Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Hey, Dad. It's 13 years after.

Hey Dad.

It has been thirteen years since you left us for something better.  I have long admitted to myself that somehow it was best that way.  You have been in too much physical pain and it was too much for everybody seeing you suffer, especially Mom.  We all knew you had come to terms with your mortality.  You even often thanked God for blessing you with the opportunity to share Jesus' pain of the cross.  That's the kind of bad ass crazy Christian you are.  

It has been thirteen years and yet we still miss you a lot.  I certainly do.  There were quite a few life events that I wish you were part of.  I met this nice guy who I eventually married.  We were surrounded by wonderful friends and family during our wedding day.  Your physical presence was missing but I knew you were there with Kuya and Mommy while they were giving me away.

I would have wanted to hear your wedding speech though.  You've always had a way with words, raw and honest and full emotions.  I would even bet that you would cry during the speech, which would probably have me in tears too.  And we would have a father and daughter dance which would start with the waltz but would end with the cha-cha, your favorite dance.

And  you have an apo with me na.  When he was a new born, he reminded me so much of you.  People often call him a Mini-Roy which just affirms he's a mini-Pen. 

Alon is growing up well.  I hope he takes after you in most things.  I pray that he grows up with your intelligence, your kindness and your humor. But I do hope he won't be a couch potato like you though!  

Daddy dearest, thank you for being the man, the husband, the father that you were.  Your love for Mommy showed me what love was like.  Seeing your love for Mom, it was what I looked for in a man.  I could not settle for anything less.

Like I said before, I now understand your little poster, "The best gift a father can give to his children is to love their mother."  A father like that teaches his son the proper way to treat and love a woman.  A father like that teaches his daughter how she should be treated and loved.  Loving Mommy was definitely a priceless gift you gave to your children.

I know you have been watching over us all these years, Daddy.  We all miss you a lot.  At least I know that other than his guardian angel, another awesome Serafin is watching over Alon.

I love you, Daddy Pen. :)

Friday, July 19, 2013

Before Midnight

Jan and I took a few hours off from parenting duties and asked Tito Ninong to watch over Alon while we watched "Before Midnight."  

It was definitely worth it. :)

My generation fell-in-love and matured (?) with Jesse and Celine since 1995.  It began with that one night in Vienna after meeting on the train in Before Sunrise.  The movie ends with both agreeing to see each other at the same place six months after. The movie left viewers to guess (or hope) that they meet again.

Nine years after we find out that Jesse did go but Celine couldn't make it because her grandmother had died.  They see each other again, both a bit more broken and angry since their last encounter.  They have had relationships but neither happy.  The movie ends at Celine's apartment, with Jesse possibly missing his flight home.  Viewers can only guess if he did stay or leave.

It took another nine years for an answer.  He stayed. She got pregnant. They live together seemingly happy.

The "Before..." Trilogy (for now) is not a typical romance movie.  I'm not even sure if it is supposed to be a romance movie.  All they do is talk and talk and talk within one long shot.  They jump from one topic to another just flowing with their thoughts and ideas.  And while most talkies would bore audiences to death, these movies have got me riveted, paying full attention to what they are saying and not saying, eager to know what's on their minds.

While watching Before Midnight, I was laughing and slapping Jan during so many scenes, scenes that was just so close to home.  At the end, I was teary-eyed.

After a while, I realized that there was really nothing special about Jesse and Celine.  Other than their one night in Vienna, they are just as mundane and as ordinary as any couple.  And that is probably why I love the movies very much.  That their relationship centers so much on conversation.  It is not about a magical moment or grand events like what most rom-coms would like to portray.  It is about how they can just carry on talking and thinking together and talking some more.  It does not mean they necessarily understand each other or communicate well.  But they just communicate somehow.

Jesse and Celine are Jan and I.  Or some other couples I know.  Take a snippet of our lives, those times that we talk, imagine it on film, and voila.  We have our own Before Sunrise or Sunset or Midnight.

I love Before Midnight the most.  It ends open again.  And again,looking at our  own lives, it is open-eded because our stories do not really end.  We just keep on adding chapters.  That "yes" to our partners during a proposal does not mean a yes to him/her forever.  We constantly work for our yeses.  Our yes today would be different from our yes tomorrow.  But life and love will always ask that question every day, other days more urgent than others, "do you still choose him/her?"  And every day we have to answer, one way or the other.  We have to answer despite our insecurities and fears.  Whatever the circumstance.

Today I say yes.

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Happy Thursday Birthday! :)

Your first birthday fell on a Thursday, Dear Alon, so Nanay and Tatay took a leave so we can celebrate this wonderful day.  What made Nanay more happy was Lola Mommy El flew all the way from Davao to spend time with us too!  Lola Francie also took a day off to be with you.  See how special you are, my little wave!

In the morning, your Yaya Jheana and I brought you downstairs to the pool to swim. Tatay could not join us because he had to do some stuff for work.

Since it was a weekday, we had the pool all to ourselves.  Wheeeee!  

After our dip, you took a short nap.  You seem to know that something special was going on since you woke up with just in time for us to go to Church and pray for thanksgiving on your day.  During Mass, you would not stay still.  Well, you have not been able to stay still lately, to be honest.  So Tatay, Nanay and Yaya Jheana had to alternate in bringing you outside so we don't bother other people praying.

You were fascinated by the birds hopping on the grass and the fish swimming in the pond.  You were able to see turtles for the first time.  I was not sure if you liked them but you did point to them a lot.  We tried having you sit on the carabao sculptures around the chapel but it was not something you were interested in.

Lunch was a challenge.  It seemed that even if it was already one in the afternoon, people were still enjoying their meal.  We wanted to eat at Cibo since it will have pasta but it was too croweded.  We ended up eating at a Shabu-Shabu place which Tatay suggested because he remembered that I've wanted to eat shabu-shabu for a long time.

Nanay and Alon waiting for the food to come
Tatay entertaining Alon while waiting for the food.  Not sure if he is succeeding. :P

The shabu-shabu lunch was not a good idea after all.  No one really knew how to prepare the food.  Well, Nanay did, but I was too busy paying attention to you.  I was also a bit worried that your last solid meal was 7:30 in the morning and it was already almost two in the afternoon so I gave you a bit of lengua to gato to snack on.  I think that was the reason you refused to eat the noodles and rice and meet lunch I prepared.  This actually stressed me out because I wanted you to have a hearty meal on your birthday!  Tatay could see that Nanay was losing her "it's-Alon's-birthday-glow" from the stress of your non-interest in food and my hunger, so he took a break from his meal and took you for a walk outside the restaurant.

Lola Francie and Mommy Elma doting on the birthday boy.

The suave and charming celebrant

After the somewhat disappointing lunch, your Lola Francie brought us to Market! Market! so I can buy additional game prizes for your birthday celebration.  Your Tita Ina was right about this store that had lots and lots and lots of goodies to choose from.  While not as cheap as Divisoria,it  was definitely sufficient and cheap enough for what we needed to get.  We then went home after our shopping trip.

Since your Tito Ninong Roy was not able to celebrate with you, we decided to have a part two of your birthday day.  I asked that Ninong get you Pancake House spaghetti.  We ordered pizza from Calda Pizza nearby and Tatay bought Purple Oven Apple Crumble Pie.

The Resurreccions

The Caminas

Finally, you had the meal that Nanay wanted you to have.  You ate two-thirds of the spaghetti!  This made Nanay happy, that the celebrant partook of the feast and not just the guests.

After you had your meal and we had our pizza, it was finally time to blow your cake.  There were some hiccups looking for the candles that we bought a few months back as well as looking for a lighter for the candle.  I actually went all the way to the smoking area to find a smoker.  I did find one and asked her to light one of the candles I was holding.  My trouble was for naught because Tatay was finally able to find a guard with a lighter.  But see, Nanay is willing to go through all sorts of challenges to make things special for you.

We sang you a short birthday song.  You were fascinated with the candle and still did not know what to do with it except stare.  Tatay blew your candle for you because the wax was ready to drip on the pie.  That pie was really good! You got to taste the apple inside but I guess you were too full to ask for more bites.

Wheeee! Happy first birthday, Alon!

It was a simple celebration spent with family.  And family is definitely one of the most important things you should learn about and embrace in life, my dear Alon.  They will love you and care for you even if it is not your birthday. :)

Happy, happy birthday, dear Alon!  While you may not remember much of that day, I will.  And at least Nanay knows we celebrated it with love and fun. :)

Monday, July 15, 2013

You're OYO, Alon!

I know this is unforgivably late, my dearest Alon, since it has been 11 days since you turned one year old (OYO)!  But I do have my valid reasons.

1) Tatay and Nanay were planning your party.  Planning a party is a production number!  Thank God, you have wonderful Titos and Titas who helped us out (a blog post for another time) to ease the work a bit.
2) Your Yaya Jheana went home for over a week to celebrate her own little one's birthday so Nanay and Tatay had to alternate in caring for you during that period.  And a OYO Alon is quite a handful. ;P
3) Much as I would like to chronicle your every little milestone, I still prefer to experience them with you.  :)

Mr. Born on the fourth of July!  What a year it has been for you and for us.  How your little presence changed our worlds and our lifestyles.

You can read about the excitement the day Nanay gave birth to you as well as some snippets of your first six months in a previous blog entry.  The next six months definitely got more exciting and more interesting for all of us.

You started eating solid food and loved your kalabasa and avocado and sweet potato.  I was actually a bit concerned because you gained little weight between six months and nine months.  Your Ninang actually suggested I supplement you with formula but I resisted this advice and instead increased your solid food intake.  Nanay is a firm believer in the powers of breastmilk and since I had a substantial supply, I saw no need to fatten you up with formula.  Our latest pedia visit showed your weight was still in the lower percentile but your Lola Mommy Elma told me that your Ninong Roy (of whom you are a Mini-Me of) was also a small baby so I was not worried (look at him now!).  Your height was in the 50th percentile so that makes me feel better.  It's easier to resolve weight issues than height issues. Most Filipinos would know that. :P 
I see you healthy and frisky and constantly on the move, so I'm certain you are doing fine and it's just genetics that make you seem small.

Alon at six months old.
I'm starting to think that babies are programmed to like spaghetti because that is your favorite food.  We started with just feeding you with noodles when you turned nine months.  And there was no going back for you.  You really eat the most when we feed you spaghetti or noodles.  What fascinated me with the food that you like was mashed potato and sardines mix.  You actually like it.  And this is mild hot bottled sardine ha!  I'm happy with that too.  I got a taste of it, since I usually eat your left overs, and it is Yum. :)  Your ultimate favorite though are your apple-banana-carrot frozen cubes.  You have it every day!  If you don't like the food I feed you, I usually resort to this.  It may not be as filling as other foods, but it assures me you get vitamin c, potassium and beta-carotene. Good job, son. :)

Alon at seven months!
You have funny eating habits too.  You would put your feet up if there is no tray on your high chair.  You would slouch on the seat.  I'll put you upright and after a while, you will be slouched again.  I don't really fuss too much about it as long as you are eating properly.  Right now, when I feed you something, you would spit it out and feed it to your self.  I think this is a sign that you would like independent feeding.  However, when I put a bowl of food in front of you, you tend to play with it instead.  So as compromise, I would give you a piece of bread to hold and feed yourself with and I feed you your meal.  We are both happy. :)

One thing is for sure with every meal, it is one big mess.  Your food tray is like a war zone... or a painting, if we be hippie about it. :P

Alon at eight months!

Even when you were a new born, you were already trying to always hold your head up or try to stand up.  Not even a month into the world!  And true enough, you started being mobile early on.  By six months, you could stand up with support.  Sometimes we'd see if you'd try walking, which you did before you were seven months, except it was backwards on your tippy toes.  That surely gave your Lola Francie a laugh.

By nine months, you'd be always propping yourself up while holding on to the headboard of the bed and peek at the stickers on our wall.  By ten months, you could walk a bit with support.  Then the bit became a lot.  By eleven months, you could walk four to six steps unsupported.  The most exciting thing was you started walking unsupported for longer periods before you turned one!  Then you'd fall on your butt then you'd stand up again and walk some more.  You succeeded the most when there was a ball or toy car to run after.  You've bumped your head a couple of times, for sure. You'd cry a bit but I would tell you that it's fine. Then you'd realize, you ARE fine and move on. I try not to show my worry, but I am.  Nanay has to be brave though, so you will be brave too.  Your first steps are key to your future journeys and adventures and I hope I will never stop you from taking any.  Let's cross our fingers with that, Anak. :)
Now that you are mobile, Nanay and Tatay are getting a lot of exercise running around after you.  My back has been hurting from bending over or squatting to your height.  Sometimes I wonder if life would be a little easier with you not walking yet.  But I shove that aside immediately because mobility is a gift and that gives you lead time to explore.  So yeah, I'm glad for you. :)

Alon at nine months

Every night, I thank God, that He has blessed Nanay and Tatay with a generally happy child.  You are definitely sumpungin.  Most likely a trait you got from someone we know (nuninuninuninu!).  But most of the time, you are happy and easy to please.  Nanay and Tatay can make you laugh with silly faces or sounds or stories.  You are generally curious (though most babies are).  Your big eyes express how much you are absorbing information.  We could see how intent you are when you stare.  It can be disconcerting sometimes though. Haha!

Alon at ten months!

I also love love love that you have a sense of humor.  You do silly things like peek-a-boo (with only half your face covered) to make Nanay laugh or make pa-cute faces or just laugh out of nowhere. Sometimes, you'd show us something and smile triumphantly.  Or you'd laugh yourself silly when I carry you and kick your ball around.  I don't know what's funny but hearing your giggles motivates me up to run around along the corridor kicking after a baby's orange ball.

You have your sumpong, often when you are sleepy or want to go outside or do not want to eat or not feeling a bath or not wanting your teeth brushed or impatient when asking Nanay for milk.  But I try not to fuss too much about it.  You usually get over it fast.  It's funny though, you cry harder when you are in sumpong than when you get your vaccinations.  Your latest trip to the pedia, they injected you in the butt while you were playing with a toy.  You just had a quick "wah" and a half-second after, you were back to playing.

Alon at eleven months!

Dear, dear Alon!  There is so much to say about you.  Nanay can go on and on and on and still have something new to share.  I now understand why parents could not stop talking about their children.  Growing children are just amazing!  The rate of how much they are learning are phenomenal.  And you are our special little Alon.  We have been blessed to witness your growth.  We have been granted stewardship over you.  It is such a challenge but it is also such a gift.  I want to make the most of it since there will come a time when you might not want Nanay and Tatay watching over you too much and then at all.  So I want to take in all of you as much as I can.

You have taught me much about life, little one.  You have also taught me much about myself.  Things I never knew I was or things I never knew I was capable of.

Basta, Alon, know that your are lucky and blessed too.  That you are showered with love and surrounded with good people.  When you are older, I hope you learn gratitude and generosity.

Right now, go and discover the world some more.  My back may be hurting from bending over to see what you are seeing, but I have also been given the gift of seeing the world with a renewed sense of wonder, thanks to you.

Alon is one year old!

Mahal na mahal ka namin ni Tatay, Alon. :)