Monday, December 19, 2011

Simply Yohan

1999. 21st of December. Tuesday. Looking at the calendar, it suggests we’re being just a few more days before the turn to a new millennium. Jackie and I geared up for work, drove her to her office, and then proceeded to mine. Nothing unusual. Just one of those another ordinary day.

Came 10:00 AM, I received a call. Said she’s back home to pick up the stuffs she particularly prepared for the day we had been anticipating about. She’s feeling it; she was already to give birth anytime. I took off and rushed back home but found no trace of Jackie. Neighbors would tell me they are gone. Pretty sure, it must be taxi I met at the crossroad.

I proceeded to the hospital with my heartbeat pacing like the beat of the car engine. And as soon as I had parked, I sped inside. I was met by her OB, told me it was a swift delivery – 20 minutes, tops! Reading the aura of excitement and eagerness on my face, I was pointed to the nursery. There I saw a thinly wrapped child so delicate, sleeping so calmly with her distinct sunken pair of dimples. Undeniably so beautiful. Very adorable…

Looking at her pink face, I guess I shed tears of joy. For 4-years and 10-months, the waiting is finally over. I closed my eyes and thanked God, in the highest spirits. Another blessing to thank for. Another reason to be motivated. Another inspiration to a happy family life.

I went to my wife in the recovery room, still sedated but half conscious. We held hands and kissed. It was a very ecstatic moment. I told her how beautiful our new baby is. She just dizzily smiled back, and slept. In 2-days we would return home. Everyone would be very happy to see her. And after 3-months, we christened our daughter “Joanna Carolina”, with her second name after my mother. And we fondly call her “Yohan”.

To date, just a few days more and she will turn 12. The years rolled so quickly that we almost did not notice her grow so fast. Well, at least to me – because if there’s a list she keeps where I would certainly topnotch, it must be the number of times I am away during her birthdays.

Among our three daughters – which is all we have, Yohan is our middle child. She holds the most difficult spot among our siblings. She has a 4-year 10-month gap with both of her sisters. When she converses to her elder sister (Carla Janina), she must elevate her mind half a decade over her age to cope up with Janina’s mind frame. And when she talks to her little sister (Carla Juliana, or Jia), she must reduce herself to another almost 5-years to alleviate their stance.

Not provided of any choice, either she plays a forced adult, or a temporary toddler. For her to be comprehensive, she must be able to lithely swing within that almost 10-year span between her sisters. I really have no idea how she does it. Either it is a skill, or something she is bound to be outstanding at. It is tough, but she knows it is the only way that she can aptly communicate with her sisters.

That’s why sometimes she’d rather choose to be alone and be vividly quiet. She would lock herself up, or would choose to be distant from our sights. I must know, at times she’d just want to be herself; of her age, of her own mind structure, and just be naturally by her own habitat. Because the moment she strikes a conversation, she’d end up playing in character again.

This must be the reason that she is never a Papa’s girl, neither a Mama’s girl too. There are indirect strives between us. We, her parents, would always want to comprehend. That’s what parents are expected to do anyway. But sometimes, the intangibles are just too vague to understand. Just so profound and delicate and fragile, but must never be ignored.

She would never reiterate asking favors. Once shot down, she’d just weep by herself. That’s when I and Jackie have to be mind readers. We have to really dig her to speak her mind. Not that she is unspoken, not that she is shy. She just doesn’t appreciate repeated conversations.

Yohan is not as bubbly as Jia, nor as eye-catcher as Janina. She can be as funny as hell, and can be noticeably jolly. But her personality would usually situate her to take the backseat. She normally spares highlight moments. She has a big heart for that. She doesn’t care much about accolades. She can just be a calm and quiet supporter.

As parents, particularly to me, it pains my heart that our Yohan is just unique as compared to her sisters. She may yet to speak her heart out, and just be vividly open. But in delight, she is still young. And since she just recently turned ‘from a child to a lady’, now she has all the time to mature, and see what her world has to offer. Maybe it is just one of those stages where a middle child must undergo. Surely things will be processed as she grows. And we will never stop to show she is no different among her sisters in terms of our love, support, guidance and compassion.

But make no mistake, there are things she does best that are so distinct of and very particular about her. When down, she would exactly know how to cheer us up, and catch us before we even hit the ground. She is a very loving person. She is always around when love is quiet. How she cuddles me is just superb. How she holds her Mom speaks a lot. She would strategically exist at the midst of every silence. She would always fill the missing link.

And she is also full of surprises. She sends me e-mails about any good thing she is sure would paint a smile on my face. She is also a good artist that each time I go overseas, and as soon as I arrive elsewhere, and as I unpack my things, I would find her self-made cards. And yes, her messages are so simple yet so deep that you would not expect it came from the heart of a growing young lady. She chooses her words so profoundly. She is a very caring child.

To imagine her pretty face is always easy – as if her dimples and wide eyes are just affront smiling. God thanks heavens, I could never picture not having her as our child. Her dreams largely speak how much love is in her heart as it would always include her siblings and not just for her own self – it’s always “we”, too seldom for “I”.

Yohan my child, we may not swear too much promises to you. But you know within that you are much loved, equally same as your siblings. But it is your special day, and actually your last birthday before turning into another dazzling teenager. There’s just one thing I can assure you though. However things go, whatever happens in the future, always remember; me and you, and Mama too - we will always be a team. We will focus on track of your big dreams. And with your overwhelming insights, there is no way we shall ever go backwards. That will never be an option. Because life will be easy - as you will be there to carry our spirits up high.

Again… we love you, our dearest Yohan. I would never wish you to be good on anything – because I know you shall always strive to get better.

Happy 12th birthday, Yohan, and you are much loved..! God, I can’t wait to wrap my arms around your tiny frame now.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Sixty-eight and gone, but was never lost

I must have seen it all, just by being the eldest
We started from nothing, which to others may even be less
You teach and live in Aparri, Mommy goes to NCC
And periodically, Philippine Rabbit would juggle me.

I was four, and Lore Lyn came by to us hushing
I didn’t like the name, you let me choose 'Caren'
Had our first picture together on Mom’s graduation
Soon she’ll be out there to mentor other children.

Another four years passed, a brother to us you’d give
Lore Junn had an ‘e’ just when to Saudi you’d leave
After a year you’d come home, he picks you from MIA
He grew so fast, you asked “Who’s child is this, Mama?”

Back to the dessert to provide us more from less
Built us a house to alleviate us with the others
Unfortunate events had pinched your heart and rethink
You can’t stand the camels, you seriously think they stink.

You came home, back to teaching, no more leaving us again
Wisdom you’d infuse upon us and altogether we’d dream
All three kids in school, just the duo of you couple at home
For eleven years, that’s the life you had with Mom.

But when your youngest pride was about to graduate
You said you are done; no more challenge left to take
Health was not your friend, it thumped you up quite fast
You hastily left us just when our lives were about to start.

By then I had family, same as your “only girl in the world”
Janina you’d love to carry, and Micah so delicate to hold
Those short memories with you are still fresh in their minds
You conquered their hearts - they still cry for you, Dad.

Your teachings, your antics, your laughter, just everything
You packaged us expansively, life’s tests can get a beating
An ace you left us, Mom is always on our sides each time
She steers us back to track, altering tough life sublime.

That even if all of your kids are thousand miles apart
Each thing you taught us always brings us a bright spark
A hint how to get around about life, whip it and succeed
Not necessarily richly, just enough to quench our needs.

Humble kind of life, that’s the very lesson you instilled in us
After all, seems we never got away from your strict standards
We are still the same guys that you well loved and raised, Dad
No way you can’t recognize us when we meet again for last.

Just too bad, we don’t miss you that much anymore, Dad
You made our lives complete, all we see is your watermark
You are reminded whenever we are filled with blessings
You baked us so well, how can we not say but good things.

Tell us Dad, how could we miss you at all, anyway
Our thoughts and hearts you would occupy always
It’s been so long and we still celebrate your birthday
Do you receive all our greetings and messages, by the way?

Must have been your sixty-eighth this fifth of December
The thirteenth time you’ll miss your party as I remember
Naturally there’ll be cakes and prayers and singing again
And yes Dad you’ll reign, surely we’ll be chanting your name.

There shall be more poetry, adoring your memories
You may have to wait and see our cheerful kids hymns
From the traits you bequeathed us, for sure they won’t miss
Because of you we become the creation of your dreams.

Happy birthday Dad, from Mommy who’d still call your name
From us your kids and all of your six bubbly grandchildren
You crafted a big one here, you must be smiling up there now
Your legacy shall remain, it’s still unblemished, somehow.

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Waltzing Carla Juliana... @ 7

Our Beloved Jia,

There are just so many things I want to tell you today, and being lost of words may not be enough for an excuse that I can only say a few. So I guess I shall only pick the most essential thoughts that come to mind so easily:

You taught us the element of surprise; you came into this world three months before your due - being preterm (premature). You caught us quite a bit, but we nevertheless cheered.
You taught us the spirit of struggle; that even with your tiny frame holed with various tubings, you kept your composure and rayed us with hope by your imaginary sunken smiles, as if telling us to keep our cool. The fight was never easy, but the battle has to be won.
 You taught us the significance of the air we breathe; without ventilators available, even as my tears would drop on your thinly skin, I manually pumped your lungs as they were dysfunctional when you arrived. And you held your ground. And we as a team did it.

You taught us how to beat time; I had to hammer the highways in the first eight hours since your birth to look for your surfactant to give you a fighting chance. Divine direction pulled me where it was. And you chanted; "Bring it on, Pa’. I have this!"

Taking everything more lightly now, those antics of yours brought out the best among us. And now you have become a great joy to everyone as you’ve turn out to be just another important reason to survive life’s challenges.

You would not understand all these now, my little child. But one day you’ll find your way to read this, and fathom how you affected our hearts. There is no any better manifestation of what you have brought us more than the will to live life accurately – notwithstanding the tests of time. The aura that you paint in your cheeks never fails to amuse us.

You graduated from Kindergarten, and Papa was away and wasn’t by your side as you marched with your petite white gown. Mixed feelings that day, so I just filled my thoughts of you; as I imagined my arms were wrapped all over you, while my lips are pressed all over your pretty, lovely, tiny little face - always full of smile and inspiration.

And now you have just turned seven. All your baby teeth aren’t gone yet, but the kiss you plant on our cheeks and lips would always bring us to cloud nine. You are simply a manifestation of pure magic because you wipe away our discomforts so swiftly, and instantly switch our moods to be passionate about striving for a better life – always. Exhaustion and tiresomeness can be shoved quickly, and your music would toggle us to happy mode easily – no sweat, hands down, so big time!

Well, it’s still a long shot before you can overcome the shadows of your hardly fought struggle, but I promise you that with us all being tight and always driven, there shall never be another way but for all of us to get better everyday. Our team will be strong, and consequential difference will be inevitable - simply because you are a part of it.

Be it as it may, in behalf of your elder sisters, our salutation with Mama to your every achievement comes with our tightest hugs. This must be just one great start of your humble beginnings. I know there is yet more to come.

We love you, our beloved Kalempoink. Walk on, go ahead, explore the world, and soar up high. Do not ever worry of your tiny wings. Before those get tired of flapping, our love and support will lift you up again – always, and forever. That’s not a promise you can count on, but rather our pledge of love and support you have to expect.

All of our kisses… All of our love…
Our world is yours…

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

All Alone Again...

It’s been a while since I last blogged. I thought I would not even open this site anymore. But being a thousand miles away from home on my natal day, lonesomeness brought me here. And so here I am again after a lull of ten long months.

I’ve already been in this hole for a number of times. How many of my birthdays had been ‘celebrated’ away from my loved ones? Must have been a dozen times I suppose, or maybe just a little less. So there should be nothing unusual today aside from my statistical bump in that department. Yet I guess it would still have been better if I’m home. Pretty sure that my kids would hug and kiss me as if like not a must during birthdays. And that my wife would wish and maybe suggest me great things right through my ear. And yes, my dogs too…

But in retrospect, why do people celebrate birthdays? What is the feat that is won in every single birthday? Is it because we have lived another year again? But some would even end theirs! Wait. Or is it because it is how it is done in movies? Well, that can be a valid reason. And add up that there is a global feast every yuletide too, though that’s a far way different aspect. So it is now certain that birthdays are just celebrated ‘procedurally’, and not objectively.

Given that even if I want to, I can’t celebrate by myself due to the fact that I don’t even know where to treat myself. And so today I am compelled to be but alone hitting my keyboard, literally communicating with myself, and at the same time thinking something that goes; “What do I have to thank for, aside from being a year wiser once again”. And so I began to count my blessings.

I have a great family; a wife that is very kind, supportive and beautiful too, and three wonderful daughters that I can’t imagine what life could be without the inspiration they bring me. And just by that alone, I don’t think I would need any better motivation not to think of having more birthdays in this life. Their smiles, and laughter, and everything I see in them, just pushes me to want to live longer.

And my Mom who is still very healthy and strong, who would never cease to pat me by my shoulder saying I’m doing a good job. That even when I’m on a remiss, she would always tell me to just move forward and be enthused at all times. She’s my up-keeper, my untiring counselor, and my motivator. And she’s having her birthday tomorrow too.

Same goes to my sister and brother and their families too, for not missing to cheer for me. Just by the thought that they are there watching over my family’s welfare either from a distance, in silence or in person, I know that I am so blessed already.

And yes, my dogs too.

Life is sweet. Life is beautiful. Be it a birthday or just another ordinary day, I’d rather choose to be diplomatically productive by performing my job as a son, a brother, a husband, and a father - rather than to celebrate in naught.

And also as a believer. At foremost I can only thank God for endowing me this opportunity to pass by this world with all these blessings surrounding me.

Or am I just saying all these because I'm alone?

"Happy birthday, Carlo."