Tag Archives: Love♥

Silver Linings

11 Apr

A friend asked me last night, “How does that make you feel?” referring to the fragile relationship I have with Alphonse these days. I had to pause and think of an answer. I haven’t been asked that question in a long while, so concerned are we all about Alphonse that no one ever bothers to ask how each of us feels anymore.

I told her I was sad but at the end of the day, it wasn’t about me, it was still all about him- Alphonse. Because no matter how hard we try to NOT make him the center of our lives, he IS. And it isn’t because we choose to. It isn’t because we’re masochistic martyrs who need the drama in our lives. It’s because he NEEDS us to. There is no one else but us. If somehow, by some strange twist of fate, he gravitates towards the periphery of our family’s life, if he becomes less important than he is now, then who else will be there for him? No one. Sad but true.

The truth is, I am still mourning over the ways my relationship with Alphonse has changed. I no longer have 100% participation in his daily life and it is not because of lack of trying. The many times I have tried to insinuate myself in his daily life, he would lash out at me with violence and anger after an initially very positive response. It’s a special kind of anger he reserves solely for me, and not for anyone else. Certainly not for his nannies who have become the orbiting satellites of his existence today, and if only for that, I am still deeply grateful. I cannot bear the thought of him hurting anyone else.

Then too, my presence creates more work for them, as they end up mopping after the emotional wreckage that Alphonse becomes after days with me. They are the ones who have to calm him down, who have to help him process this rage and let it go. Me, I feel like a puppeteer most of the times. I hold the strings that move our lives, but these strings also keep me always an arm’s length away from him.

As sad as I am over these changes, I do understand that he will have to move away from me to grow. If I allow Alex, my eldest boy, his freedom to be who he is without me hovering like a helicopter parent, then I must accept that Alphonse, by virtue of his age and size, requires that same kind of freedom from me. It’s a difficult and tricky slope to maneuver, balancing his special needs (of which he requires almost 24/7 supervision) with his desire to become an individual separate from me.

Still, there is no time to wallow in self pity. Battle scarred as we all are now, we’ve learned to seize opportunities when they do come. The early mornings when he wakes up and there’s just the two of us around, those are mine, all mine. That’s when I still sense the special closeness that existed between us all these years. That’s when he recognizes me as Mamam and calls me such. I cling to these moments fiercely, guarding them as my precious, albeit, tenuous links to my baby, now almost all grown.

When the clouds are forever hiding the sun, you learn to squint your eyes and look hard for the silver lining. And true enough, by God’s mercy, they are always there.

First of the Season

17 Dec

With Christmas just eight days away, I feel the mounting pressure of finishing our family’s shopping list. This is the latest we have ever been in all of A and my years of shared holiday shopping and right now, I am feeling a little overwhelmed. There are last minute sales all over the city and all one needs is a little patience and lot of time to go through them. I have never been short on patience but it seems I am running out of time.

While I hyperventilate and deal with anxiety issues, who else would come to my rescue but my dear, sweet A? 

The other day, coming from a work meeting, he brought home two packages for me. First, he handed me my most recent package from BeHappy Malaysia. I was already feeling giddy; I had been waiting for that for a couple of weeks. And then he hands me an unexpected surprise and it was huge! It would be my first Christmas gift of the season and it was an absolute thrill to receive it from him. Then too, he was so excited to see me open the gift that I only had a few seconds to take pictures before we both started ripping the glossy wrapper.

I closed my eyes and held my breath… and voila!

I absolutely love it! 🙂

This is the new Sylvanian Families Beechwood Hall or what Epoch Euro still calls the City House with Lights. Updated with new, fresher colors, a landing for the second floor and a reversible play area in the ground floor, this new home is a major improvement over the old Willow Hall and addresses many of the problems the old home was well known for. The room sizes remain small as the overall size of the house remains the same, but the addition of the landing and reversible play area adds up to a better play experience. Moreover, the bonus sets that come with this package make it more pocket friendly. Some of the items included are not even sold in the country as individual sets. A similar gift set was sold in the United States a while back under the Calico Critters brand and carries most of the bonus items, but not all.

I’m setting this house up for the Christmas diorama I would like to build in the living room. I have enough different playsets to personalize this house, but I fear I will not have enough time to paper the rooms or make additional carpets. Still, I can imagine how the house will look when I add the Christmas tree and Santa Bear. Also, I have a miniature creche to add the real spirit of the season to this holiday home.

If you want to see upclose the bonus sets that came with this purchase, here is a closer look at the sticker prominently displayed in front of the box.   

And just in case you’re still curious what precious finds I got from BeHappy at a great discount, here they are too:

Which reminds me of this: A forum friend posted a curious question on the Sylvanian Families forum, “How do people react to your Sylvanian collection?” and this is what I posted:

I’ve never really been embarrassed about my SF collections. Perhaps it’s because people already know me as a crazy Hello Kitty lady and have grown to accept me as such; one more “craziness” won’t change their perception of me.

I am lucky that like some of you here, my husband supports my collection and buys them for me without hesitation (but always within reason). As a collector of 80’s Japanese robots and Transformers toys, he possesses the mindset of a fellow toy collector. On occasion, he lets me play with his toys and I let him play with mine. It’s a playful marriage all in all, haha.

There are those who do not understand, and they probably never will. There are some relatives who question the sanity of this midlifer. There are also those relatives who think money should be put on other things, like an Hermes bag or Tiffany jewelry. These, they say, have real worth and can be put back in the market without depreciation. But when I think about the reasons why I collect SFs, ultimately, my collection is only as valuable as the happiness I derive from it.

I have a running tally of how much my husband and I have spent since September 2009 for SFs alone and it’s a daunting figure. I acquired so many in so little time and I am extremely grateful that we are blessed with circumstances that allow for these. And knowing how much of my husband’s hard work and sacrifice bought me all these, the only opinion I value these days is his. 🙂

Thank you, honey, for making all my Christmas wishes come true. Your love is my most precious gift and I could never ask for more.

Friends, Fun, & Love in One Weekend

14 Nov

Sorry I forgot to put up yesterday’s post. I am back home from a wonderful night spent at a fabulous hotel. It’s another anniversary weekend and I feel pampered and refreshed, ready to face the coming week with verve and zest.

I started my weekend chores really early to prepare for our short Parents’ Days Out. I kept a list so I didn’t forget anything. We needed to make a quick grocery trip to pick up some household staples (eggs, bread, honey, and straw for packing- done!). We also needed to pass by TriNoMa to get free tickets for a special screening of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part1 (done!). And most importantly, A and I promised to spend a few hours at the Komikon 2010 to support a good friend (done!).

I’ve never been to a Komicon (a comics convention, it is named after the way Filipinos spell comics in Tagalog, with a k, as in komiks) even though A is an avid graphics novel collector. We went on the invitation of a good friend who was launching his first comic book at the 6th Annual Philippine Komiks Convention. For a man educated strictly in the sciences (he is both a Pisay graduate and a UP College of Medicine alumnus), Doc Ernest has amazing creativity and artistry. His comic book, MEGA-WOMAN, is homage to one of Philippine entertainment’s best stars, Ms. Sharon Cuneta-Pangilinan, and inspired by our common love for the Megastar.

The artist and writer of MEGA-WOMAN

Front cover of Doc Ernest's comic book

 A and I spent a few hours there, marvelling at the talent and dedication of our local artists. Above is a picture of us with Doc Ernest and another old friend from Pisay, Theresa Ongchangc0-Diaz. The picture is blurry because we had it taken by someone else but I just had to put it in. (Just squint your eyes for a better view.)We were happy to get autographed copies and even happier knowing that we had shown support for our friend. And wouldn’t you know it—Doc Ernest drew me and some his friends in cameo roles in his comic book! Whee! Kittymama is now a comic book character (never mind that my line had me gushing and fawning over Mega-Woman, heehee). Thanks, Ernest! I loved the drawings and the story so I hope that Part 2 is coming very soon.  

Kittymama in cameo

I wish we could have stayed longer to look at all of the wonderful comics on sale, but the weekend was waiting for A and me. After saying goodbye to the kids and some last -minute packing, we were off to the hotel and got there in record time. The hotel was absolutely gorgeous; the employees at the Marriott Manila were very hospitable, courteous, and professional at all times. Check-in was a breeze. I loved our room and fell in love with the plush bed immediately that as soon as my head touched the luxurious sheets, I fell fast asleep. I woke up to find the sun had set hours ago and my stomach had started its angry grumbling. A was beside me, snoring lightly, and I waited for him to wake up. Then we went out and had a really big dinner, took in a movie (Unstoppable), and if the long afternoon nap was not enough proof that we are, indeed, old folks, fell back to sleep within minutes after reaching the room.

Kittymama in Hello Kitty fashion

Personalized service

Service is so personalized that as soon as you lift the phone to call room service, they know who you are and call you by name!  

Loved♥ this room!

I wish I could take this home with me!

And now it’s Sunday evening and the weekend is almost done. We’re back home, back to the kids, and ready to face the week’s coming challenges. It has been a great weekend, filled with friends and fun and love and rest. I wish I could have more days like these with A. Happy Anniversary again, my love.  (‿♥)

When It Rains, It Pours

30 Jul

They say all good things come to those who wait and I couldn’t agree with this more. By opting for a longer-term choice instead of giving in to my impulses and addictions, I got what I wanted and so much more. Thank you to the generous heart (you know who you are) who sacrificed his own needs over my crazy wants. I feel loved, really I do. 🙂

“The secret of patience is doing something else in the meanwhile”

Time to play! Woot! Woot!

Keeping Our Cool

28 Apr

I don’t know why we didn’t think of this before. It’s a brilliant idea – one that Alphonse came up himself  – to deal with the heat and reduce electric consumption at the same time. That boy is a smarty in disguise. 🙂

At lunchtime today, the kids and I turned off all the lights, fans, airconditioners and other electric appliances (refrigerators exempted) inside the house and headed outside to the shaded garage. We have an Intex easy-set family pool (eight feet in diameter, height of 30 inches, can accommodate a volume of 639 gallons) that’s been up since the start of this long summer. Mindful of the water shortage, we have kept the water level low at around eight inches. This makes changing it and re-using it for cleaning much easier.

The pool easily accommodates six regular-sized adults sitting up, so the kids and I sat down inside the pool and enjoyed this water for a few hours. Alex and I played Harry Potter UNO with plastic laminated cards;  we turned over a bucket and used that as our table. Alphonse poured water into different containers. When they got bored from sitting with their mama, Alphonse took off, bubbles in hand. Alex then got his guitar and played his repertoire of songs.

We had lunch outside, too, on our plastic lawn furniture. When we got hot, we went back inside the pool, poured water over our heads, and played UNO again. By the time the kids were ready to call it a day, the worst of the sun’s heat had already dissipated. We had saved a few hours of electricity and enjoyed each other’s company at the same time. Alphonse really loved the time with his brother, staying inside the pool only as long as Alex was in it. And Alex finally disengaged himself from his game consoles and handhelds, even if only for a while.

Me? I got a lot of kisses from Alphonse and even one, grudgingly, from the UNO loser, heehee.

Not a bad afternoon, really. 

Sunny Days and Fridays

9 Apr

I woke up this morning to find Alphonse beside me, tugging me to wakefulness. There was a desperate quality to his grunts, the kind that tells me that something is wrong, so half-blind and not quite out of a dream state, I was jerked into sudden consciousness. Alphonse had vomited on himself and all over the bed, and just as suddenly, threw up on me too. I jumped out of the bed, more out of instinct than anything else, to get away from this projectile fury, but I was a split-second too late.

It’s only seven in the morning and we are already doing laundry. Sigh. I thought we could sleep in today. Last night, he awakened me twice to accompany him to the bathroom. He kept tapping his chest and tummy, and when I asked him if they hurt, he nodded vigorously. Still, he went to bed without difficulty after each bathroom visit, so I figured that it couldn’t be that bad. Until this morning. 

I know he’s sick from the way he just lies on the bed, looking forlorn and deflated, zapped of all energy. He’s been so irritable these last two days, screaming at us in holy terror for the littlest of things. The heat and sudden lack of afternoon rest due to the three-hour long rotating brownouts couldn’t have helped his disposition. I’m just glad he’s sleeping now. What a way to start a Friday, huh? (And a holiday yet!)

Speaking of Fridays,  Friday one week ago was the 3rd World Autism Awareness Day; it was also Good Friday. And while this period of reflection trumped what was supposed to be a worldwide effort to promote autism awareness, it did not go by unnoticed and unappreciated in my family. On WAAD, we all wore blue.

Picture taken on WAAD, April 2, 2010

This is Alphonse, my son with autism, flanked by his dad on the left and his brother on the right. They hold hands like this all the time, walking together.

The truth is, it’s hard to let Alphonse walk alone, unassisted and unaided, though we encourage him to try. We’re always wary that he might wander or run away from us, which, in a few instances in the past, have actually happened. So, we stay alert all the time, watching and waiting for that slight movement that tells us he’s going to bolt.

More than just issues of safety, however, we hold his hands because he likes that we hold them. It seems to give him comfort, the way his fingers twine with ours. When he’s not feeling well, like today, he even sleeps with his hands in ours.

Well, if he needs them, he has our hands to hold on to forever.

Now, back to laundry.

When You Say Nothing At All

28 Feb

In the car tonight, on the way home from picking up a new rice cooker*, I accidentally dropped my PSP and it slid right to the back of the front passenger seat.

Surprised, I blurted out  “Son, can you hand me my PSP?” before I realized that it was Alphonse, my son with severe autism, I was talking to. 

“Oh, well,” I thought to myself, “I’ll just get it when we get home.” I was already feeling a little cross at my carelessness. I was also worried that he might accidentally step on it.

A few seconds later, I felt a light tap on my right shoulder. Alphonse’s hand silently reached out to me from the back and handed me my PSP.

I flipped the mirrored visor to look at him. As our eyes met in the mirror, I thanked him for his unexpected kindness. He nodded his head and smiled at me.  

Always presume intelligence (even when it is not apparent). People with autism will surprise you, if you just give them a chance.

 ~0~

*Why do we need a new rice cooker? A masterfully executed roundhouse kick led to its untimely demise. This is our third rice cooker in as many months. Alphonse obviously hates them.