Posts filed under ‘My guilt trip’

I just realized . . .

“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!”

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July 3, 2011 at 10:53 pm 1 comment

My Minnesota Trip – On The Road

July 7, 2009, Tuesday 12:41 am

Dear Kitty,

I’m going on a trip from Winnipeg to Minnesota to visit Auntie D and Uncle Sparkie with Mama tomorrow, well it’s already tomorrow, so actually, in just a few hours. This is the first time I’m going outside of Canada in a very long time. 18 years to be exact. I would have loved to take a trip with the family. But none of them would want to come with me. Well, that’s mainly because Mama and I are taking the bus. She didn’t want to drive all the way there. I thought I could convince my youngest son, since he hasn’t been apart from me. But he didn’t want to go. I think because his brothers aren’t going.

I have been talking about the trip with them, a lot more recently since I have been reminding them to do their chores, and also mine, while I’m away. And please don’t forget to flush the toilet. I don’t want to come home to a messy and stinking house, I would tell them. 🙂 I’d ask the youngest one if he’d miss me, he’d say that he won’t. Of course, he’s only pretending. I know he’s going to miss me. I will miss them, especially my baby the most.

Tonight, before he went to bed, he gave me the longest hug. I thought he was going to cry. But he didn’t. He’s a big boy now.

I’m excited about the trip. I need to get away from TH, even if just for a few days. Sometimes I feel that it’s sort of a sacrifice for me though to leave the boys behind. I know it’s just four days. But this is the first time I’m going to be away from them. It’s true that the two oldest ones had been away on band trips. But still. This time, I’m the one going away.

It’s 1:02 am now. I better go to bed. I have to get up at 6:00 am.

9:48 am

The bus was supposed to leave at 9:15 am, but we’re just pulling out of the terminal now. And aga pa naman naming dumating sa bus station. Mama wanted to be there at 8:00 am. So ang tagal naming naghintay duon. Just before 9:15 am, the bus driver of Jefferson Lines came inside the waiting area. She was wondering why nobody was getting on her bus. Well, we were waiting for the announcement. We didn’t hear anything.

Last night my youngest one asked me to wake him up before I leave in the morning. Eh masunuring bata ako, so I did. 🙂 I said goodbye to him, hugged him and kissed him on the cheeks three times. Hindi naman tumangi. Because he usually does.

1:25 pm

So we arrived at the Canada/US border at Emerson at around 11:15 am. All the passengers of the bus had to get out including luggage and all and check in with the US Customs. It shouldn’t have taken up more than half an hour, but we learned from the others that one of the passengers was called right away inside the office for questioning. The bus can’t leave while he’s there. At 12:15 pm, we all got on the bus again. The driver drove around a little bit and brought the problem passenger at the Immigration Office. She came with him in there. After about half an hour, they both came back in the bus. Mrs. Driver dropped off Mr. Passenger at a nearby inn. At first, Mr. Passenger wouldn’t get off the bus. You can’t go to the U.S., Mrs. Driver told him. I called my friends and asked them to pick me up there, he said. But they don’t want you hanging out at the Immigration Office, she said. They exchanged some more words. I could feel the tension among the other passengers. We’re already about a couple of hours behind schedule and I know some of them have to catch another bus at the next station and some at another station. Then thankfully, one of the passengers at the back came forward and spoke to Mr. Passenger in his language. I don’t know what Miss Passenger told him, but he finally got off the bus and now we’re on our way to U.S.

4:50 pm

We’re just leaving Fargo. We switched to a different bus. I’m thinking of calling home at the next stop if there’s a phone there. I’m not even sure if I can call long distance from a public phone. It’s been a long trip. Naiiyak ako. 😦 I miss my bunso, the others too, but him most especially.

It’s now July 8, 2009, Wednesday 12:50 am

We’re here now at Auntie D and Uncle Sparkie’s place. Arrived at around 12:30 am. Mama and I are sharing a bed in the basement.

Flashback: It was around past 9:00 pm when Mama asked one of the Filipino passengers in the bus if she could borrow her cell phone. We were supposed to be in Minneapolis at 7:50 pm and we were worried that Auntie D and Uncle Sparkie might have thought that we weren’t coming and have left. How could we go to their place and it’s two and a half hours drive from Minneapolis to McGregor? Luckily, Mama was able to get a hold of her and Auntie D told her that she has been worried and had called Winnipeg a few times already. She had confirmed that we have left that morning and so they hung around at the terminal but of course they were worried.

It was already 9:30 pm when we arrived at the bus station. After a few hugs, I asked Auntie D right away if I could borrow her cell phone so I could phone home. She said that she already called home and had let them know that we had called from the bus and we were delayed. I sort of felt bad that I wasn’t able to talk to the boys, but also nahihiya na rin naman ako dahil nakailang long distance na siya. I know the boys would have understood. I can’t sulk 😦 now because after all, I’m a big girl now.

Yours,
niceheart

Next time: My visit to Mall of America

August 16, 2009 at 1:25 am 7 comments

My mommy guilt trips

megan-joy

I didn’t really like Megan Joy that much. Okay, I did like her when she sang Put Your Records On and Black Horse and the Cherry Tree. But after that she kinda went downhill. It’s Danny Gokey and Adam Lambert who have been my favourites since the auditions. And for the last three weeks, I’ve been swooning over Kris Allen. 🙂 But I was touched when Megan said goodbye last night on American Idol. When she said “Baby, Momma’s coming home,” and she started to cry. I got choked up, too. I knew that it has been hard for her to be away from her little boy. I didn’t like her ‘I don’t care attitude’ last night, but maybe there was a part of her, before the results were revealed, that wanted to go home anyway.

Well, you see, I have been having these mommy guilt trips lately. I have been working extra hours, staying late at work and sometimes working on the weekends, too. I am exhausted by the end of the week. Last Saturday, I thought I’d lie down for a bit when we came home from shopping. But I guess I was too tired and I didn’t budge when my 11-year-old son woke me up for supper. It was already around 9:00 pm when I got up to eat.

My son told me, “You slept long, mommy.”

“Yeah, I was so tired,” I told him. “Next time shake me harder when you wake me so I can have supper with you all.”

And also, the other night, I was telling my son that there are a lot of people away at work this week, most of them mothers.

“Why?” he asked.

“Because it’s spring break,” I said. “Maybe they have planned something with the family, or they probably just want to spend time with the kids.”

“Then why didn’t you take a vacation?” he asked.

“Well, I take all my vacation days in the summer when all of you are at home,” I said. “And then we could plan to go somewhere like when we went to Alberta that one summer.”

“Oh,” he said.

“Do you want me to take the week off on spring breaks?” I asked him.

“Nah,” he said.

Even with that answer, this conversation still made me feel kind of guilty.

I wonder if there would ever be an end to these mommy guilt trips.

April 2, 2009 at 8:43 pm 2 comments

He’s so dramatic

This is how it usually goes when I tuck my 10-year old son into bed.

Me: Okay Ryland, I can only stay for five minutes. I still have things to do.

Him: Oh, but I have to tell you my story, remember?

Me: Okay, but I’ll leave after you tell me your story.

So after about half an hour, I’m already itching to go to finish cleaning up in the kitchen or put away the laundry so I can finally sit down and watch TV or read my book.

Me: Two more minutes and I really have to go now.

Him: What? And leave your son in this cold dark place?

🙂

And of course I’ll end up staying a few more minutes.

So I wasn’t surprised when he came home from school one day and told me…

Him: Mommy, Mrs. Papa (not her real name) said I’m so dramatic. What does that mean?

🙂

Me: Dramatic. It comes from the word drama. You know what actors do when they act? They express their emotions. Like when they’re happy, you can see from their face that they’re happy. Or when they’re sad, or angry, you know.

Him: Yeah, yeah, I get it now.

Me: How come? Why did Mrs. Papa say you’re so dramatic?

Him: Because in Math, we have problem solving and I mixed up the numbers. Then I asked her if I have to do it all over again and she said yes. And then I said, hhaahh (he let out a sigh). And then she said, you’re so dramatic.

🙂

And he is. I can relate a few more instances, but I want to keep this post short. 🙂 I told him that he should sign up for Drama Club. But he wouldn’t. He thinks that it’s lame. I told him that I’d watch him perform. But I couldn’t convince him. 🙂

September 21, 2008 at 3:07 pm 11 comments

Getting ready for school

School starts in three days. Since last week, I’ve been trying to get the kids ready for school. I mean not just ready in getting school supplies and new school clothes and shoes, but also getting their bodies accustomed to going to bed early and getting up early. I would let them stay up late until 11:00 p.m. and let them get up at whatever time they would get up, sometimes even as late as 11:00 a.m. But last week, I made them go to bed at 10:00 p.m. and I’d wake them up at 8:00 a.m., with a phone call from my work. That was their alarm clock. But starting next week, they have to go to bed at 9:00 p.m. and I will wake them up at 7:00 a.m. before I even leave for work.

Speaking of school supplies, here are just some of the things from my fifth grader’s list that I found interesting:

1 package faint-lined 1/4″ or .5 size squared graph paper

When I first went shopping for school supplies, I only found the kind that’s on the right. The lines are kind of dark for me. But you see, I’m the kind of person that sticks to the rules, and when the list says faint-lined, I want to find a faint-lined one for my child. It’s also because I know why the list suggests faint-lined. After all, I’ve been a math student myself. The reason is so that you can see your pencil or pen markings better on the paper and not be overshadowed by the dark lines of the paper.

1 30 cm ruler (without inches) (metal or hard plastic)

This is the first time I’ve seen a 30 cm ruler (without inches) on the list. It’s true that we use the metric system here in Canada, but we usually measure things in inches, even the kids, and we’d just convert to cm, if that’s what’s called for. Most rulers that are sold here have inches on one side and centimetres on the other side. But we found a ruler without the inches. And had we not, my son could have used a ruler with both inches and centimeters.

1 calculator with 4 basic functions (+, -, x, ./.)

My son chose this one from the many calculators displayed on the rack. His basis for choosing it is the basic keys on the calculator. But look, it’s a Canon recycled calculator. It’s made from recycled Canon copier. I sure hope it does the work as the regular calculator.

And this one baffled me since I saw it on the list:

1 package end of pencil erasers

This is also the first time I’ve ever seen it on the list. What does that mean? End of pencil eraser? Do you take out the end of an old pencil? And he needs a package of it? How many in a package?

Well, I finally asked my sister whose son was in fifth grade last year and if he ever had to get this school supply. So she showed me what they look like.

They are these:

I couldn’t find a package of end of pencil erasers, but I found this kit, which has only 4 of those things. So I guess that would do for now.

Deodorant (no body spray) for gym

My son doesn’t smell yet, but I guess there are kids in fifth grade who already stink. 🙂

My son (we’re still talking about my fifth grader) was asking me a few weeks ago if I would be bringing him to school on the first day. You see, I have always walked with him to school on the first day of school since he started kindergarten. The students bring all their school supplies on the first day and their backpacks would be really heavy. Since he was still young and small, he needed help carrying his backpack. I was already working at home when he first started school and it was very convenient for me to start work late on those days. But I have gone back to work at the office and things are quite different now. At first I told him that I have to think about it and I might not be able to walk with him to school on the first day. I started a new position at work and I have a new supervisor now and I am not so sure how lenient she is. Besides, he would be walking with his cousins and my sister would be walking with them and she has this wagon where they could all put their heavy backpacks in. And my ever dramatic son said, “Oh, you don’t like your son anymore.” And I said, “Of course, I do like you.” I explained to him my situation. “Besides,” I continued, “I have always walked with you on the first day of school. This is the first time I won’t be there.” He said, “Huh, I thought it was only Tita Carol who comes with us.” I said, “What are you talking about, I have always been there.”

See, he doesn’t even remember that I have been there all those times. Well, anyway, I told him the other day that I can’t make it. He’s already a big boy and he will be with his cousins anyway.

August 31, 2008 at 10:20 pm 9 comments

Cutting the umbilical cord

cutting the umbilical cord 

In an episode of Home Improvement, Jill Taylor said to husband, Tim, “There is a special bond that connects mother and child.  It’s called the umbilical cord.”  Tim answered in his usual smart-alecky way, “If you haven’t noticed, the umbilical cord was cut at birth.  Duh!”  He he he.

Well, Jill is right.  I think mothers have a closer bond to their children because they nurture children inside their bodies even before they were born.

You all know that the umbilical cord is the tube that connects the developing embryo or fetus to the placenta.  It contains a vein which causes oxygenated blood from the mother to the fetus.  At birth, after the baby is born, the uterus expels the placenta along with the cord from the mother’s body.  The doctor clamps and then cuts the cord.  The newborn wears a plastic clip on the navel area until the compressed region of the cord has dried and sealed and then it falls off.

And did you know that the umbilical cord is made of Wharton’s jelly, not ordinary skin and connective tissue?  There are no nerves, so cutting it is not painful. *

(Source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Umbilical_cord)

Why a post about the umbilical cord, you might ask?  Well, you see, I had my first baby 18 years ago.  Can you believe that?  My first-born is already an adult.  Reggie is now of legal age.  He can vote in the next election and he can consume alcohol now, legally.  Not that he has shown any interest in drinking yet.  And he has to pay full bus fare now.

If you have been a regular reader of this blog, you might have witnessed the steps I have gone through in letting go of my children.  Letting them spread their wings from that first day in kindergarten, to going away to winter camp and band camps, going on the transit bus by himself (now you know which particular one I’m referring to), partying, dating, saying goodbye at the airport so he could experience his dreams of being a jazz musician, etc, etc.  You’d think that his turning 18 would just be another one of those birthdays.  But I didn’t realize that it is such a major event.

Let me first explain something.  Here in Canada, families receive child allowances from the government called the Canada Child Tax Benefit (CCTB).  It is a tax-free monthly payment made to eligible families to help them with the cost of raising children under age 18.  The amount a family receives depends on the family income, the number and the ages of children.  Families in the lower income bracket receive more than those who have higher incomes.  Also, when a child turns seven, the allowance for that child is reduced, which I don’t understand because clothes of children over seven cost more.  And what I just realized recently is that when a child turns 18, you will no longer receive allowance for that child.  Because he is no longer a child.  He’s an adult now.  Ouch!  I received the notice a few days before his birthday.  And that was when it really started to hit me.

And another thing.  Here in Canada, at least in my province of Manitoba, when a baby is born, his or her name is added on the mother’s health card. My Manitoba Health Card has my name, address and registration number at the front.  Listed at the back are my name and those of my three children including our dates of birth and our individual Personal Health Identification Number.  Everytime there is a change in location or family status, I have to report it to Manitoba Health and they would issue me a new card.  I’ve changed my addresses a few times and I have been issued different cards for all the changes that happened.  After the birth of a baby, I would also receive a new card and what joy was it to see the new addition at the back.  But it was such a contrast of feelings and emotions when I received my new card last week.  It was one line shorter at the back.  They removed Reggie’s name.  It was as if they cut his umbilical cord once again.  But this time it hurts.  I don’t even know why I feel pain.  It’s not like they’re taking him away physically.  It’s just a document.  On the other hand, I saw the smile on his face when I handed him his mail and the glint on his eyes when he saw and held his very own health card.

old health card  new health card

Maybe I’ve just been emotional lately with all the changes that have been happening.  Leaving home and working downtown.  It was the same feeling I had when going back to work after a maternity leave.  The feeling of guilt.  I know.  The kids can pretty much take care of themselves but it was the same feeling all over again when I come home after a long day from work and realize that the TV set had been babysitting my nine-year old and when I hear him say,  “I missed you, mommy.”  And of course, taking on a second job and spending lesser time at home.  It hasn’t been easy – more on my part.  Because I pretty much prepared the kids and even made schedules that they could follow when I’m not home – two months prior to my “going back to work.”   I know this is just a phase and these feelings will pass.  But this is where I am right now and it’s not easy.

December 2, 2007 at 11:47 pm 17 comments

Do beauty queens eat ice cream?

Little Miss Sunshine

One of the movies I watched this summer is this charming Academy Award winning film called Little Miss Sunshine.  This is a story about a family who goes on a road trip from Albaquerque, New Mexico to California when they learn that seven-year old Olive made it to the Little Miss Sunshine beauty pageant. Their yellow VW bus breaks down and they have to push it before it would go and then they had to jump into the van.  Oh, it is so funny.

I like road trip movies like this.  It’s usually not just about the trip itself, but also about the transformation and life-changing experiences of the characters.  And the ones in this film are in a dysfunctional family.  We have the cocaine-snorting grandpa who has been coaching Olive with her dance moves for the talent portion of the pageant.  So you can just imagine what kind of dance moves he has been teaching her.  There’s the uncle who had just tried to commit suicide, the teenage son who hates everybody and has taken a vow of silence in preparation for taking a flight course, the dad who is a motivational speaker and talks about winners and losers but it looks like he actually belongs to the second group.  And there’s the over-stressed mom who can’t see eye to eye with the dad and fights with him a lot.  Oops.  Did I just describe myself? 🙂

This is a hilarious movie but there are also moments that will make you cry.  It’s got great casting too.  Greg Kinnear and Steve Carrell are both lovable, Abigail Breslin as little Olive is so adorable.  Add to that Toni Collette and Alan Arkin, both good actors.  And Paul Dano as the teen-aged son is not bad either.

Little Miss Sunshine, being about a beauty pageant, tackles the weight issue.  And that’s what I want to discuss here.  Not just weight, but also body image in general.  You have probably seen how the contestants in these children’s beauty pageants look like.  As my nine-year old son said, “Ha ha ha.  They look like toys.”  And I thought that they look like miniature adults, with their faces heavily made up, hair teased, their wide-toothed and rehearsed smiles, and adult-like bathing suits and gowns.  But Olive is so unlike them.  She did her own make-up, applied very conservatively and her hair just simply straight.  Olive is a cute little girl.  She’s not skinny but I won’t even call her chubby.  She’s a healthy seven-year old girl with a smile that is so genuine and honest.

One scene that strikes me the most is when they were at the diner and Olive ordered ice cream.  Her dad made her think twice about that.  Did she really want to eat ice cream before the beauty pageant? He was insinuating that ice cream could make you fat.  But the mom has something to say about that. And I can relate to that difficult situation when she did not want to contradict what her husband said in front of the child and yet she did not want her to have that wrong impression about food and weight.  So when Olive asked her if beauty queens eat ice cream, she told her that she could ask Miss California herself when they get there.  And when they all start digging into that bowl of ice cream, Olive did too.

And yes, Olive did ask Miss California if she eats ice cream.  And her answer was, “Yes. My favorite is Chocolate Cherry Garcia… except technically I think it’s a frozen yogurt.”

Britney Spears at the VMA Awards I also want to share the discussion the ladies at ABC’s The View had the other day.  It’s about Britney Spears’ appearance at the recent VMA awards.  I’m not even referring to her disastrous performance but how people have been calling her fat.  Come on.  I think she looks good.  Of course, she’s got a little bump in the middle, but that’s because she gave birth to two babies.  I think it was Elisabeth Hasselbeck (from The View) who said that it could probably be her choice of wardrobe (sequined pair of bikinis) that people didn’t approve of.  And Whoopi Goldberg said that it could have been our fellow women who were being hard on her.  Because have you heard any criticisms from the men?

I think I agree with Whoopi.  Us, women, can be really hard on ourselves.  Yes, we see these skinny models on TV and magazines, but it doesn’t really mean that we have to look like them.  We tend to put pressure on ourselves.

I admit that I have also been putting pressure on myself with regards to this weight issue.  I have been cutting back on portions at dinner and have tried daily walking in the hopes of losing weight (I am still unsuccessful).   And I didn’t realize how this is affecting my children, especially my nine-year old boy, until I had this conversation with him a few months ago.  This was around the time when I would still carry him downstairs to breakfast in the morning.  And I was complaining that he’s getting heavy.  But he still wanted to be a baby and be carried downstairs.

Him:  I want to lose weight.
Me: (Surprised) No you don’t.  Why would you want to lose weight?
Him:  Because you said I’m heavy.
Me:  Oh, that’s because you’re growing taller.  You’re supposed to get heavy.
Him:  But you’re not growing, mommy.
Me:  Exactly.  That’s why I want to lose weight.  I’m not growing taller but I’m getting heavier.
Him:  You mean fat?
Me:  Yes, now do you get it?  You don’t need to lose weight.
Him:  (Chuckles) Yes.

And no, I don’t carry him anymore.  He’s gotten too big for me.  And he realizes that, too.

By the way, if you’re planning on watching Little Miss Sunshine with the family, I just want to warn you that this is Rated R in the U.S. and I think 14A here in Canada.  I forgot to check the rating before I let my nine-year old watch it with me.  It wasn’t even five minutes into the movie and there are already about ten F words that have been said.  And I had the caption on.  I had to pause and remove the caption and explain to him that, “you don’t say that word and you know that, right?”  Anyway, he knows that he’d get in trouble if he does.  I had to make him cover his eyes a few times too – drug and sex content.

September 12, 2007 at 10:58 pm 16 comments

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