Friday, May 7, 2010

A Mother's Love

I just came across a heartwarming email from a friend who quoted the note of Erma Bombeck about A mother's Love which I want to share with you - just in time for Mother's Day this coming Sunday.

A mother's love is as big as a house, deep as an ocean, constant as the stars.
A mother's love is all encompassing, all knowing and all forgiving.
It is home. And yet as big as it is, a mother's love remembers all the details
and knows the littlest things can be the most important ---
like how much chocolate should be mixed with milk, when to offer advice and when to be still,
and just the right squeezing that makes the perfect hug.
From the biggest moments down to the sweetest nothings,
a mother's heart stands at the ready to comfort, encourage, inspire, protect, and most of all, love.
Mother's LOVE shows us the way.
Mother's COURAGE can move mountains.
Mother's WISDOM holds you close.
It is not until you become a mother that your judgment
slowly turns to compassion and understanding.
To my dearest Mother - the most perfect gift of a mom to us three - happy mother's day.
To my friends who make this world a much better place with their unfaltering mothering ways to their kids - happy mother's day.
To my husband, Edgar, who made me a mother to a wonderful, special kid in my only son EJ, thank you so much.

Friday, October 30, 2009

Close to 40

Just one more sleep and it's my birth month! How time flies quickly, with another decade to end, another chapter in my life to be written. Looking back, the most significant things in my life happened in my third chapter... fell so hard out of and in love... found my match... got pregnant... gave birth... got married... got in and out of the hospital because of some health problems... established sisterhoods... got recognized somehow professionally... the chapter when Fatima can say she finally grew up - and grew bigger - the chapter when she began to see things and the world around her differently.

This is the chapter when...

I came to understand that life hands you big blows but you have to be thankful for them for they make you a stronger person...

I began to appreciate the inner fulfillment of having to think of another's good first instead of my own...

I learned that sometimes you have to keep your mouth shut and keep your thoughts to yourself so as not to hurt other people and hurt yourself too in the process...

I came to realize that there is more to life than getting yourself bored to death doing the same thing over and over again...

I learned that when you forgive somebody who has wronged or hurt you, forgetting may not be easy but it won't hurt if you at least give it a try...

I recognized the wisdom that you don't necessarily have to force yourself to like somebody to be able to co-exist harmoniously with that person in the workplace...

I verified the veracity of the truth that stress can make you look older, give you gray hair, and worst of all give you unwanted pounds (this is what i hated the most!)...

I learned that saying sorry does not make you weak...

I knew that true friendships - like true love - would always survive... and

I realized it is your dreams - not your ambition - that will get you safely and happily where you are.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

The Phenomenal Women in My Life

A few months from now, I will be breaching the fourth decade of my blessed – at times tumultuous – life. There are so many people, events and memories that made my journey worth traveling. And many of them have been given by the phenomenal women in my life…

My mother – Teacher Puring – the only mother I will ever have in my lifetime… my confidante… my “bestest” of best friends… my shopping partner… propagator of my faith… my perfect model of what a mother should be.

My grandmothers – Inang Ebiang and Inang Narda – who were doting and protective second mommies to me and my brothers when Teacher was busy helping my Daddy work for our family’s sustenance.

My cousin-friends – Mae, Raquel, Yayit, Dhine, Pinky, Lalaine, and Olive (bless her soul in heaven) – who have been my true-blooded sisters through and through.

My grade school best friend – Janet Sanchez (now German)– who shared the bittersweet joys and pains of childhood love and admirations.

My high school friends – Lele (high school best friend), Milmar, Espie, Carla, Fortune, Mavic, and Marie – (we named our barkada “Crazy 8” because we were all wacky and happy girls way back then). They made my high school days the most memorable episode of my life as a Paulinian student.

My college friends – Marietta, Ionice, Agnes, Jane and Gail – (we humored ourselves as “Gorillas in the Mist”, a take-off from the popular movie of Sigourney Weaver way back our College days in UST). They taught me priceless lessons on having fun, responsibility, patience, endurance, “time management” (yes Mayet, that and you know what I mean…), and maturity. Special mention also goes to Ethoinx, my soul sister who will always be that way to me forever…

My girl friends from Bulacan – Vhes, Rina, Joan, and Tita Delia – who were also my choir mates, gang mates, laughing and crying mates…

My true girl friends in the work place – PRIME days with bestwayne Elay, Mareng Lea, Mareng Illie Pie, Mamu Thelma, and the love of my life Imee… Marketing days with my one and only Sunshine Me-Anne, Ingrid, Lorena, and my forever sister, Lj. They are the reasons why I broke my vow to retire from the company after a decade of stress, have fun at work and still love and be passionate about what I do.

These extraordinary women shared bits and pieces of their precious life with me… helped me come full circle… be the woman I am today.

To these phenomenal women, I share a beautiful poem by Maya Angelou…

Phenomenal Woman


Pretty women wonder where my secret lies.
I'm not cute or built to suit a fashion model's size
But when I start to tell them,
They think I'm telling lies.
I say,
It's in the reach of my arms
The span of my hips,
The stride of my step,
The curl of my lips.
I'm a woman
Phenomenally.
Phenomenal woman,
That's me.

I walk into a room
Just as cool as you please,
And to a man,
The fellows stand or
Fall down on their knees.
Then they swarm around me,
A hive of honey bees.
I say,
It's the fire in my eyes,
And the flash of my teeth,
The swing in my waist,
And the joy in my feet.
I'm a woman
Phenomenally.
Phenomenal woman,
That's me.

Men themselves have wondered
What they see in me.
They try so much
But they can't touch
My inner mystery.
When I try to show them
They say they still can't see.
I say,
It's in the arch of my back,
The sun of my smile,
The ride of my breasts,
The grace of my style.
I'm a woman

Phenomenally.
Phenomenal woman,
That's me.

Now you understand
Just why my head's not bowed.
I don't shout or jump about
Or have to talk real loud.
When you see me passing
It ought to make you proud.
I say,
It's in the click of my heels,
The bend of my hair,
the palm of my hand,
The need of my care,
'Cause I'm a woman
Phenomenally.
Phenomenal woman,
That's me.

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

UNINSPIRED

Just got a call from the Boss reminding me of the speech I had to write for him for a speaking engagement come Easter Sunday. I’m finding it hard to start scribbling anything interesting because first – I am on a holiday break mode and I am busy spending time with my two boys and some household duties – and second - because I am simply… uninspired.

Uninspired… for the past two months I have been simply that. No inspiration… no compelling reason to be engaged in anything worthwhile. Yes we’re quite busy with our customer profiling project in the different branches of our company – a temporary reprieve from routine office tasks. Yet when I return home or go back to our main office to work, I am simply… uninspired.

Why? I have been asking myself that for the last two months. What is wrong? Am I simply stressed out and losing interest in my 14-year old job? Do I need a break? Why? Why am I uninspired?

I finally got my answer after opening my hotmail account minutes ago. There I read an email and all too suddenly there it was – flashback - blinding hurt. All too suddenly, I had the compulsion to write about it in the hope that after doing so, the unspeakable hurt will be eased… that I would be set free from the resentment… and I will be inspired again to do the things I loved doing.

People who know me would agree when I say I’ve always been tough. I always had a protective shell around me… invincible to any form of antagonism whether in my personal or professional life. I fight back, most of the time not for myself but for my family and the people I love.

Last week of January, my shell was shattered. The once invincible Louise had become vulnerable to pain. Was it good? Yes… because it made me feel human again. Life has a funny way of shaking your senses just when you thought you are the bravest of them all. Funnier still because the big blow came from two people I totally loved and considered part of the Maneja family.

The email I just read talked of coincidences and similarities. I am devoid of answers simply because I don’t have them and I will no longer waste time finding them. I am who I am… I will not change myself to prove anything… and I no longer have plans of explaining myself to anybody. If fate is playing with me then so be it.

Why am I hurting? I am smarting from the pain simply because I let my guard down. My eagerness to help and make someone I loved happy was mistaken for treachery. Did I give that person reason to think it was a betrayal? Knowing that person to be sensible, I respect the reasons behind the action. However, I still stand firm on my ground that I didn’t do anything wrong and that whatever it is I did was NOT because I wanted to “create” a story but because I only wished to give a well deserved happiness to someone.

Torture… that is the best way I describe my state of mind and heart since January. I will forever be wounded because at one point in my life I was called a “traitor” and that is who I will be in my friend’s mind IF the person who caused this enmity will not be humane enough to come out.

Do I mind? Of course I do. I have never betrayed anyone. And I don’t throw away friendships because I only have a few, and I keep them forever even if they refuse to keep it.

IF this friendship can no longer be saved, I will still forever be grateful it came along no matter how short the span of time there had been to enjoy it because from the first day we got close, the friendship had been beautiful and so full of laughter.

In my heart, a friend will always be a friend, never mind if the friendship lasted only a day, a week or a year. I will never have regrets having started this friendship because it has given me enough beautiful memories that can last me a lifetime.

So much for sentimental things… Back to work…

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

MEMORIES IN MY TREASURE BOX - Childhood Memories

Memories in my treasure box
CHILDHOOD MEMORIES

“Memory is a way of holding onto the things you love, the things you are, the things you never want to lose.” ~ The Wonder Years

What we remember from childhood we remember - forever.

My memories of childhood are all about being family… doing things together… going places together… playing together… messing up together… learning together… laughing and crying together… always together…

My fondest childhood memories and the lessons I learned from these are countless… for how can I ever forget:

…Tatang Domeng’s daily afternoon snack treats of “lugaw”, pandesal with peanut butter and other delicious munchies, to his more than 15 grandchildren all at the same time… (lesson: eating can be fun when food is equally shared.)

…Endless plays of jolens, “tumbang preso”, “luksong tinik”, and Chinese garter with my cousins and other playmates under the scorching heat of the sun… (lesson: the best games are those that make you sweat.)

…Tree climbing adventures (lesson: I had fear of heights when I was a kid. I learned the best way to conquer your fear is to do the things that scare you the most. The harder you fall, the more you are able to rise above your fears.)

…Trips to Antipolo every month of May to hear mass and thereafter have a sumptuous lunch at Hinulugang Taktak … (lesson: Family traditions should be anchored on faith. And the classic lesson there is a family that prays together, stays together. Family time is always quality time.)

…Summer vacations with the De Guzman and Delos Santos clans in different faraway places- Pogpog in Angat River, Hot Springs of Laguna, the cool waters of Mount Makiling, the summer capital city of Baguio… (lesson: Explore, explore and explore. Go places, experience a different world.)

…Compulsory afternoon siestas beside Inang Ebiang or else… (lesson: early on I was trained for power naps and yes they are beneficial… they make you more alert, help take out stress, and reenergize your body.)

…Unexpected visits of my Inang Ebiang to Sister Marina (Principal of the Elementary Department of St. Paul’s College of Bocaue) to complain about my Kindergarten teacher who gives confusing instructions to her students.(lesson: fight for what is right. In other words: “kapag may katwiran ipaglaban mo!”)

I can go on and on with the millions of beautiful childhood memories in my treasure box. And now that I have my own son to raise, I hope and pray he will collect the same happy memories I did when I was growing up.

Who I am now, what I have become as a person, are all because of the priceless lessons my childhood adventures and misadventures taught me. Growing up was fun and I will always treasure that in my heart.

Monday, February 2, 2009

What My Two Boys Taught Me Part 2… (The Other Edgardo in My Life)

The other Edgardo in my life is a free spirited five-year old boy who resembles his dad physically but possesses most traits of his Mommy Puring (my mother).

Edgardo Jr. – EJ as we lovingly call him – has been a wonderful work in progress since the day he was born on March 03, 2003. A heavyweight from the start, EJ was born weighing just 0.15 short of being 10 lbs., enough reason why I had to undergo a C-Section in delivering him. I still remember how he looked like a giant baby beside the other newborns at the Nursery of the Santo Tomas Hospital. His pediatrician said his weight and length was fit for a two-month old baby then.

His mental growth has been extraordinary. At barely three years old, he could tell a story about “Cinderella” and other bedtime stories. His memory is so sharp that he can memorize anything he is taught in minutes. Even characters in “teleseryes” and dialogues they have he can deliver with much aplomb, word for word.

My son always carried a confident personality. He goes for striking colors like red, pink and orange… hero worships the Caped Crusader… grooves to the dance steps of Luningning and Milagring of Wowowee… and would always say he loves Cinderella, Snow White and Sleeping Beauty while quickly adding he is their “Prince Charming”.
EJ was never averse to strangers, and he loves being around people… inquisitive, kind-hearted, and fiercely protective of his mom, his dad and the people he loves.

How can I forget the first time we brought him to Divisoria to buy some Christmas stuff when he was four years old and this burly man bumped me so hard that EJ followed the guy and sternly warned him “Mama ‘wag mo banggain ang mommy ko ha! (Hey Mister, don’t you push my mommy huh!)”.

And how can I fail to remember the night I was rushed to the Emergency Room of St. Luke’s Medical Center, and he went straight to the Resident Doctor and told him “Could you please go to my mommy now, and give her medicine so she’ll get cured and we can go home.”

Born at a time when his dad and I weren’t married yet (Edgar was still having his annulment from a previous marriage then), my son became the healing balm that cured the pains I inflicted my parents when I chose to fall in love with a separated man. My parents totally forgave me and accepted Edgar the day EJ came to our lives.

My son is my life’s biggest miracle… he is the bearer of my hopes and my dreams for the future. He taught me patience… calmness under intense pressure and pain… bravery… selflessness… and gratitude for all the blessings that come our way every day.

My two boys made me believe there are no storms I cannot weather, no battle I cannot win, no odds I cannot overcome. They showed me how it is to love and be loved unconditionally… and how being a family is the greatest blessing one can ever have in this world.

Thursday, January 29, 2009

My Two Boys… and what they taught me… (Part 1)

In my harried world where everything is wracked with the unexpected and the unwanted, I am blessed to have two wonderful boys - and they both bear the name “Edgardo”.

A name originating from French ancestry, “Edgardo” means “prosperous warrior” – such an appropriate name for two of the fiercest and most valiant defenders of my universe.

Edgardo Sr. – my other half – has been my fortress for the past nine and a half years that we have been together. Ours is a relationship that has been far from perfect, something that is not surprising since we are exact opposites of each other. I don’t mince with words… he doesn’t talk much (unless angered)… I go for sweets and he abhors them… I prefer going places and he would rather stay home… I don’t like going to the kitchen since I don’t cook, and he stays there most of the time like a seasoned chef preparing us delicious food… I am not a health buff and he is… I find it hard making sleep, and he snores the minute he lies down… I dream big and he goes for the simple, uncomplicated ones….

On several occasions, we would have catfights and bitter disagreements about even the simplest things… but what we have learned over the years is that there is no conflict that cannot be resolved by heart-to-heart talks, loving hugs, and saying a sincere “sorry”.

My Edgardo Sr. has taught me two important things: humility and simplicity. Once I asked him what was his best accomplishment in our relationship, and his reply was “I was able to tame you.” I couldn’t agree more. Even my closest friends from high school and college would call my attention to that whenever we would get together… how I have considerably mellowed from being the tactless, brutally frank Louise they knew from many years back.

My husband has been my best friend and the only person who really know my thoughts, my pains, my secrets, and my life (aside from my mother)… my personal nurse and caregiver when I am sick… a doting father to our only son… a good provider…. a wonderful cook…. and the only person who I know will never let me down when all else fails me.

He believes in me and sees me as a beautiful person no matter how jaded I may have been from my life’s tempests and despite the excess poundage I have gained… and the best part about him is he is not afraid to hold my hand while walking, hug me every now and then, kiss me before I leave for work and when I get home, and say he loves me when I wake up and before we go to sleep.

And everytime I look at him, I see and remember the man I fell in love with more than nine years ago, and my heart would always tell me that if given another choice, I would still choose to fall in love with him… that if I had to do it all over again, I would still marry the same man.

Tomorrow I will talk about the other “Edgardo” in my life…