November 25, 2005

Friendship on Fire

I recently saw the DVD of the “The Perfect Man”. The picture stars Hilary Duff and Heather Locklear. You can thus very easily and quite rightly assume that it was not exactly a movie teeming with intellectual profundity. However, there was this one exquisite line in the film that unexpectedly leapt right into my head and remained hopelessly lodged in the inner recesses of my subconscious.

The line consisted of five simple words:

Love is friendship on fire.

It does not get any truer than this.

My husband and I dated exclusively for eight years before tying the knot. Now, after more than four years of marriage, we are still going strong. During the course of our being together, people have often asked me how we have managed to happily remain in a long-term relationship. Frequently, I would find myself smiling back dumbly, in an utter loss for words. For really, how can one accurately encapsulate the underlying essence of a bond so magnificently complex, so ridiculously multifaceted and so incredibly overwhelming?

At last I believe I have found the most fitting answer. Plainly put, my husband and I share a friendship on fire. We are each other’s best friend; there is no one else in the world we are as comfortable with. Yet, amidst the security and stability of companionship lies a fiery zeal for each other that keeps the romance alive.

Friendship alone does not suffice; you can have many great friends. And passion on its own, no matter how heated and thrilling at first, will fizzle out in the end. It is only upon discovering that you share with someone that singularly fabulous mix of camaraderie and passion that you know you have a love worth living for and dying for.

So all you out there in search of the perfect life mate, you would do well to take to heart this precious little nugget:

Choose well and find a love that is friendship on fire.

DVD not included.

November 20, 2005

Rated X (Pirated Version)


Once a month, my husband and I sneak over to the unassuming Makati Cinema Square to revel in one pleasurable night of pirated DVD shopping. Buying stacks of items being illicitly sold in an area that could very well be raided anytime by self-righteous anti-piracy forces produces an underground feel that only renders the entire experience more thrilling. The climax hits when you willingly hand over your cash, greedily grab your bag bursting with coveted titles and jauntily walk out of the mall with the ridiculously delightful satisfaction of knowing that you have successfully assured yourself long wondrous hours of movie viewing pleasure at a beautifully dirt-cheap price.

Last night, we were at it again. But this time, while my spouse was scouring the shelves in search of the latest Hollywood action blockbuster, I found myself strangely drawn to a mysterious pile of films tucked in a far corner of the stall. When I flipped through the hoard, I saw that they were all pornographic. I would have immediately turned away in disgust had I not been utterly riveted by their unbelievably outrageous titles.

Are you ready for this???
Here, from the least to the most preposterously titled, is the Top Ten list of X-rated films available at your friendly DVD pirate’s neighborhood:
10. Tilamsik (Was anyone fried during the making?)
9. Tarzan X (With apologies to Malcolm. What could he have done to Jane and Cheetah in the jungle?)
8. Possible Entry (One must admire the subtlety.)
7. Trapped In Tiny Holes (We hope no mice were hurt during filming.)
6. Teen Philippine (That’s the title, plain and simple. Hmmmmm.)
5. Stuffin Young Muffins (Maybe there are cute cartoon characters involved.)
4. Smells Like Slut Spirit (With apologies to Nirvana.)
3. Sanay Sa Sahig 2 (You mean there was actually a Part 1???)
2. Pers Taym (Could there be a Sekon, Tird, Port and Pip Taym?)
1. Langonisa ni Papa (No comment necessary.)

As I uncovered these titles, I laughed and laughed until the scary Muslim vendor looked about ready to send me to the loony bin. I would no doubt have espied more movie names had I stayed longer, but my red-faced husband saw fit to hurriedly pull me out of there. On our way home, I revealed to him what I saw and he could not help but crack up as well. Yes, we had just found another reason to enjoy pirated DVD shopping!

October 31, 2005

Jampacked


We recently went on a two-night, three-day getaway to Malarayat Golf & Country Club in Lipa, Batangas. I was highly excited for the trip because it was to be our first out-of-town vacation with our baby in tow and we planned to take him swimming with us.

The evening before we left, my enthusiasm was a tad curbed when I realized that I would have to face the inescapably daunting task of packing not only for me, but for our tiny tot as well.

Just packing for myself has been enough of a conundrum ever since I could remember. I have never considered myself a smart packer for the plain reason that I cannot absorb the concept of “light packing.” In fact, there is no such thing for me. I perpetually harbor the inexplicable fear that some unforeseen crisis will arise that would require us to stay much longer in a place than expected. Thus, I end up jamming my suitcase (yes, I must have a suitcase with me at all times…even to the beach) with hoards of extra clothes, shoes and toiletries. I find myself bringing a jacket to Boracay and a bathing suit to Baguio…just in case.

These are three words that drive my husband nuts. Whenever he questions my stockpile packing strategy, my reply is always simple: just in case. I then continue to remind him of the one time during our Palawan honeymoon when I was actually vindicated. On our way back to the airport from Club Paradise Beach Resort, it rained so hard that our flight had to be canceled and we had to stop for an extra night at the neighboring Maricaban Resort. I happily pranced around in my jacket and fresh, dry clothing while my husband shivered in his remaining wet pair of shirt and shorts. After that, my stash and cram habit of packing was undeniably reinforced. But I digress.

As we prepared to go tripping with our son, I was astounded at the amount of stuff that had to be transported for such a little creature. After much fussing, stressing and agonizing, we ended up stowing and hauling all these things for baby:
  • 1 bag of disposable diapers
  • 1 box of baby wipes
  • 1 tube of diaper rash ointment
  • 1 bottle sterilizer
  • 1 adaptor for the bottle sterilizer
  • 4 milk bottles
  • 1 breast pump
  • 1 can of formula
  • 1 box of infant cereal
  • 5 burp cloths
  • 3 bibs
  • 10 sets of baby clothes (just in case)
  • 1 pair of swimming trunks
  • 1 jacket
  • 2 baby towels
  • 3 baby blankets
  • 2 pairs of shoes
  • 3 pairs of socks
  • baby powder
  • baby sunblock lotion
  • baby soap and shampoo
  • baby thermometer
  • medicine for fever (just in case)
  • multi-vitamins
  • assorted toys
  • 1 inflatable lifesaver
  • 1 pump for the inflatable lifesaver
  • 1 car seat
  • 1 stroller
  • 1 hi-tech digital camera (for Daddy to record baby’s precious moments)
  • 1 handicam (for Daddy to record more baby’s precious moments)
Whew! Take note that the above is only the list pertaining to our child. Add my pile of just-in-case stuffed bags together with my husband’s effects and our yaya’s belongings, and you can imagine the epic proportions reached. The artful loading and arrangement of all items to fit inside our ride was indeed a phenomenal feat to be proud of. Thank heavens we wisely decided to buy an SUV instead of a car. Otherwise, we might have had no choice but to leave the baby himself.

I could not help wondering. What would happen if we had two, three, four children? How in the world could we successfully squeeze everyone and everything in and out our vehicle?? Would we have to rent a Victory Liner bus??? The idea is enough to render me catatonic.

Fortunately, our family outing turned out to be truly enjoyable and relaxing, with our small bundle of joyous energy having the time of his life splashing around the pool, taking in the splendid greenery and crawling around our carpeted spacious suite.

We had such a grand time that my husband is already planning our next out-of-town trip. He wants it to be longer and farther away next time. As early as now, I can already feel the packing jitters.

October 09, 2005

Milked


I have never had either of my nipples pierced. Now that I am breastfeeding a teething baby, I suspect I already know how it would feel like -- FREAKIN’ PAINFUL!!!

Before giving birth, I was afraid I would not be able to breastfeed successfully. After giving birth, I was astounded to discover that I had enough milk to nourish a small village in Somalia. At the same time, I learned that my baby actually had the appetite of a small village in Somalia.

I do not dispute that breastfeeding works great wonders for a child. Because of it, my six-month old is a superbly healthy miniature Hercules who does not flinch when injected by his disbelieving pediatrician and can cause a black eye with one wayward swipe of his power-packed arm. And since my little man is in a constant excellent state of physical well-being and feels no bodily discomfort, he has come to possess an enviably happy disposition that charms the pants out of anybody who sees him. So really, breastfeeding is highly beneficial for infants and any mother who can, should.

However, I fervently wish those books and internet articles I nerdily perused to prepare me for nursing had at least warned me about two inevitable consequences; namely, forced nipple elasticity and unwarranted leakages.

First, I did not expect for my nipples to be battered beyond belief. My babe has turned out to be one hell of a determined sucker. Thus, my tits have been unceremoniously and incessantly twisted, pulled, pinched, pumped, tweaked, stretched and bitten. My nipples have in fact willingly suffered so much so often that they should be canonized. The worst occurs when, during a feeding session, someone enters the room and my son suddenly whips his head around to see who it is while his mouth is still latched on to my breast. At such a torturous moment, my nipple is distended like a rubber band from here to eternity and I cannot help but scream bloody murder. The sight is enough to make Mr. Fantastic hang his head down in shame at his inferior prowess.

Second, I did not imagine that I would leak like a cow with a dysfunctional bladder. I do not even drink milk so I honestly cannot fathom how my mammary glands can continuously pump out such amazing quantities. I was in the mall pushing my baby in his stroller when I noticed plenty of people intently staring at me as we passed by. I happily thought, “Wow, I must look stunning today!” and added an extra sexy swing to my stride. Then I felt it: a strange drip trickling down my tummy. I glanced down and was aghast to find the front of my white shirt so wet with milk that it was almost transparent. I wanted to evaporate (milk pun intended) from the face of the earth. I immediately snatched up my kid and hurriedly left the mall with him propped against me like a human shield. After that incident, you can bet I never left the house again without wearing breast pads.

Yet, despite the hardship and craziness, I still go on allowing myself to be used, abused, milked. I choose to bravely persevere simply because I want my child to have the best I can possibly offer.

When it comes down to it, Nazareth was right on the dot. Love does hurt.

September 26, 2005

Babe Magnet


We were in our apartment building’s elevator on the way to the basement to get our car, with my husband carrying our baby boy in his arms. When we hit the fourth floor, the doors opened and in stepped this beautiful sexy thing with a creamy white complexion, huge hazel eyes and light brown hair. I immediately recognized her as an up and coming commercial model and TV host.

Out of the corner of my eye, I saw my husband quickly shift the position of our son so that instead of facing his father, he was directly facing the pretty girl (which is precisely what she was, a girl who had probably just graduated from puberty). Of course, with our tiny tot’s head now almost touching hers, Little Miss Lovely could not help but look back at him. “Oh my gosh! What a cuuuuuuute cute cutie!” She cooed like a parakeet, almost beside herself with joy. And my spouse, who is normally reticent and even quite standoffish around strangers, instantaneously morphed into Mr. Congeniality. “Thank you!” he proudly replied, as if she was referring to him instead of our child. And then boldly continued, “His name is Niccolo. He just turned six months old.” Before he could volunteer additional vital information like his birthday, weight, height and our phone number, we finally reached the ground floor. The blossoming starlet had no choice but to make her graceful exit, but not before she stroked our baby’s cheek, threw a small smile Daddy’s way and said bye-bye to everyone.

By the time we got to our car, the hugest, silliest grin was plastered on my husband’s face. He was undoubtedly thrilled. I, on the other hand, had to fight the urge to wring his neck. I could not believe it. He had just used our innocent son as a chick magnet. Hmmmmmph!

The next day, I visited the Starbucks nearest us with my baby in tow. I wanted to savor my Mocha Frap so I pulled a chair and propped my toddler on my lap. Suddenly, the entrance door opened and in walked a stunningly handsome man. He was a tall, lean thirty-something, obviously foreign and dressed sleekly in Brooks Brothers-like clothes. He had the air of someone important and appeared oblivious to everyone around him. Goodness, he was really hot. He placed his order, got his coffee and then, as if in a dream, he began moving towards me. I felt my heart beating wildly as he came closer and closer. When he was right in front of me, I froze. His eyes were a perfect blue. He slowly bent down and for one insane moment, I thought he was going to kiss me. Instead, his hand reached out to ruffle my baby’s hair and he spoke softly to him, “Hi there! You’re really cute.” I was flabbergasted. I hastily exclaimed, “Thank you!” as if he was referring to me. And then like a blustering idiot, I went on, “His name is Niccolo. He just turned six months old.” Before I could say anything else, the finely chiseled god stood up, smiled dazzlingly at me, ruffled my son’s hair again, and left the store.

On the way back home, I realized that I hadn’t stopped smiling. I was so thrilled. My son was a dude magnet. Yipee!!!

September 18, 2005

Baby Octopus Darling


All I had to do was go to the mall and reunite with some old friends who wanted to see my five-month old son. Never in my wildest dreams, or nightmares, did I imagine that such an ordinary feat would turn out to be a ridiculously gargantuan task.

It began innocently enough. My baby boy was all dressed and ready to go in his adorable printed OshKosh B’Gosh jumper and was in his crib making cute cooing sounds. What an angel, I remember thinking, as I searched my closet for something to pair with my favorite jeans. I found an attractive red shirt and triumphantly put it on, feeling happy about how I looked.

Upon hearing his noises become slightly agitated, I promptly picked up my baby in an attempt to soothe him. Without warning, he suddenly regurgitated all over me. Patches of icky vomit trickled everywhere, from my collar down to the knees of my pants. My cherub had turned Exorcist’s Child on me! I tentatively laid him on the bed to survey the damage. Miraculously, my babe was clean as a whistle. Evidently, his entire puke landed on me. I wiped my jeans as best as I could but had no choice but to scour for a replacement top.

After some time, I found a pretty pink polo I liked. After slipping into it, I saw my tiny tot getting fidgety. I scooped him up in my arms, confident that he could not possibly have anything left to throw up. True enough, he didn’t.

However, he had something else in mind. In one fell swoop, he stretched a pudgy arm towards one of the buttons on my shirt, yanked it out and buried it in his clenched fist. He did it so quickly it was almost a blur. I did not
have enough time to think about my damaged outfit; I was too mortified by the disastrous probability of him shoving the button in his mouth and choking on it. Before I knew it, I was fully engaged in an arm wrestling skirmish with Steve Austin’s Spawn. It was not an easy battle. When I at last recovered my button, I was spent. My rugrat had put up a surprisingly good fight. It must be all that breast milk.

I caged the imp back in his crib and called out to his nanny to get a move on because we were already late. I decided to settle for a simple white blouse that could be funked up with eye-catching accessories. I hooked on my fiery red chandelier earrings, which fell perfectly above my shoulders, and slipped on a matching red bangle. I hurriedly applied some make-up, let down my carefully blow-dried hair and slipped into a pair of open-toed heels. I snatched up my baby, relieved to at last be leaving.

Just as we were stepping out of room, Schwarzenneger Junior swiftly grabbed one of my hanging earrings and held on as if his life depended on it. I instinctively yelled bloody murder. Thank heavens, Super Nanny jumped in to save the day. At the crucial point when I felt my earlobe would tear into smithereens, she was able to heroically pull my kid’s fingers away.

But Baby Octopus was not done. While nanny held his right arm, he stretched out his other arm and violently tugged at my hair. Hard. This time, I commiserated with the Indians who were scalped at wartime. I couldn’t help but let out expletives that, on any other occasion, should never be uttered in front of innocent children. When Super Nanny finally succeeded in prying his hand away, I saw so many strands of hair woven through my baby’s (was he really mine or Rosemary’s?) fingers that I had to run to the mirror to make sure a bald spot had not materialized in my head.

We were so behind schedule, I had second thoughts about going. I was at the end of my tether. I turned to the little rascal now ensconced in his yaya’s arms and glared pointedly at him. In return, he stared back at me with his huge unblinking puppy eyes and smiled a huge dimpled toothless smile. I felt my insides turn to mush. Darn. How now could I get mad at such an adorable creature? I had no recourse but to throw him back a chagrined smile, change into safe stud earrings, pull my hair back in a ponytail and go, with baby and nanny in tow.

When we arrived at our destination, we were almost two hours late. But wonder of wonders, nobody noticed. Everybody was too enthralled by my child. They kept exclaiming how darling he was and plain went crazy over anything he did. Giggle, yawn, grin, cry, drink, burp…anything. They said I was the luckiest mother to have a baby as wonderful and sweet as he is.

And you know what? I could not agree more.

August 13, 2005

Not So Stupid Cupid


I just received the most magnificent news. One of my dearest ever friends is getting married! After all the years of waiting and wishing, she finally found the man she will spend the rest of eternity with. I am so thrilled for her. And doubling my joy is the satisfaction of knowing that I was instrumental in making her dream come true.

If all things go as planned, my friend and her beau will be the third couple I have set up on a blind date to triumphantly end up at the altar. Given such a glowing success rate, it cannot anymore be denied: this Cupid must not be so stupid after all.

My husband did not use to understand my predilection for matchmaking. He would at best tolerate my persistent attempts to mix and match everyone we knew. But upon seeing positive results (his good buddy is at present blissfully wedded to mine), he saw the light and now frequently demands that I find dates for his friends.

I love setting people up. Being an innate romantic, I relish the possibility of inalterably changing destinies by strengthening people’s chances of finding The One. Because I myself have long been blessed with such a wonderful lovelife, I sincerely want everybody to also be able to experience the incomparable happiness and contentment that comes with discovering a true heart-mate. But lest I am suddenly besieged by requests for aid from a swarm of hopeful singles all ready to mingle, do take heed. In order to work my wonder, I can by no means be rushed nor coerced (although a bit of palm grease could move an aspirant a notch higher on my Priority List).

Achieving a victorious pairing takes serious time and effort. It is pointless to try to persuade two people to go out with each other merely because they happen to both be single. Most old folk, especially well-meaning parents, fall frequently into this trap.

First Mother: “Mare, I haven’t seen you in ages! How’s your daughter?”
Second Mother: “Hay naku! She is still single. She’s so into her career, I’m afraid she will become a miserable old maid.”
First Mother: “Sigh! My son is single too. It’s such a pity. At his age, he should be married and giving me grandchildren. He should go out with your daughter.”
Second Mother: “Oh, this must be fate! Here’s our number. Tell your son to give my daughter a call right away.”

And there you have it: A Prelude to Blind Date Hell. Certainly, there is much more to the process than the artless lumping together of hapless beings yearning for partnership. Special factors must be taken into account to vastly improve the odds of a couple hitting it off, so that at the very least the two will end up enjoying their date and the time and money spent on their amorous quest will not have gone to waste.

Different creatures desire different types, both physically and intellectually, and their attraction to someone will be based on how that person suits their preferred mold. Although opposites do at times complement each other, individuals still possess vital expectations that need to be mutually satisfied for a meaningful relationship to flourish. I never force-fit. Instead, I unobtrusively take mental note of potential candidates I encounter in the course of every day. I carefully observe them and try to learn what makes them tick – what is important to them, how they view the world, who their past dalliances are, so on and so forth. I absorb the tidbits of information I gather and file them in my head for future reference. When my instinct tells me a possible match looms in the horizon, I act on it immediately and attempt to connect the prospects in question. From then on, what happens next is anybody’s bet.

Thus, timing is of the essence; patience and perseverance is key. Searchees, do not despair! Let hope burn eternal and carry you through the pursuit of your ultimate dream. You will never know. Someday, somehow, when you least expect it, it could happen. An arrow shot by a not so stupid Cupid could be heading straight for YOU!

August 09, 2005

Lost


I am so horrible with directions, it is downright shameful.

Whenever I catch an episode of The Amazing Race, I cannot help but marvel as the contestants successfully decipher maps and traverse faraway places simply by following clues. I, on the other hand, will need a very detailed outline just to get from my house to NAIA. And even then, there is only a fifty-percent chance I will get there without mishap.

I do not exaggerate. I am literally a lost soul.

When I hitch home with friends to our Makati condo after a gimmick, I get so embarrassed because it means inadvertently sending them on a wild goose ride through the metropolis.

When I was in my dating years and going out with different boys, I always dreaded the part when they had to take me home to ParaƱaque. This was not because I was past my curfew, but because I was anxious about giving incorrect directions and ending up in the wrong village. For it has happened. And although it wasn’t too bad when I found myself lost (an ironic phrase, that) with someone great and gorgeous since it meant spending more time together, it was plain awful when I was stuck with someone totally repugnant.

During my working days, I would get lost going to and from my office – even if I pass the same way each day and even if my husband had already painstakingly created a sketch resplendent with drawings of landmarks to help me find my way. While managing eight shops located in different malls throughout the country, I frequently got waylaid during branch visits. Not only did I get lost on the way to the malls, I also became lost in them. I would go up and down floors, frenetically weaving my way from shop to shop, getting all dizzy and sweaty until I finally had no choice but to swallow my pride and call on my trusty store employees for guidance.

When I was eight months pregnant, I once hailed a cab in order to go to Makati Medical Center for my monthly check-up. When I told the taxi driver where to take me, he asked me what the best way to get there was. My mind went blank and I had to call my husband from my celfone so he could dictate the directions to the cabbie. After the call, the mystified driver asked me if I was new to the Philippines. And being as discomfited as I was, I said yes! Lest he probe further, I pretended to be intent on a phone conversation with an imaginary friend until I finally reached the hospital.

My husband cannot comprehend how someone who holds the titles of Valedictorian and Magna Cum Laude could be so geographically inept. He has gone from martyr-like patience to sheer annoyance, from fatherly concern to blistering rage, from utter disbelief to profound acceptance at my non-existent sense of direction. But what truly gets his goat is when I have the gall to insist that I know the way when I don’t. At times, I can give instructions so commandingly that the most street-savvy are made to hesitate, buckle and rethink their mental roadmap….only to find themselves suddenly adrift with me in Road Purgatory.

Frankly, I have no bright explanations. All I know is that when I am in a vehicle on my way to somewhere, I get so preoccupied thinking about everything and nothing. I make a mental list of stuff I need to do when I reach my desired location. I stare intently at the children selling sampaguitas in the corner and I wonder about them, where their parents are and how they can still afford to smile so brightly. I pay attention to the lyrics of the songs playing in the stereo. I check in the rearview mirror if my lipstick is applied perfectly. When someone is with me in the car, I talk and I listen. Often, I laugh. Sometimes, I pray. When my husband is driving, I like to hold his hand. When our baby is in the backseat, I make faces at him and giggle.

I get so incredibly wrapped up in the moment, I end up forgetting how I’m going to get to my targeted destination. Anyhow, in the end, I know in my gut I’ll still manage to get to where I want to be, one way or another.

Thus, I remain lost. And happily so.

August 02, 2005

Stop....You're Making My Feet Blush!

My gal pals and I were strolling by the beauty section of a department store when my eagle-eyed friend V stops dead in her tracks and points in wordless astonishment to one of the items proudly displayed on a shelf. We all stop to look. Together, we let out a collective gasp. The product was FOOT BLUSH.

Come on. Let’s get serious. Foot Blush? Is it not enough that we women are doomed to spend countless hours in front of the mirror making up our faces to look perfect? Are we now expected to make up our feet as well?

Clearly, the bewildering male obsession with the fine form of the female foot has reached phenomenal heights as the cosmetics industry has deemed it worth capitalizing on. And apparently, pink shy feet that blush are the ideal to be coveted.

Unfortunately, my husband is not immune to this wicked fixation. I vividly recall his first visit to my house many moons ago. When I met him at the door naively clad in my trusted sneakers, one of the first things he said was: “Why not change to slippers so you’ll feel more comfortable?” I thought nothing of this seemingly nonchalant request and innocently slid into a pair of simple rubber thongs. Upon giving my feet a slightly subtle once-over, he looked positively smitten. And at that definitive moment, I knew. If I wanted to keep my guy happy, I had to be willing to go all-out and bare my sole without restraint.

Throwing all caution the wind, I embarked on countless shopping sprees and amassed footwear which blatantly revealed some serious toe cleavage. (Sadly, all my conservative shoes had to go via a major garage sale.) I became a foot spa habituƩ as I unrelentingly got scrubbed, soaked and slathered to ensure that I remained impeccably smooth, non-callous and corn-free. I wore pedicures in bright, eye-catching colors. I even dared flaunting a toe ring. Too late, I realized that I had turned into a foot slut. Consequently, my man became besotted, blown away, literally head-over-heels in love with me.

As I got to know more males, I learned my husband was more the rule than the exception. Majority of men truly are hopeless foot fiends. When they look a woman over from head to toe, they really do…with their eyes lingering a little bit longer on the toe part rather than the head part. And whereas they used to keep their bizarre fixation secret, they are now more blatant about it and do not hesitate to exchange foot notes in public:

“Did you notice how fabulously smooth my girlfriend’s feet are?”
“Her feet are as soft as a baby’s, I could drown in them.”
“Man, how I want to get a taste of those Popsicle toes!”
“Those red nails are driving me insane.”
“That lady has some nerve…she should just wear closed shoes.”


Sorry, but we women do not need that Foot Blush. All this outrageous attention is enough to make our feet blush naturally.

July 30, 2005

Confessions of A Non-Desperate Housewife

Before we got married, my husband and I were the stereotypical cool modern couple on the rise. My husband vowed never to ask me to quit working. He understood how driven I was to excel in my career and believed I had what it took to really make a name for myself. I, on the other hand, was grateful for his support and was certain I was going to somehow become a corporate force to reckon with.

As undomesticated as I was, I could not fathom how it was possible for one to remain tied down to the home without going insane with ennui and turning into a Desperate Housewife (even when, at that time, the TV show was non-existent). More than this, I was so used to making my own money that I could not admit to a scenario in which I was financially dependent on somebody else. Admittedly, I then saw stay-at-home women as throwbacks to the medieval ages in need of some serious enlightenment.

Fast forward to today, four years into marriage with a four-month old baby boy in tow, and I find myself totally eating my words. I have become what I thought I would never be: a full-time Mommy. And astoundingly, I found the life-altering decision of choosing motherhood over my career almost painless.

I had a difficult time getting pregnant. It got to the point where my husband and I were psyching ourselves to be more accepting of the possibility that we might not ever have a child. When we least expected it, I finally conceived successfully and we felt indescribable happiness and relief.

With the confirmation of my pregnancy, I was suddenly hit with the overwhelming realization that the baby in my womb deserved all the love, care, time and attention I could possibly give. A wonderful blessing has been given to us, a fervent prayer answered, a long-time wish granted at last. Was it not but right that we express our gratitude by rising to the challenge of committed parenthood?

Just like that, I told my husband I wanted to quit my job so I could work on becoming the best mother I could be. And just like that, my husband unhesitatingly said yes and assured me he would willingly assume the role of sole provider. And just like that, our life underwent a paradigm shift and we happily became what we used to dread –-
a traditional married couple consisting of the working husband and his non-desperate housewife.

And as I gaze into my baby’s huge curious eyes and feel his tiny fingers gently caressing my face, I cannot help but bask in the moment and utter a sigh of blissful contentment. None of my previous achievements have ever given me such joy as I now know.

Truly, there is no greater fulfillment that can quite compare to that of being a mother.

July 29, 2005

I, The Spoilee

My husband spoils me to death. This I state as a matter of fact, albeit with a tinge of sheepishness.
When I first met him and felt that instantaneous attraction I intuitively knew would eventually lead to greater things, I had no idea of the capacity he had for demonstrating his love. When we were just getting to know each other, he did not show any propensity for being extraordinarily romantic, except for the occasional treats out and the sudden tight grasping of my hand during a movie.
When we became a couple, I was stunned to see him morph into the poster boy for Boyfriend of The Year. Monthly, he surprised me with a floral bouquet that came in exotic colors like lambada yellow and flamingo pink, along with a card that professed his undying devotion. He became my dedicated chauffeur and voluntarily picked me up and took me from and to any place I had to be at any time of day or night. I got so used to it that I actually forgot how to drive! He prioritized my needs and wants over his own. Or more aptly, my needs and wants became his. He let me pick the films and the restaurants. He bought more things for me than for himself. He patiently withstood my unpredictable moods and my irrational tantrums. He rarely found the heart to be angry with me. He wooed my family until they loved him almost as much as they loved me. He never forgot an anniversary or birthday. My girlfriends were terribly envious and wanted to clone him.
When he proposed marriage, I suspected that my days of being treated like a princess would soon be over. I was greatly mistaken. Improbable as it may seem, I became even more spoiled married. My husband has willingly taken on the domesticated chores of cooking, shopping and apartment cleaning as if it were the most natural thing in the world. He manages our household bills while unstintingly providing for my necessities and whims. And as if these weren't enough, he even lets me have the remote control! Hence, I have stopped becoming a princess; I have become a queen. A reluctant one, maybe, but a queen nevertheless.
Through it all, I admit to sometimes feeling suffused with guilt as I wonder what in the world I did to deserve such a continuous abundant outpouring of love and affection. As these moments of self-doubt creep in, it dawns on me that there are people who live to love and who are most happy knowing that those they adore are made happy by them. There exists the Naturally Born Spoilers, of which my husband is a proud member. And on the opposite side of the spectrum lie those like me....the Naturally Born Spoilees, who love to be loved and who revel in the truth that they are the center of someone’s universe.
Thus, I realize my husband and I are a perfect fit. We unwittingly make each other as joyful as can be simply by being ourselves.

Pregnant Pauses (Wow vs. Duh)

When you are caught deep in a daydream about your latest crush and your sneaky mathematics professor suddenly points to a monstrous equation on the blackboard and confronts you with the question: “So what is the solution?” and all you can do in response is to stop, look back and pretend to have been listening, that is NOT a pregnant pause. Rather, it is a pause devoid of any real meaning. It is barren, useless, blank, duh.

When the man you love so terribly falls on one knee and flashes an engagement ring before your eyes and you find yourself unable to speak as elation overwhelms your entire being and completely steals your breath away, that is a pregnant pause.

When you learn that a trusted friend betrays you and you find yourself stunned into silence by the unbelievable hurt and fury raging in your bones, that is a pregnant pause.

When your newborn child is placed in your arms for the first time and you find yourself quietly weeping with awe and joy at the wondrous miracle you have taken part in, that is a pregnant pause.

A pregnant pause is a momentary stillness laden with significance. It is rich, prolific, provocative, wow. It is a threshold for ideas and can translate into one to one thousand emotions. It welcomes imagination and brims with untold possibilities. Sometimes, it is even pinched with humor.

And as I, at last, boldly venture into the world of blogging, I fervently hope that the pregnant pauses I will share through my journals will be more wow than duh.