We just finished wrapping up our busy season at work. So here I am with some extra time on my hands, and I have decided to update my blog.
It has been 3 years since my last post and a lot of things have happened since then. To keep myself from repeating the same thing, please check my About page for updates about me and the kids.
In addition to what’s there, I have also travelled back to the Philippines this past March. Yes, after 23 years! I was very excited preparing for the trip, but at the same time I was sort of anxious. Imagine, it has been a long time since I was back home. I didn’t even know if I’d feel at home there, if I can still connect with my relatives, my aunts, my cousins. Will they like my pasalubong? Are they expecting a lot? Will they be disappointed that I didn’t bring designer labels? Will I manage to navigate my way to the places I want to visit? Will I be able to commute by bus and jeepney on my own, or will I always need a chaperone?
But you know what? The minute I got there, I realized how silly those fears were. Once I started meeting my cousins, it was just like old times. Non-stop stories about our childhood, our present lives, our work, our kids. We also shared stories about our partners, broken relationships, dyeing hair and getting highlights, ingrown toenails, etc. And as for finding my way, I did manage to find my way to the mall and back to the condo where my mother and I stayed. And I think, if I had stayed longer, I would have managed to get on the jeepney on my own.
My vacation in the Philippines was only 3 weeks long, but I tried to make the most of it. I visited a few tourist spots, some of them with my cousins, some great bonding time there. And of course one place I made sure I get to visit was my childhood town of Noveleta, Cavite. Oh boy, that was one sentimental trip! As I looked out the window of the bus as we drove along Cavitex, I thought, this is my “Journey to Honeyville.” That’s the name I chose for this blog before I changed it to “niceheart.” And as I try to revive this blog, I am bringing Journey to Honeyville back.
This happened two weeks before I found “the house,” the one I recently purchased.
My realtor and I just came from an open house and before he dropped me off at my apartment, he drove me around my street. He sometimes drives me around the neighbourhood to point out to me whether it’s a good neighbourhood, and whether it’s wise to buy a house there. That night I think he just wanted to take a peek at the lot where they were going to build their condo building. My old place is on the same street and I pointed out to him our old house. I told him how well I know this neighbourhood and how I’ve live here for 16 years and how I know all the streets.
“It’s time to move on,” he said.
All this time, I thought I’ve moved on. But I’m still hanging on to this place.
That’s when I realized, “Yeah, I think it’s about time I move on.”
Who knows, maybe there’s something or someone waiting for me at my new place.
“Mommy, I have a headache. Can you call the school?” That was my 13-year old son on Monday morning. “Ay naku, Ryland,” I said, “there’s only 4 days of school left. You go take a shower now and I’ll give you Tylenol.” So he went to school, without the Tylenol. He was fine. He didn’t really have a headache.
This school year, he had quite a few absences. I kinda had a feeling that sometimes he just didn’t want to go to school and he’d tell me that he wasn’t feeling well. I had been lenient with him and his brothers because I know that it has not been an easy year for them. And I also feel guilty for putting them through these hard times because of the separation with their dad. Although I know I shouldn’t feel guilty because they know the reason why I did it, and they know that it’s all for the best. One other reason I feel guilty is not being at home as much as I want to because I have these two jobs. But I try to be there as much as I can. And I know they understand that I’m doing this for them.
That night at the dinner table, I told Ryland, “You know what, I just realized that you were probably not really sick those days that you would tell me that you were.” Then my 17-year old blurted out, “I already knew that. I was laughing in my bed when I heard him this morning.” Yeah right. Because this one had quite a few absences too. Ah these boys. They got me fooled. “Oh you guys. This can’t go on. Things are gonna change next year!”
Today’s a good day. I just bought a house! Today. Exactly a year to the date the boys and I moved out of the house they grew up in. Exactly a year to the date we moved in to this two-bedroom apartment suite that we have called home this past year.
I’m so excited! We don’t move until August, but it’s pretty exciting! And emotional too. But emotionally happy, not sad. I’ve been separated for a year now, but I have pretty much moved on.
It’s been a good day. The boys and I went out to lunch with my mother today to celebrate my middle son’s 17th birthday, which is tomorrow. We went to Red Lobster. I knew my middle son had wanted to go there for the longest time.
It’s a bad day, I heard my youngest son said. He wanted to go to Pizza Hut instead. Although I’m pretty sure that he enjoyed the hand-breaded shrimp that he ordered at Red Lobster.
Why would you say it’s a bad day? I asked. It’s a good day. We just bought a house. I think I know why he thought it’s a bad day. It’s father’s day and he and his brothers didn’t spend it with their dad. The topic at mass this morning was about fathers and father’s day and it must have upset them somehow. He hasn’t been much a part of their lives since the separation. I actually wanted him to try to have relationship with his boys, but it’s not up to me now.
But see, these three had been laughing a lot today, joking around. After a year, they have pretty much adjusted to our situation and I think they have also moved on. So, I think, overall, it’s been a pretty good day. I just bought a house!
I had been getting quite frustrated with this house hunting. I have looked at several houses. A few didn’t look as good as they looked on paper. There were about two that I wanted to buy, but I got outbid. Oh, I hate these bidding wars. But today, I was the one who had the highest bid. It’s a good day!
I just finished reading “A Tale of Two Cities” by Charles Dickens. I can’t remember how many times I have read this book over the years. I love the beginning line: “It was the best of times, it was the worst of times.” I also love the different plots in the novel. I agree with Alex Trebek when he said to a Jeopardy contestant who is also a booklover that every time you read the same book, it’s a totally different experience. Sometimes you forget what a book is about after a long time, but what I couldn’t forget about this book is Sydney’s ultimate sacrifice at the end.
“It was the best of times, it was the worst of times.” It seems this line applies to my life at the present. Ending a long-time relationship may sound like it could be the worst of time in someone’s life, but if it’s a bad, explosive relationship, it could mean that it could also be the best decision someone makes. But of course, when we talk about relationships, there are always emotions involved. And that’s what makes it suck big time. I had wanted to leave a long time ago and it’s not like I left on a whim. I have thought about it very carefully and I don’t have any regrets.
A few weeks ago, I was given two awards at work. Perfect Attendance and 100% Quality for the year 2010. “How did you pull that off?” asked a co-worker. I honestly don’t know. I guess instead of wallowing in self pity and despair last year, I just really tried to focus on something else – work. And I guess it worked! And I’m very proud of these achievements. But the irony of it is this. Later that same day when I received these awards, I was at my lawyer’s office finally signing my separation agreement. It has been a long process drafting that document, going back and forth with my ex’s lawyer, trying to bargain on how much I should get from the division of our conjugal assets and liabilities. In the end, I agreed to what the ex wanted, just so I could get the money in my hands already (well it will go to my bank, actually.)
“Hardworking, niceheart. Life’s not fair, eh?” My lawyer greeted me when I showed up at his office.
“Well, it’s not.”
“How do you put up with it?”
“Well, I have already accepted that that’s the way he is and this is the way it’s gonna be.”
I could have fought it in Court, but as my lawyer has explained to me, I might end up losing more in the end.
What I have learned in life, especially during the time I have spent with this person, is that you have to choose which battles to fight. Not all of them are worth fighting for. And when you think you have lost in one aspect of your life, just look at the rewards and blessings you have. That’s how you move on with your life. That’s how I move on with my life.
After mass on Sundays, our new parish priest will ask us to sit down and he’ll ask if anybody has any good news to share. Such as a birthday, anniversary, somebody recovering from a sickness, etc. Today, when he turned his head to where my sons and I were sitting, I raised my hand and I stood up when he nodded to me. I said, “My youngest son turned 13 this weekend.” “Happy birthday,” he said to the embarrassed young man beside me. This young man, who I look up to (that is because he’s now a few inches taller than I am, he he he), said “Geez” a few times. He says that a lot to me, but I knew he was flattered by the attention especially when a couple of parishioners said Happy birthday to him on their way out.
So yeah, he’s officially a teen-ager now. I said officially because it felt like he’s been a teen-ager already these past couple of years. We’ve had our ups and downs. I think the downs have been caused mostly by how hard it has been for me to let him go. He used to be my sweet little boy. Well, he’s still a sweet boy, not so little anymore. But he doesn’t want me to hug him or kiss him anymore. If I do, he either pushes me away or gives me that deadly look. Or both. Then I feel hurt and rejected. And then maybe I’ll get snappy at him. But most of the time we’re good. He still tells me about his day at school, not always, but most of the time. And I’ll take that. Kaya lang ayaw na nya kong bunutan ng puting buhok. 😦 Those times had been great bonding times for us.
But you know what, I’m so proud of him. He has been through a lot this past year. We have all been through a lot. I know it has not been easy for him and his brothers, especially him being only 12 when all the big changes in our life happened. But he had been strong and he was able to stay grounded. He was able to keep focused on his studies. He received the Sacrament of Confirmation in the spring. He received the Overall Achievement Award when he graduated from Elementary School in June. He’s my inspiration and I look up to him. And that’s not just because he’s now taller than I am.
Note: This was originally written on February 13, 2011