want, but lets just be glad its over.

There is no else to blame in this saga but the perpetrator himself. If he had problems with the justice system or if he feels he have been backstabbed by the police service, he could have held hostage all the corrupt officials for all he wanted, but he should not have dragged the lives of innocent people to the mud he is into. If he felt he is in hell for what happened, he should have stayed there and spared others.

Many nasty remarks about how the police handled the situation are being said. But I think they did what they can, maybe not enough, but they did what their trainings taught them. I have several policemen for clients and I sense they are not adequately trained too. The fact that they lacked equipment is not likewise their fault. It is the entire system that falls short of what police service must be. But to personally attack those police officers who happened to be on duty yesterday is in bad taste. I commiserate with the families of those police officers who could have felt like dying seeing their loved ones face death like that.

I don’t know what else is left of yesterday. One thing’s for sure though, lives were unthinkingly broken last night. Even those who survived the ordeal now have shattered lives. I cannot imagine seeing people being shot in front of my eyes. For sure, a lifetime of therapy cannot alter that.

I am hoping that no person can ever think like PSI Rolando Mendoza, ever again. He knew what he was doing was a mistake, but he wanted to prove that he is mighty and that he can hack it. But it is human nature to fail, to go through problems. But the world must not stop when that happens. When he lost his job, it was not the end of the world. His life did not begin and should not have ended with him being a policeman. He could have sold pancakes for all we care, but his ego was just too big for him to handle. If there was a mistake in how his case was disposed of, killing people surely would not reverse it.

I don’t know how this happened. Dang! Even the Ms. Universe 2010 hype has been stomped upon by that hostage crisis. Suddenly, Police Senior Inspector Rolando DR Mendoza is more famous than Maria Venus Raj. Maybe this is what he wanted, after all. But at whose expense? That part he may not have mulled over too much. He was just too keen in getting what he wanted, at the expense of people who did not even contribute one bit to his plight.

Now lets move on Philippines, there are so many things to do. Lets pray together for those broken lives, including that of Ronaldo Mendoza.

The Thursday a week before last, a good friend asked me if I still wanted a reservation at Fontana Leisure Park. I said yes, but due to budget constraints, we plan to go there August or September. She surprisingly said the Villa is free and that I would only have to pay for a meager sum as maintenance fee. So with just short notice, the whole family except for my eldest brother stayed at Fontana last weekend. Even if hubby and Ira just had fever that week, we simply could not resist the offer. But that’s not what my entry is all about. So fast forward to my real topic.

After a fun weekend, we arrived home Monday afternoon, just a little past 5PM. Before we left, we had to close the water meter because hubby involuntarily messed with the shower handle, thus the leak. Our doggie Buster was reeking with his pee and poo combined (ulk!) so we had to wash him instantly. I asked (our newest) Ate to open the water meter. She came back and simply said “nakapadlock po”. I thought she was referring to the railings around the water meter, so hubby said he will be the one to do the honors.

So there came hubby to open, and voila! The water meter was indeed padlocked! By whom? Our good ole’ service provider, Manila Water. I have always taken pride with the fact that our area has good water service.  Even in the latest issue of water shortage in the metropolis, we were not a bit affected. But on that particular afternoon, I wanted to strangle to death whoever caused the padlocking of our water meter.

I immediately went to check our bill and we all realized that we missed the due date of our bill. This month’s water bill was a disaster because we had a flush leak, so there was somewhat a thousand percent increase in our regular bill. Yes, almost a thousand percent! But that’s another story, of course.

I called up 1627, the customer service of Manila Water. A friendly Abigail answered the line. After some verification questions, I went ahead with my complaint. I lamented that they (whoever did it!) shouldn’t have padlocked our meter considering there was no one to give consent because not a single soul was home. Much to my dismay, she retorted that it was SOP that when there is a disconnection notice for a certain customer and their people go to check if it has been paid, and there was no one at home, they will disconnect it. That answer fueled my fire inasmuch as I said they are public utility service, with full emphasis on the last word. So I said, where is the service? For all you know, the customer died. Or someone from his family died. Or he had an accident. Or whatever. It would have been more prudent for them to come back the next day to check if that customer still hasn’t paid.

I told her I have a one-year-old baby and a sick father who cannot stand, even just for a night, without water. I told her further that we have work the next day, and how do they suppose we go to work? Without a bath?

She kindly suggested that I can pay through any 7-11 branch and call them again to request for the reconnection of our service. Dear Abigail assured that it can be reconnected even at night. Okay, I thought.

I asked hubby and my brother to rush to the nearest 7-11 and pay our bill plus the reconnection fee. I told Abigail that I am paying that stupid reconnection fee under protest, just so I can have my service back.

After 10 minutes or so, our bill was settled. So there I was dialing the same number with a different agent answering my call, this time it was Catherine. When I gave her the details of my receipt, she went on to say that it is “possible” that our service can be reconnected that day, with a maximum of five days. Its like the devil got into me after hearing the words “possible” and “five days” that I shouted, “Five days! Do you know what you are talking about!” She went on to show empathy on the line by apologizing for the inconvenience. I said no. Do not give me the empathy spiel coz you do not have an idea as to how I feel. I said I used to work in a call center, I don’t need the damn spiel.

I asked Catherine if she has a baby. She said no. So I said, then you don’t know how I feel. We do not have a single drop of water. I need my service back. I told her that Abigail assured me that it can be done so I wouldn’t have it any other way. I further told her that if they do not remove the padlock in an hour, I will have to remove it myself. She said I shouldn’t do that lest I pay a penalty for doing such. I laughed at the idea of the penalty and told her that when they disconnected my service, it was because I reneged on my obligation to pay on time. But now that my obligation has been fulfilled, I have every right to access to my water service, so in an hour, whether they are there or not, I will have my service back, and I then I hang up.

After about thirty minutes, we heard the faucet in the bathroom running. They didn’t bother to buzz and tell us that they are reconnecting the service. Anyways, I didn’t care anymore just as long as my service is back.

I have usual bouts with these customer service people. This usually happens with my phone service, especially when DSL connection is a problem.

I commiserate with them because I, too, have been a call center agent once. I know how it feels to deal with an irate caller. And yes, I try to talk to the agents as pacified as possible. I just hate it when they tend to give me BS and spiels, which I know they have memorized over time. I especially hate it when one agent promises you one thing and another agent says its not possible. I have had these a hundred of times already and I am sick of it.

Nevertheless, we had a happy ending. We got our service back and we were all happy. I plan to write our provider about this nonchalant treatment of their customers.  My neighbor told me that they saw these people who padlocked the meter and she informed them to come back the next day as no one was home. I understand these people are merely sub-contractors, being measly paid for every water meter disconnected. I perfectly understand too that as customers, it is our own lookout to pay on time. But when no one is home, shouldn’t you think again and come back the next day? Who knows what happened to these people. Even MERALCO doesn’t cut services that way.

I don’t know. Sometimes the word “service” has no meaning anymore. Sometimes business is more important than true service and these utility service providers tend to forget why they exist in the first place.

I used to wonder what’s the big fuss about motherhood and the concomitant celebration of Mothers’ Day. I used to believe all the hype about motherhood is much too much sometimes. But when I became a mother myself, I realized all the fuss is not overkill. It can never be enough to explain or salute all the terrains of the greatest journey there is…motherhood.

Next week my baby will turn a year old. I have just been a mother for that short a period of time. But it is by far, the most fulfilling and greatest year of my life. I have learned things in my life that I may never have learned were it not for my being a mother.

Sometimes I think of the things I could have easily achieved if I was single, or something like that. But when I look at my husband and my precious little daughter, all answers yield to the fact that I have more than I could ever ask for in a lifetime.

While it is true that motherhood is a 24/7 job which you cannot take a leave from, which you cannot resign from, it is the best job in the world. Its compensation, albeit far from monetary,  is a million times more rewarding. The incessant hugs and kisses, the simple yet pure smiles, the contagious giggles and laughters, these and more, reward a mother in ways that no company can ever pay for.

This is the first mothers day where tons of people have greeted me. They felt much too special because I really feel happy being a mother. I will not deny that it gets tiring at times. I work throughout the day and go home to take care of my little one. My physical and mental capacities sometimes tire me out but they are just reflections of my human side for I will never grow tired of being the mother of my wonderful little princess. It is the best job that God has chosen for me. And I vow to do my best, for as long as I can, for my daughter.

I know there will be hard times in the future, but I know that they’re nothing compared to the beauty of being a mother. And when the going gets tough and my daughter breaks my heart, I will remind myself of that moment I first held her in my arms…surreal and perfect. Coz that’s what motherhood really is.

Best Mommy Moments with 3-Day-Old Ira

And to my own mother who has raised me to be who I am, thank you. You may not be able to read this, but I want to tell you that I appreciate you beyond your imperfections and misgivings. You have taught me things about motherhood and I will forever be grateful to you. I am sorry for the heartbreaks I caused you and I promise to be as strong as you if and when I encounter the same heartbreaks in the future. I promise to be the best daughter to you from this day forward for I understand now, more than ever, your travails and difficulties. Love you Ima and Happy Mothers’ Day to you.

@ Fontana for Ima's Bday

Beware: This is a long post. It was such an experience that I could not leave out details.

I am not kidding when I say that the other day I asked loudly how it feels to be towed by a truck, and that today that question was answered.

In a previous post, I have mentioned that our dear Zsa-Zsa, our Hyundai Grace had a bout of breakdown in NLEX. Since then, we never really got to use her regularly because problems in her never seem to end. But lately, we found a good mechanic who helped Zsa-Zsa get back on her feet. The aircon of the van seemed to lose freon, enough to leave us sweating like pigs in a hot day like this. But fair enough, we get to use her everyday to and fro work since its repair last week.

My Kuya Mike (eldest bro) will be moving to BF Paranaque from his current Mandaluyong apartment. He has been wanting to use Zsa-Zsa to move his things little by little but I have been very reluctant because I am unsure if Zsa-Zsa is already in good running condition. But he’s very insistent so much so that I gave in the other night.

He called me yesterday to tell stories about what happened to them en route to Paranaque, that they had a hard time driving the van and the engine stopped more than ten times. I was like, ten times? Barrage of questions came out but he said, oh the van is okay. In fact, it ran very well save for the engine stops we had, the driver wasn’t just used to driving vans kasi daw.

So this morning, hubby and I left early for work because the company has a General Assembly at 7:30A.M. Imagine our dismay when five minutes into driving, well dressed and very fresh, Zsa-Zsa suddenly stops just as we are about to go up the Makati-Mandaluyong Bridge. Hubby and I looked at each other, our minds asking each other, did Zsa-Zsa just die on us for no reason at all? I thought, WTF! This is not happening. Hubby pressed on the hazard button, but no, its not working. He tried to start the engine, no nothing, not even a spurting sound. We were on the verge of climbing the bridge such that we were hanging there, like in the movies, when the cars are about to go down the cliff. That feeling too, exactly.

I went down and looked for big stones to prevent the van from going downhill and hitting other cars (at this instance, hubby’s foot is aching for pressing hard on the brakes, because the darn handbrake just wouldn’t work!). I asked myself why aren’t there stones anymore on the streets? Only garbages. Blah! I didn’t give up and saw a big one after I went down the bridge (thankful for the staircase for commuters) and placed it under the tires of Zsa-Zsa. Hubby then happily removed his foot from the brakes.

Some few minutes before I went down to look for stones, a car behind us and an Isuzu Crosswind bumped each other. I imagine the frustrations and dismay of both  drivers. I can see in their faces that they want to blame us but we were in the right most portion of the bridge, and we were not really obstructing their way, if they would be vigilant enough to avoid us.

Then came the endless phone calls to everyone we know about what we can do. Hubby called his brother Patrick and asked for the number of the towing service near our place, Viray Towing Service. BIL then called up the towing service, and voila! About 10 minutes after, the towing service is there.

The MAPSA officer with the name of Navotas on his shirt was very helpful. He even checked the van and told us it was the battery connection which encountered problem. He tried fixing it but we left all our tools at home. Another MAPSA officer then arrived and bullied his way around us, saying that we should be towed by a Makati  accredited towing service. I told him its up to us to choose any towing service we like, after all, this is not illegal parking or anything of that sort. He retorted:

“Ma’am, paliwanag ko po sa inyo ha, meron pong towing ang Makati, kaya dapat yun ang magtow sa inyo. San ba kayo?”

I told him we live in Mandaluyong and that we opted for the Mandaluyong towing service. He insisted that we should take the Makati towing service, even instructing Officer Navotas to call them. He turned to me and asked again, “San ba kayo, ma’am?

At that instance, I realized he was referring to my work, or something like that. So with much bravado, I introduced myself, saying the magic word “A-T-T-Y” and mentioned the company I am connected with. Hubby and I were both wearing the official shirt of the company so I guess he should have known that. After that, he hurriedly left the place, hoping he would go unnoticed. I thought like, what an a-hole. Really, what’s with Filipinos and titles anyways? Maybe if I was just an ordinary employee, he would have bullied us until we are forced to take their towing service.

I then questioned their authority to be there because we were still within Mandaluyong area, thus outside their jurisdiction already. The friendly Officer Navotas then humbly said that they were just assisting us. I almost said, yeah, maybe you, but not that a-hole there. Ugh!

To cut the long story short, we were towed all right. It felt funny, different and embarrassing. Well, not to others, but to ourselves. I felt embarrassed that I have always looked at those people inside towed vehicles in a funny sort of way, now it happened to me. It was tiring and difficult to manage all the stress that comes with it. So from now on, I will not teasingly look at those people anymore, but will empathize with them. We came late for work and missed the General Assembly but we came in with a new experience and new stories to tell.

Lessons I learned today (and tips on what to do if it happens to you):

1. Save the contact numbers of a reliable towing service in your cellphone or planner. Thats the first thing we worried the most. Good thing we have families around who can look for numbers we need on days like this. But to save from hassle, its better to have those numbers handy.

2. You always need cash in case of emergency. If you don’t, you will not be able to remedy the situation. Hubby and I are always used to bringing  just 100 bucks or so in our wallets whenever we drive to work, thinking we would not need money along the way. Today is one of the few days we carried extra cash. Call it tough luck.

3. Negotiate the price of the towing service. I called the number given by my BIL even if he already called it to know how much the fee is. As we all know, towing fees are quite pricey. So when the person I talked to told me that the fee is P1,700.00, I said whhhaaat? For few kilometers? They said they have a fixed price. I haggled with them, and asked for the person who is authorized to give discounts. After much haggling, mentioning that the distance where we will be towed from up to our house is not even 4 kilometers, even saying we are just “kapitbahay”, he agreed to give it to us for P1,200.00. I felt I could have negotiated for a lower price, but I was too stressed to do that so I agreed na rin.

All in all, it was an enlightening experience. But once is enough to last a lifetime. Although hubby and I were laughing about the experience, I wouldn’t want the same experience anymore. At least my question has been answered, and I will stop wondering from now on. 🙂

First Hospital Experience

A year ago, Doc Abad, my very pretty Ob/Gyne, advised me for admission due to my urinary tract infection. I was in my last trimester then and was not really experiencing pain except that the results for my annual physical exam at work yielded to Anemia and UTI. I have a nephrolithiasis and have a recurrent UTI and was undergoing medication before I got pregnant. Sure, I have the knack for salty foods and can barely make the requirement of 8 glasses of water a day, but I never thought it could affect my pregnancy that much.

My OB said that I have to see her personally after I get a urine culture. The results showed that only IV antibiotics can be used on me by reason of my pregnancy. I have well prepared myself for a hospitalization for my baby’s delivery, but not for this one. When Doc Abad told me that, I thought uh-oh, I’m not so ready yet for the hospital. I have always been scared of needles and the mere smell of the hospital makes my tummy tumble upside down. But for the precious little person inside me, I had to do it.

the first of many needles that year

So to my veins went the needles and the everyday battle with the nurses and the taking of the medicines lasted for exactly seven days. It has been exactly a year since that day.

The sad part of that hospitalization experience is that my dear hubby had to take days off from work and the date of my discharge unfortunately had to fall on my hubby’s birthday. I am the luckiest person coz my hubby was so understanding that he didn’t even feel sad about spending  half of his special day in the hospital.

We were still able to celebrate his birthday with a lovely (but spur-of-the-moment) dinner prepared by my Ima with the whole family, in-laws included.

It was a very surreal but illuminating experience. I learned that you can overcome even your most dreaded fears, that you are strong beyond your beliefs. That your fears are nothing compared to your capabilities as a person. I happily went through that experience without a scratch.

More importantly, I felt good that I was able to get through it with my dear hubby beside me each and everyday. He never left my side. Not even a moment. Oh well, except for the times he had to buy food for us, he was always at my side. He did almost everything for me. He bathed me, changed my clothes, combed my hair and fed me. He did things for me that I never thought he could. I realized then how much he can do for me. And if only for that, my first hospital experience was worth all the needles and all the pains. 🙂

Holy week last year, I was in my third trimester already and did not want to travel far. Hence, hubby and I just stayed at home and watched DVDs. We just went Bisita Iglesia on Good Friday and enjoyed the silence of our home the rest of the week.

Today is much different. We have a tumbling little darling at home who endlessly blabbers and demands attention most of the time that make me doubt if I will be able to rest. It would probably be a luxury for me this long weekend to be able to use the internet without a frantic yelling from Ira. Add that to the fact that her Ate is not so reliable as the previous one.

I am happy though that Ryan expressed his intentions to do Bisita Iglesia again this Friday, except that Zsa -Zsa doesn’t seem cooperative these days. All in all, I just want us to rest and I just want Ryan to be able to catch up on his review  for his upcoming LOMA exam this May. Ate Kriselle’s sudden disappearance has caused a lot of frenzy in our lives that many things suffered setbacks. We are at the point of recovering from these setbacks right now and I am hoping this Holy Week can be a good start.

My Ima is probably wallowing about the fact that I am reluctant to go home to Pampanga because of Ryan’s review. My dear husband did not really ask it from me, but I took it upon myself to decide to stay at home for his review. Maybe we can make it up with Ima next time. Maybe next year we can come with a better plan for Holy Week for the entire family. Ira will be a little bigger and we can bring her almost anywhere.

This week though is meant to be for quiet time. It is meant to be for praying, for assessing our values and for praising God for all the blessings we have despite our being sinners. I am not a pious person and I hardly qualify as an upright one. But I try my best to work on the relationships I have with the people around me.

Right now, I am just quietly raising my thoughts to God and am infinitely asking for forgiveness for all my iniquities. I pray that I can be a better daughter to Him and be a better human being for everyone else. I pray that I can truly inculcate in me the lessons of this Holy Week and imbibe it not just today but for the rest of the year, or of my life. I pray for everyday guidance because my life is not just about me anymore, but it is also about another little person whom I have brought out into this world. 🙂

For all of us, I hope we can all just pray intently and renew our values. For those who have chosen to spend the week out of town, may it be in a beach or in a pilgrim, I pray for their safety and I hope that this week’s lessons be with them wherever they go. I hope we can all take this opportunity to just be calm and be quiet and forget about the hassles of this world. For several days, we get to take a leave from work and be with our loved ones. That in itself a big blessing from God.

Have a truly holy week everyone! May we all be continually blessed by God. 🙂

Holy Week

The first thing I do upon waking up, aside from thanking God for another waking day, is check my cellular phone for time and for new messages, if any. This morning was not any different, except for the first message I saw. It was a text message from a good friend and colleague, Atty. Inocencio Vivero, Jr. It was a message informing family and friends that his eldest daughter, Lianne, passed away this morning.

I sat up immediately to check if I was reading it correctly. I told Ryan about the news and he was likewise surprised. He checked his phone and had the same message from Ino. I sighed heavily and almost cried on my knees.

Lianne looked as healthy as any bouncy girl. She was just eight years old, if I’m not mistaken. She was plump and always smiling. I was not really her godmother but she always treated me like one.

As of this time, I really do not know the immediate cause of her death. All I knew is that her Leukemia had relapsed recently. We were supposed to see each other in a birthday party of a friend’s son but it coincided with Lianne’s check-up. Days after, Ino informed us that the Leukemia had relapsed. I did not specifically know that she was confined in the hospital for the last weeks or so had I not seen in his Facebook account. I have been telling Ryan yesterday that if she is still in the hospital in the weekend, then we’ll go see her.

Ino was my classmate in college but we went to different law schools. I can say that we were really never friends before but when we worked together for the Elections last 2007, we bonded so well that we became good friends. I even got him as Ira’s godfather.

We started working together September of 2006. It was around that time when Lianne was diagnosed with Leukemia. I always admired how his wife, Sheba, took care of their children, being a stay-at-home mom. The day we found out the possibility of her illness, I went to San Juan de Dios Hospital and accompanied Ino and Sheba. I was not yet a mother then but I already felt their pain. They appreciated the fact that I was there because they did not know what to do. Came then the successive cycles of chemotherapy and the continuous medications. Everything was doing well for Lianne. Personally, I included her in every novena I had. I always commiserated with them because for a very young couple, it was a very burdensome test from God.

But they did no flinch. They knew Lianne could survive the Big C.

Lianne, on her part, showed more courage that a 6-year-old child may hardly have. It was difficult for all the needles that came through her skin but she never complained. I have seen other children confined in a hospital and they are either hysterically crying all the time or just plain grumpy. But not Lianne. She was as pacified as she can be. Whenever she got scared because tests will be made on her, she would quietly shed tears. When blood came out of her nose, my friend Chubby and I instantly cried. Sheba jokingly said that there is a no crying policy in the hospital. Their battle for Lianne lasted for more than three years and they mightily survived.

July last year, Lianne was pronounced to have zero cancer cells. It was a very joyous thing for Ino’s entire family. I was one of the many friends who shared with their joy.  I even remember Ino blogging seriously about it. They even visited our home late December last year and I cooked dinner for them. They liked the Nachos I prepared and gobbled on fries while playing Wii with her sister Daphne and brother Joaqs.

But just this March, the doctor of Lianne said the Leukemia relapsed. I knew so well that Lianne could surpass this one as much as she did the last time. I always admired the little girl’s strength. But I was wrong. Maybe she was tired. And maybe, she did not want to further subject her family to more agony.

I cannot, for the life of me, begin to imagine the pain of Ino and Sheba. I am a mother now and I understand, more or less, all the pains that come with being a parent. I cannot even blink my eyes to even try imagining how they feel right now. I will not wish such pain on anyone. But I know they will come through this. This I have learned in my regular visits to Noemi Dado’s blog.

Lianne’s death came just in time for the Holy Week when we need to mull over things and re-assess our lives. All deaths leave us a lesson that time is fleeting and that we have to seize each moment. I am glad, somehow, that Lianne’s entire family was able to pamper her for the last two years or so. Maybe thats the goodness of knowing someone is ill, it gives you a chance to savor each day with them.

I am hoping though that we will all learn to pamper our loved ones, in a way that we will feel its enough (although it will never be enough) so that when the end inevitably comes, we will be assured that we have made them feel our love.

When I asked Ino if they need any help with anything, his reply to me was:

“Magkita kita lang tayong masaya sa harap ni lianne, ok na yun mare.”

I almost cried with his reply. Cliche’ aside,I am sure Lianne is happy now.  She was a very good girl and accepted her plight with the maturity that none of us may have.

I remember Lianne’s reply when Ino and Sheba told her that she may lose her hair because of the chemotherapy. She said and I quote (not verbatim):

“Magsusuot na lang ako ng hat. Bilhan nyo na lang ako ng hat.”

I was deeply touched by her acceptance. Lianne’s hair grew back just fine, it even became beautifully curly, like that of a doll.

I will no longer see her shy smile.  Ino will no longer share stories about her daughter’s battle with Leukemia. He will no longer ask for prayers for Lianne’s recovery. I will always look for her unassuming eyes. After she gives me a kiss on the cheek, she will always just answer shyly to my questions. I have always admired Lianne’s good heart. Her kindness never failed to light up a dim room. It always reverberated to touch my heart. For the few years that I have come to know her, I have learned from her a lot about loving, giving and fighting.

Being a mother myself, I know how difficult it is to go through the days knowing that your very precious child has passed away. As they all say, no parent should bury his own child. Just thinking about it brings throngs of pain to my heart. And I will not even attempt to tell Ino nor Sheba that things will be okay. I will just let them be and let them grieve for I am certain that their pain is beyond words.

Grieving is the process they have to go through and much as I try to, I will not wholly understand the process. All I can do is to pray with them. And I will do that for them until their hearts are completely healed.

I cannot deny though that it is saddening that the world lost another good soul. But I know inasmuch as Ino and Sheba know, that Lianne is now healed and happier.

We will all see her up there…someday. 🙂

Amidst the busy schedule of preparing things for Ira’s 1st birthday, we were surprised last week with a high grade fever from Ira.

She started to have the fever Tuesday night, with a whopping 38.8 degrees. I say whopping coz its technically the first time she has ever had fever (aside from the effect of an immunization) and it was way above what I expected. We gave her paracetamol and we weren’t able to sleep. I went on leave from work since Wednesday until Friday. For me, nothing mattered more than looking after my baby.

After several talks with Doc Cathy, we were assured there was nothing to worry since Ira was still active during the day and was eating well. But at night, Ira would refuse to sleep on the bed. She required me to stand up for hours, just like when she was just a newborn. I almost broke my back tending after her, but I didn’t want to upset her anymore than she already was. On Saturday, the rashes we were told to watch out for came out. Doc Cathy said it was just “tigdas hangin” and it was viral in nature, nothing to worry, it shall pass. But dear hubby wanted to make sure, so we went to the clinic for lab tests.

But Ira was hysterical the moment it dawned on her that blood samples will be taken from her. The Med Tech couldn’t place the rubber in her arm and said no clear veins can be seen on her. Translation:  Trouble for all of us. I knew Ira would refuse with all her might to give the blood samples. I asked if pricking will be sufficient. After several attempts and tons of decibels from Ira’s screams and cries, we gave in. Prick na lang.

Turned out that Ira is healthy naman, no dengue scare or whatever. Platelets are okay but the rashes kept coming  out. Good thing the fever was totally gone by Friday night.

I had some sort of argument with hubby coz I opposed the blood tests. I know its just to make sure that Ira is fine, but as her Mom, I knew she was fine. I knew it was nothing worse. I knew it as I held her to sleep for several days. But to buy peace, I gave in.

It was very difficult to have a sick baby. I can imagine other parents having worse cases with their babies. This is why I cry when I see people on TV who have problems with their babies. I commiserate with them. I cannot, for the life of me, see myself in a position where I am fighting against a worse kind of illness for my baby.

This is why today, on her 9th month of making our lives complete, I only have thankfulness in my heart that Ira is as healthy as she can be. She has never had coughs, colds or anything of that sort. She has never had diarrhea or any problem which needed hospitalization. Maybe because aside from prayers, I make sure that no one smokes in the house coz from experience, I know it brings a lot of sickness on babies. And no, I dont want that on my baby.

So now, Im back to work again. Piles of documents for notarization, contracts for review, and hearings for the week await me. Its okay that Ryan and I weren’t able to go on a date on Valentine’s day. There are other days for that. Ira needed us more at home.

That also applies as to questions why I went on leave for the days that she was sick. I am a mother. I am required to do more than that, if deemed necessary. Actually, for the days that I was with her, I realized more that I’d really love to stay at home, or work part time just to be with her more.

So my dear Ira, Happy 9th month birthday! Please be super well na. You scared Mommny and Daddy. Thank you for being a very strong and healthy baby. Help Mommy and Daddy be the best parents for you, ha? Mommy will cook later for you, so just wait at home. I miss you already. Those 5 days straight that Mommy had with you are by far the best days of the year for her. Love you anak.

Silent Prayer

There is no way I can call myself as a religious person. Perhaps, prayerful is the apt word. I studied in an all-girls Catholic School in High School and I have had my share of learning the Bible and praying the rosary everyday during Octobers.

In one activity we had, there was a Kuya who taught us to pray about anything and everything in our lives. He said that God is flattered whenever we bring up things to Him. He said God already knows our every prayer, our every desire. But its a joy for Him that we, as His people, turn to Him for the things we need. That lesson stuck with me… even until now.

When I was in Law School (I am known to be always late for classes), I would pray always to God not to make me late.  Hehe. I would pray that the professor has something else to attend to. I would pray that the rain would stop when its time to go home from school. When I took the Bar, I prayed that I wouldn’t have tummy aches, that my food will taste good, that I wouldn’t be sick, etc. During the examination proper, whenever my mind would go blank, I would pray that He give my pen the power to answer on its own. While waiting for the results (for a mind-numbing period of 6 months!), I would pray everyday, as in everyday, that the Examiner who will check my paper will be in perfect health and that he or she be in a good mood the moment he or she reads my answers. I had the most ridiculous sounding prayers maybe, but it worked all the time.

On one occasion, I lied to my Mom that I had classes just to get my “baon” (I know! Silly me, huh?). I went to Recto Ave. in Manila and went to a supermarket to buy with my “baon” junk foods, cookies, juice and what-have-you that I liked. I took the jeepney to get home and while the driver waited in line until its full, three men walked in and sat in different places. Oh no! I knew instantly that these men were up to something bad. I stammered in my prayers and prayed to God that I be spared from harm. Just as the jeep crossed Recto Ave., they immediately stood up and announced hold-up. I continued with my prayers and can vividly remember my exact prayer at that time:

“God, please help me become invisible. Please don’t let these bad guys see me. Please help us all here.”

I knew I stammered between Our Father and the Apostles’ Creed. During the hold-up, one of the bad guys stepped on my foot, with his back against me. I saw his fingers inside the gun, ready to pull the trigger if anyone dared to fight them. Believe it or not, the whole ordeal only lasted barely for three (3) dragging minutes. When they alighted from the jeepney, I stopped holding on to my bag and sighed a prayer of relief.

No one was harmed and only pieces of jewelery were taken away. I was never a jewelery person so I was spared. They did not dare to take away bags or ask for cellphones. I say they were good to us, compared to the hold-uppers now who are bolder and vulgar with getting their ways. I was lucky and blessed that time.

Lesson? Don’t lie to your Mom. Haha.

No, really. Such was part of what I learned. If I didn’t lie and stayed at home, I wouldn’t have experienced it. But I learned more that prayers work. They do. My prayers for the Bar really did. I passed the Bar even though some who failed it deserved to pass more than I did. But with my fervent prayers, God inescapably gave me my heart’s desire.

I still pray the same way. You can imagine my prayers now for Ira, huh? When I told my friend I pray for Pacquiao before his every fight, she laughed and found it amusing. Maybe because prayers are all I have at times. When I’m stressed, I just sigh a prayer to God. For someone who has the same age as mine, I am an overly stressed person. I have too many worries because I have so many things to take care of.  That is why sometimes, prayer is my only way of release.

Right now, I have a special but silent prayer to God. I don’t know how to ask it from Him but I know He hears me. I have asked many things from Him and I know He will give me this if today is the right time. 🙂