On Valentine’s Day

…I am alone.

A♥ is at work even if he is not feeling quite well today. Alex is in school and will be home late. Alphonse is in the schoolhouse for his lessons with Teacher Paul.

Valentine’s Day started at midnight last night. at least for me. A♥ stayed up with me till the early hours of the morning and held my hand until we both fell asleep. I woke up just in time to see him go to work. The rest of our Valentine’s celebration will have to wait till tonight, when the boys are all home.

I’m not lonely, if that’s what you’re worried about. Valentine’s Day or not, the only thing I want from today is to know that all my konekos are safe at home with me.

And so I wait. For my loves to come home.

Until then, Happy Valentine’s Day, friends!

HVD 2013 copy


Who Needs Red Roses…

…when you can get these?

Roses are red

Violets are blue

Kitty is white, tan, pink, and orange,

And now a sweet red too!

I received this Red Hello Kitty for Valentine’s Day this year, one of the many surprises A♥ had for me. I keep saying that I would no longer add another Build A Bear to my already large collection, but he keeps giving them to me. 🙂 Once they’re in my hands, though, they’re really quite hard to let go, heehee.

The Red Valentine’s Hello Kitty doll came with extra clothes, but I chose to go with the red tutu dress. I like it so much more than the checked red clothes they had recommended on the BAB site. It looks very flirty and elegant.

And as if that weren’t enough, A♥ also added this:

Snoopy has always been one of my favorites growing up, and after watching 9 Works Theatrical’s “You’re a Good Man, Charlie Brown,” (and loving it!) I suddenly remembered how much I love him! This musical Snoopy, also from Build A Bear, comes with the Peanuts theme and moving ears!

Lastly, though I may protest that I don’t need red roses, sometimes, it’s the pink ones that hit your sweet spot perfectly.

Love In Slow Motion

(Alphonse has just gone to bed. This post is a little late for the occasion, but as we are still a few hours from the end of the day, consider this my Valentine Day’s post.)

I wore a ratty old nightgown to bed last night, Valentine’s Day being farthest from my mind. A and I were both exhausted from the weekend of keeping Alphonse in good humor and failing miserably many, many times. At ten in the evening, Alphonse fell asleep on a mattress on the floor.  We heaved a sigh of relief that we survived another long day. Tired as I was, my mind was overwrought and could not find easy sleep. Almost midnight, as I was finally drifting between semiconsciousness and the last few pages of a Harry Potter book, Alphonse awakened and got into bed with us . What surprised me was his tight embrace, as he burrowed his face deep within the crook of my neck. I kissed him gently as I eased him into his pillow, all the while controlling the urge to start crying again. This unexpected embrace- this sudden expression of love and trust and need- this  was my son speaking without words- the anger, violence, and aggression temporarily forgotten.

Half past midnight, as I closed my eyes and said a silent prayer of thanks, a hand reached out for me in the darkness. I felt a warm embrace. A soft kiss brushed my lips, as my husband pushed a small silk envelope into the palm of my hand.  This morning, with my eyes still gummed from sleep, I almost tripped as I made my way to the bathroom. On the floor were three boxes. And on each box was a note. One of them brought more tears to my eyes, washing away the last vestiges of sleep.

Dearest P,

I know things haven’t been gone well for us- and especially for you lately, but if there’s anyone who can lift us up and guide us out of our plight, it’s you. You’re strong, resolute, persevering. In short, you’re you. And you’re my Valentine. Always and forever.


It’s not easy to find joy when life hits us hard like this. But I remain grateful that each day brings me new reminders of how we are loved. It is this love that holds us together when we are stuck in vicious circles of pain and loneliness. It is a love that survives the frustration and hopelessness of miserable days. It is a love that moves our world in slow motion, forever mindful that peace and joy are such fragile, fleeting gifts.

This is the miracle of my life- that no matter how far I stray from Him, no matter how deep my despair goes into the pit of darkness, He sends me Love when I need it most.

He sent me A.

While we wait for the sun to shine in our lives again,

I hold on to the best parts of my life

My hope and faith renewed

For with you by my side

We can conquer the pain

And welcome the rain

That pours like a sea

Washing away

All memory   

of strife and tears

I hold on to you 

And you cling to me

Together, still strong,

I am redeemed.

The One Who Got Away

I wrote this a few weeks before Valentine’s Day, with the intention of posting it as soon as it was finished. Somehow, the days slipped through my fingers and I forgot.

This is for you, A –  the one who stayed – for all the Valentines you and I have been together. Even through our sometimes difficult life, I have never had a single moment of regret with you.

hk-unbreak-my-heart2We often wax poetic over “the one who got away.” Memories are tricky that way. Like light that passes through a prism and breaks into a rainbow of colors, memories often pass through a sieve that breaks our remembrances and filters the past of its unpleasantness. And through these tinted lenses, we remember things a little differently, a little wistfully, perhaps, with a tinge of nostalgia and a bit of longing.

We remember the good times we lost. We romanticize the hours of pining and sweet aching. We idealize the nights of wondering about an imagined future. “The one who got away” becomes our life’s ultimate unanswered “what-if?” We think about where he (or she) could be now, what he (or she) is doing at this exact moment. Is he  thinking of you too? Do you even cross his mind? We wonder if the life we lead now is where we were meant to be. We second-guess our decisions. We live in the past.

Yet, in that rose-colored haze, we often forget that “the one who got away” is usually the one who broke your heart. The one who dumped you once, even twice. The one who cheated. The one who couldn’t commit. The one who lied.

He wasn’t perfect, that much is obvious. And so what if the timing was a little bit off?  For true hearts in love, time and space are ephemeral. You would have hocked the universe just to make your relationship work; why couldn’t he have done the same?  Timing, or the lack of it, not being emotionally prepared, not being committed —  these are all cop-outs, excuses people make up to rationalize their wanton disregard of another human being’s feelings. If he was not ready to commit, why bother to go through the whole thing? The truth is, and take it from an old hand in love, it does matter who you’re with, whether he (or she) is a jerk, a coward, or just a complete fraud. Timing’s the least of your worries.

I can’t totally promise this, but one day, “the person who will not go away” will come. This is the person who will not lie to you. Who will not make you cry. Who will not break your heart.

You and he may not be both ready but it will not matter one bit. When love comes, and I mean true love, nothing else will matter. Not your fears. Not your doubts. Not the inconsequential little things that people seem to worry so much about.

I know too that when that day comes the “what-ifs” will no longer be important. You will realize that reality is so much cooler than imagined expectations. Chuck those clouded eyeglasses for a reality check and just heave a welcome sigh of relief. Thank God, that one got away, for indeed, you are lucky.

You got away too. ♥

There We Are

Titanic with Daniel Jack and Kitty Rose

Dearest A,

Today, I woke up with a sense of sadness hanging over me. This is the first Valentine’s Day in years that you will not be home with me. I can’t remember a time when the day didn’t mean a day off from work for you, and as mushy as it sounded, everyone understood. Valentine’s Day is our day.

On Valentine’s Day every year, we would indulge ourselves in the comforting rituals of married life. There was the occasional movie or the romantic dinner date with flowers and candlelight, but more often than not, we simply enjoyed each other at home, our feet touching gently as we recline in a pile of pillows, Alphonse often snuggled between us. We would talk and joke and sing out loud. We would read, look at pictures, play a game, or watch a movie or two together (Titanic, again?). This used to be our day. Yet, today, I am alone at home.

I’m not ungrateful, honey, just a tad wistful. Sometimes, I wish it were so that I could go for hours of a day without thinking of you, but my resolve always weakens. In the middle of a busy day, filled with the hectic hours of everyday life, I would find myself thinking of the last time we kissed or even the last time we talked beyond the superficial, mundane events of our lives. Too often these days, as we work hard to make a home and a life for our children and ourselves, there have been little, precious time to be just husband and wife, just lovers, or just best friends. We wear the constant hats of Father and Mother, and these roles, while beloved, can be all-consuming.

Today, however, while you are steep in work and I busy myself with a million and one chores at home, I will choose to live in the space of thankfulness. That today, as far apart as we are, I feel your love resonate louder and stronger, echoing through the walls of our home, and exploding through the hugs and kisses of a little boy. I will choose to remember that despite our imperfect lives, I have you to lean on, my soft spot to fall on.

And so I wait for you to come home again, on Valentine’s Day. The movie will be on when you come home. Dinner will be cooking. The bed will be warm and comfy.

And I will wait for you.
As I wait for Love.
As I wait for forever.

A Valentine for Autism

Kitty’s Valentine for AutismWhenever people meet Alphonse for the first time, they can’t help but ask questions. Most of the time, their first question would be, “Was he born with it?” to which I would reply with a straight, no-nonsense “Yes.” While Alphonse was officially diagnosed at eighteen months, looking back, I can’t help but see some of the signs. Like how fond he was of squinting at lights even at three months old. Or how, at eight months, he’d play with the rotor blades of his Fisher-Price helicopter, twirling it round and round and round, blissful in his seemingly endless escape from the demands of the world. Little signs, yes, for Alphonse was still connected enough with us and it was easy enough to ignore them as merely quirks or eccentricities in his personality. After all, who among us doesn’t have a flaw or two?

Then they would ask more questions, like “How did you know?” and “What are the signs of autism?” These are easy enough to answer, and for the most part, these require straightforward replies that smack of textbooks.

Once in a while, though, an unexpected question blows me away, and I lose almost all poise and polish as its absurdity completely floors me.

“Do you believe that autism is caused by diablos (demons)?”

A few days ago, I came face to face with a man who asked me this question. He had come into the house to do some repair, and since my husband was not home at the time, I was left to supervise his work. He was a chatty fellow and he noticed Alphonse running playfully around the house. He started asking questions when Alphonse came up to him and gestured to him to play.

At first, it seemed benign enough, and I wanted to be polite. From general questions about my son’s condition, he segued into spirituality. We agreed on some things, and despite some differences in our religious beliefs (he calls himself a born-again Christian, while I think of myself as Catholic Christian), we both believed that the path to salvation is one and the same. He quoted scripture with a flourish. I smiled despite his increasingly insistent tone because he reminded me so much of a Bible-toting preacher. But then, he took a step further than I liked with the discussion, by asking me the worst question in the world to ask a mother of a child with autism.

“Do you believe that autism is caused by diablos (demons)?”

My eyes widened in disbelief and I was forced to cover my gaping mouth and pretend a yawn. I didn’t want to offend this man whom I’ve only just met. Yet I didn’t want to stay there saying nothing at all in my son’s defense.

He obviously didn’t notice my increasing discomfort. He continued along the same line of thought: that man’s sicknesses, disabilities, and impairments are the work of demons and we only have to believe and have faith to be healed. That children born with disabilities are the handiwork of evil running loose in this world, challenging God. He made it sound oh-so-perfectly reasonable, but it is precisely this narrow-minded, perverse view of autism that has caused many a child to die from ignorant, intolerant, and relentless pursuits for a cure.

In truth, I was itching for a full-scale showdown. My beliefs against his. While I certainly do not discount the possibility of evil forces in this world, I bristle at the thought that my son’s condition is an offshoot of the devil’s work. This would imply that my son is “evil” at the core, and that he, or we, his parents, somehow deserved this. That autism is a “punishment.” That autism, like other disabilities, is justice meted on the “guilty.”

I looked him in the eye and politely responded, “Excuse me, sir, but I would have to stop you there. I do not believe in what you say. My son’s spirit is perfect, and if he is who he is, it is because God made him that way. Not to teach him a lesson, but to teach us — the people around him — lessons on tolerance, forgiveness, love, and mercy. He was made imperfect to perfect the spirits of those around him. He is not of the devil’s; he is not of your Diablo’s.” I was shaking then. It was all I could do not to ask him to leave.

Ruminating upon this experience, I have had to ask myself questions that seek the core of my faith. If I did not believe that autism is a manifestation of a spiritual condition, why, then, did I bring my son to healing nuns and priests for blessing? Why did I stand in line and bear more than five hours of waiting for Alphonse to be prayed upon by Father Suarez last year? Why did I seek Sr. Raquel? Am I a hypocrite? To believe that my son is perfect and yet look for a “cure?”

In the beginning, when I was much younger and naïve and yes, stupid, I looked for a “cure” wherever I could find it. In religion, in science, wherever, whatever. And like many other parents who desperately wanted to change their children into the world’s definition of “normal,” I fell into this trap of my own making. As I grew in love, wisdom, and spirit, I realized that as much as Alphonse needed help in coping with the world, I needed to accept him and embrace him as he is. More than the autism and the host of challenges that come with it, Alphonse will always be, first and foremost, my son.

And so, when I sought Father Suarez last year, or Sister Raquel or Father Corsi many years before that, I did not pray for Alphonse to be healed of his autism. I prayed that Alphonse may find his happiness. I prayed for an end to his hurting, to his anger and violence. I prayed that Alphonse learn of how great our love is for him, and knowing this, find solace and comfort in our arms when he is fearful of things. I prayed that he know his parents would move heaven and earth to help him and his brother be the best that they can be.

No, I no longer pray for a cure. Today, I pray for tolerance and acceptance in a world that sees beauty only in the perfect and whole. I pray for a little slice of the world, where Alphonse, and many other beautiful children like him, whole or not, normal or differently abled, can revel in the gifts that have been bestowed by our merciful Creator. And I pray for all the love the world can muster for my son, on Valentine’s Days he will never fully experience, and for every day of his life.

Happy Valentine’s Day, angel of our lives. Papa, Mama, and Kuya love you so much.