Last Monday, our family went on a day-trip to the beach. It was absolutely awesome. And in the afternoon, as I was sitting on the shore, soaking up the sun, I just couldn’t help but look at my eldest daughter. Noelle was resting in the dining parasol at that time. I was just quietly watching how Danae played in the sand, how she swam in the water, how she interacted with her cousins, how she stared, how she walked, how she crouched down to get or pour water, how she smiled. I was also marveling at how beautifully tanned she was. I tell you, I could have watched her all day. I was just in a state of gratitude and inexplicable joy, knowing that I have such a beautiful daughter in front of me and another absolutely adorable one in the back of me, and that I am their mom.
You know, when I became a mom, things sort of came naturally for me. I had some help in the beginning, as my mom’s sister was here to teach me the basics, but even then, I did most of it myself. I didn’t want King to clean Danae when it was time for a nappy change because I didn’t want to risk her getting an infection, especially since she’s a girl. That was my choice. I did not want a nanny because I wanted to be hands-on and I don’t think I could trust anybody with my precious baby at that point. The only people that I trusted to change Danae’s nappy and bathe her were my aunt, King’s mom, and King’s sister. And that wasn’t often. King started helping me bathe Danae when she was probably a year old. And even when I finally surrendered and we hired a reliable nanny when Danae was 2 years and 4 months old, it was still King and I who bathed her, changed her, fed her, and put her to bed.
When Noelle was born, it was pretty much the same, but because she was bigger and easier to handle than itty bitty Danae, King was able to wash Noelle early on. The bathing was still left to me, of course, until Noelle turned 8 months or so. We lost our nanny when Noelle was almost a month old, and survived without one for almost a year. Right now, we still don’t have a full time nanny, but the old reliable nanny came back as our household help. She helps me out with the kids from time to time. I’m grateful for her because she knows my standards already and my kids love her, but King and I still wash our girls, bathe them, and put them to sleep almost every single time, every day and every night.
I must say that since our old nanny came back, King and I have been able to go out alone more. When Danae was born, my motto was “where I go, Danae goes”. So she was with me in nearly every meeting, every party, every trip. It was difficult, but I couldn’t stand the idea of my baby being left alone with someone I couldn’t trust. Plus, I breastfed and was not successful at pumping, so it was hard to often leave her with the in-laws, aside from the fact that they lived miles away from us (Caloocan, then Pasig). When we had our nanny, the motto became “where I go, Danae & Cendy go” hahaha. I still couldn’t leave them at home unsupervised, unless they were going to be with family or close friends. When Noelle was born, it was doubly difficult without a nanny, but wherever I went, both girls were with me also. But then I didn’t go out as often anymore, and the motto became “if King’s not with us, don’t go out”. That still applies today, except that we can choose to leave the kids with Cendy, our trusted helper, when we need to but only for a few hours. Although I experience some resistance on the very few times that I or we go out without them, I am grateful that I am secure that my kids will be okay while I’m momentarily gone.
I am a mother. I am called to be a mother. I am grateful that I have been there since the very beginning, able to care for my children & take care of their needs, to foster their growth & development, to teach them their amazing tricks, to witness their milestones & be surprised by them, to see and help them experience new things, to help build their character by disciplining them, to disciple them and impart to them our love for God & watch their love for God grow. These are the joys of motherhood. These are my joys. No material wealth nor a successful career can entice me to leave my kids and let them be raised by anyone else. Every juggling act I did in carrying Danae while pushing the stroller around the mall & up the escalator, every muscle ache I got from carrying Noelle in Negros, in Disneyland and in Caliraya, every scab I got from breastfeeding Danae, every back ache I get from breastfeeding Noelle all night, every sleepless night from putting the girls to sleep when they were newborns, every inconvenience from changing dirty diapers in public restrooms, every moment I spent at home instead of going to a wedding or a meeting or a party that I really really wanted to attend, every stressful moment I spent breastfeeding outside the comfort of my own home or car (only when I still didn’t have my breastfeeding poncho, which means 10 months with Danae & a few months with Noelle), every discomfort in taking care of Danae in the hospital while very much pregnant, every postponed small group meeting because I had to attend to an infant or a sick child, every ounce of energy in my body used to talk to and play with my girls – get on all fours with them, jump around, run, dance, sing, read, teach, look like a total idiot, every bit of patience I have to use when disciplining them, every single second that I could take for myself but do not because my children need me……they’re all worth my effort. I can’t even call it sacrifice because it isn’t. To me, it’s commitment. Though it is difficult, inconvenient and stressful, and though I may whine & complain at times, I am totally committed and fully invested in raising my kids with King. I love my children and I love being their mom. There’s nothing in this world that brings me greater joy than being my girls’ mother. What a truly wonderful gift from God.
I wrote this blog a year ago (May 6, 2010). Today, without a nanny again, I still feel the same way, and I’m pretty sure each mother does too. Happy mothers’ day beautiful mommies! 🙂