My treasures

When folks know you're bringing a child into the home, the only advice they offer is mostly complaining about the lack of sleep, lack of time, or the financial burden of raising kids . . .how grueling it is to wake up in the wee hours of the night to feed a newborn or how trying it is to wrestle with a terrible toddler or rebellious teenager.  They say things like, "You'll see how hard it is" (and no doubt, it is definitely hard!) or "Wait until they're fifteen!"  They don't mention often enough the contentment of simple, precious moments such as . . . 

-- when N. shifts her body until she's in the middle of my chest, so that she can listen to my heartbeat just like when she was in the NICU, and we had skin-to-skin time.
-- when I gaze into my little sea monkey's round face that was so thin and hollow at birth and I feel how heavy she's grown in just a month and a half, and I see how the title of Miss Moonpie 2012 (thanks to Auntie K. for the reference) really does befit her.
-- even though she can't see quite yet, when her focus is on me as I cradle her, she smiles and I notice the dimple in her left cheek.
-- when I fit her into the Moby carrier, and we can actually get out the door for a short stroll around the neighborhood.
-- when I tell her cousins that she will respectfully call them Ate/Manang or Kuya/Manong, and they are excited to have an affectionate designation themselves.
-- the 'life has come full circle' look on Lola's, Lelang's, Apong's, Grandma's and Grandpa's faces as they rush to grab her from her bassinet.
-- when N. nestles into the crook of my arm as I go through my repertoire that consists of Rutgers songs, Broadway showtunes, Ilocano and Tagalog melodies, and '60s through the '80s pop and she finally falls asleep.
-- when I'm up with N. during her early morning feeding, and I sing Elvis' My Way (also Dad's theme song) as my eyes well up because I know my Dad would have been thrilled to meet her.

These are indeed my Life's treasures.


Turn, turn, turn

To everything - turn, turn, turn / There is a season - turn, turn, turn / And a time for every purpose under heaven ~The Byrds

N. is six weeks old.  After working in the city for the past 18 years, I officially submitted my resignation last Friday, effective October 5th, so that I can spend the first year with N.  This weekend marks the fall equinox.  It's definitely a time for reflection as another life change invites me to dig deep and trust that I'm meant to be where I am at this moment in time.  

Hormones aside, the transition to life with baby has left me not only sleep deprived, but also anxious about what the future holds.  I turn to my partner, A., for his emotional and financial support.  I am well aware that I will not be contributing financially to our household income for the next year, and I feel super guilty about it . . . despite the fact that we've run the numbers and planned for this special time.  No doubt a year goes by fast.  Still I wonder, Will I be able to find a future position that suits my family needs?  Can I find an opportunity close to home?  

A. recently asked me, Did you think you would be where you are ten years ago?  Certainly not.  Back then, I was sure I'd never marry and live in my one-bedroom apartment with my bulldog, Daffodil (who doesn't exist), and continue to work in the city.  Funny how life works out.  And ten years from now?  Who knows? 

I turn to the Present.  I remind myself to focus on the now.  Savor each day, moment by moment.  

Six weeks since N.'s birth, I notice that my relationships are changing -- with colleagues, family, and friends.  I have a new found respect for parents.  I always promised myself that I would not become one of those women who becomes obsessed with only their offspring and their family life.  But sometimes there's little time for anything else amidst the childcare and task mastery.  And if there is a spare minute or two, I'm lucky to just close my eyes or take a shower!  

I turn to my Mother Council, a privileged intimate group of friends to whom I often seek support and wisdom on various concerns.  I am blessed to be close to these women who model the kind of mama I hope to grow into.  With multiple demands, they remain down-to-earth and close to those who matter, including the relationships they nurture with their friends.  I also turn to my women confidantes who choose not to be mothers, and they, too, with their multitasking stay connected.  The women in my life are courageous and inspire me through their very being. 

The reality as I used to know it -- just A. and me, hours spent commuting back and forth to work, funding requests and proposal deadlines -- has definitely shifted.  A. & I have waited a long time for N. to join us.  I turn to N., and she has changed my life in ways I only imagined for so long.  

Admittedly what I don't do often enough is . . . turn to Spirit, who has brought me thus far.  What I must remember is . . . turn, turn, turn to the Divine especially as the season of autumn allows me to pause and cherish my time with N. 



Sunday's firsts.  At one month old, N. experienced her first sniff of the bay.  After being cooped up at home, the bay full of peanut bunker amidst a perfectly sunny sky brought me ecstasy.  Ah, the present.  

We introduced N. to our fave brunch spot, Lenora's, where she met Tia Lenora and Tio Jose. Having suspected something was wrong, Lenora wondered why we'd canceled my 40th birthday soiree last month.  Enchanted by N., she fawned over her new 'niece.'  We ordered our usual paninis - Tuscany for A. and Turkey and Chipotle for me.  

Since N. has been home the past two weeks, we've been sponge bathing her. In celebration of her one month birthday, N. had her first bath in the kitchen sink with the support of the Blooming Bath sunflower.  Quick and traumatic.  Hopefully, it'll get better.

Such simple firsts made my weekend.  I need nothing more but encounter life's abundance through the newborn senses of N.      


For Nayla Bay

the possibility of you
inspired by winter's tidings and gracious deeds
summer encouraged you 
to make your entrance into the universe oversoon
may pag-ibig at liwanag (with love & light) 
you were my 40th birthday celebration
Spirit fancied you for us
and we name you --
Nayla means "I love you"

(Nayla pronounced ny-luh)