Motherhood, My Kids

It’s a good thing!

I am a stay-at-home mom. Even though my older girls go to school everyday, I am with them at breakfast and after school. It’s not often that I go out, though I do drive them to their after-school and weekend activities, because the littlest one is with me. I have to plan my moves. I’m blessed that my mom stays with us and I can now leave Gianna with her sometimes. We have a Manang and the two older girls can pretty much fend for themselves. Many times, I bring a kid or the kids along when I have a meeting in church on a weekday and King can be bothered. There is strength in numbers, so I feel safer when all 3 or 2 are together at home as opposed to leaving only 1 at home alone with Manang (on the times that my mom is not around). As much as I can help it, I don’t stay out long either. In other words, we’re together a whole lot.

But, on the rare occasion that I leave without them, they’re always chatty when I come back! So chatty, that they fight for my attention. “Mom! Mom! Look at this.” “You know what, mom?” “Mom, look what I made.” “Mom, look what I can do.” “Mom, can I show you something?” “Heeeey, I was talking to mom first.” The littlest one now knows to say “Mom! Talk to me.” Hahaha. Sometimes they overwhelm me. King jokes that they miss me. We’re always together!

But I realize that my children love to talk to me. They want to spend time with me. They enjoy my company. They’re not tired of me (yet). Even when I embarrass them (deliberately or accidentally), I know they secretly like it. They laugh at and with me. They want my attention, my affection, and my opinion. The older ones complain when they notice that I leave home like 3 days in a row. It’s tiring at times, and the pressure is incredible. But you know what, it’s a good thing! My kids not only love me. THEY LIKE ME! They really really like me! Hahahaha.

When Gianna knows I’ve parked, she already goes to the window and screams for me. “Mommy? Weeeeee mommy’s here!” Sometimes she’ll say “You’re back, mommy? Yay!” She makes my heart smile each time. I think (I hope) she is past her recent phase of wanting me by her side at all times, like she would call me IN A PANIC, once she realizes that I’m not near her. She would cry for me not to go to the bathroom! Anyway, the older girls don’t get as excited, but they’re always happy to see me too.

Thank you Lord for this massive blessing. To be loved AND liked by my kids is indeed a good thing. ❤

Children are a gift from the Lord;
    they are a reward from him. Psalm 127:3

 

Motherhood, Parenting

MY JOY

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! 🙂

FEATURED

FRANTIC and FRUITFUL FEBRUARY 2

A friend and church-mate, Ms Evelyn Ong, and her group built this tradition of blessing the girls of Marillac Hills, Muntinlupa every year. This is their fourth year of doing this outreach, and they gave me the privilege to share God’s word.

Because it was February, the theme was God’s love. I had the liberty to choose what message to share and because the girls there have sensitive cases, I chose to share about Identity, but the bottom line of every point was how much God loves them. My brilliant husband gave me the idea for a prop to use as the object lesson.

I made a mini cake out of clay. I created it myself and I thought the outcome was pretty good. It was my first time to make one. I loved my creation. It was valuable in my eyes. It was complete, whole, beautiful.

God created us, therefore He knows every single little detail about us. God created us beautiful, whole, at peace, and with a purpose. We are His creation, His most valued, His masterpiece, His beloved.

Everybody thought my creation was nice. As I ended my “preaching,” I asked a volunteer to come up and destroy the cake. A couple of them didn’t want to do it because it was too pretty to destroy. The whole place echoed with shouts, as they seriously tried to dissuade the last volunteer from touching it. But she finally did, at my encouragement.

When sin, whether our own or others’,  destroys, devastates, depresses us, we end up different from how God made us, how God sees us. No longer beautiful, no longer whole, no longer at peace — broken, bitter, disillusioned, lost.

My cake looked trashed. The princess was on the floor and cut in half, the decorations were a mess. Some even said it had turned ugly. Many agreed with me when I asked, that that was how they felt at times after bad things happened to them.

Just as I can easily recreate what my volunteer destroyed, GOD CAN EASILY RESTORE AND RENEW WHAT SIN AND SATAN HAS DESTROYED. Just as only I can fix the mini clay cake and make it look exactly the way it used to look because I am its creator, GOD IS THE ONLY ONE WHO CAN MEND US, mend our broken hearts and bind up our wounds BECAUSE HE IS OUR CREATOR. He is THE ONLY ONE WHO CAN MAKE US COMPLETE, make us beautiful and whole again. The only one who can give us peace. The only one who can bring us back to our original purpose. The cake cannot fix itself. We cannot mend ourselves. But I can make my cake look even better after it has been destroyed. And GOD NOT ONLY CAN, BUT WILL GIVE US A NEW HEART even after we have been destroyed, and MAKE US NEW CREATIONS!

That is the great hope we have in the Lord. That is how great His love is for us. 🙂

YOUTH MINISTRY

FRANTIC and FRUITFUL FEBRUARY 1

The month began with a plan. We wanted to hold a party for this home for orphaned kids called My Father’s House. We, the youth staff and I, could have taken the easy route — organized, planned and executed everything ourselves — but we didn’t. We wanted the youth involved. We did not want to just bless the orphaned kids, we wanted our youth in Alabang to step out of their own worlds and give of their time, energy, and talents. We wanted them to learn from the experience, and even teach each other during the whole process. We wanted to give them an opportunity to bond with each other and with the kids of My Father’s House.

We called the event LOVE IS IN THE HOUSE. It was a post-valentine party held last Saturday in My Father’s House’s grounds and the theme was LOVE. We put up 6 teams (Food, Program, Games, Logistics, Music & Dance, Documentation) and gave the volunteers their respective assignments. We can proudly say that everything we did for My Father’s House was the hard work of our youth — from planning, to marketing, to cooking (special thanks to Chef Len Santos-Ding for opening her kitchen to us), to packaging, to setting up, to marshaling the games, to distributing the prizes and gifts (special thanks to Victory Alabang and Cong. Ruffy Biazon), to dancing and singing, to just sitting and spending time with the kids. We made sure that during lunch, each table had at least one of us there to talk to the kids. I even saw some of our youth helping the little kids cut their chicken and feeding them. It was truly a heart-warming sight.

We did not allot time for a full preaching because we didn’t just want to tell the kids that God loves them, we wanted to show them by serving them. They were blessed by our efforts, and we were blessed by their smiles, their joy in singing to God, their excitement in participating in the games and in winning prizes, their gratefulness for our visit. I even got a couple of random hugs from the kids!

We also asked the kids ages 11 and up to make a drawing of what God’s love means to them. The top 3 were asked to explain their work. One boy’s simple but beautiful work said that he is a son of God, and I guess he felt that was enough to explain that. Another boy’s equally beautiful work said that God loves us because He gave us a “home.” I was touched when I saw it. He explained that God created the whole world for us. One little girl’s work was more intricate and we were intrigued by her drawing. She explained that even when we make mistakes, God still loves us. We gave her the grand prize, a gift certificate from Yellow Cab, courtesy of Ms. Faye Bonifacio.

I believe our party was a success! We got the youth involved — they did the work, they served others, they built relationships, they learned, they shared, they taught, they gave. We got to bless a wonderful bunch of kids and we were blessed by the whole experience as well. What a great way to spend the last weekend of the month. I am so proud of our youth and their work! Plus it was my first time to organize an outreach like this haha! On to the next project, woohoo! 🙂

Family, Just My Thoughts

UNDESERVED BLESSING

We had the privilege of staying one night at a nearby hotel as we were generously blessed by a friend. We used the opportunity to celebrate my mom’s birthday with my family and my brother’s family. As we were telling the story about how we got the overnight stay and that we weren’t the only ones blessed by our friend, one of them quipped that King should keep being “good” so that more of such blessings will come our way.

There was nothing wrong with what was said, but it just made me realize something. I know that this was not given to us because King was “good,” though indeed he is. Or given to our other friends because they were “good,” though indeed they are. I believe it was given to us because that friend of ours who blessed us, really just wanted to bless us. It’s about his desire to give, his generosity, not about how “good” he thinks we are.

Just as God blesses us, it’s not about how deserving we are, but it’s about His generosity. A lot of the time we are undeserving, but He blesses us, is gracious to us, is faithful to us anyway. When we respond with grateful hearts, we get blessed even more — we got upgraded to an awesome suite! 🙂