I thought it apropos to start this journal close to my son’s first birthday, which is also my first “birthday” as a mom. Motherhood didn’t come too easily for me, having married in my 30s. All those fears of getting pregnant when you weren’t even supposed to be having sex seemed so silly, all of a sudden. But after what I’d like to call a lot of “science and magic,” I was finally pregnant!
I had the easiest pregnancy! Save for a tiny blip in the first trimester when I was on mega doses of progesterone to keep the little peanut in there, and I did nothing but sleep! It was awesome! Haha! The rest was a breeze! No morning sickness, nausea, swelling or cravings for weird food. See? Even in pregnancy, I was a no frills kind of gal. I hardly bought any maternity clothes, save for exactly 2 pairs of shorts, 2 pairs of leggings (a preggo must-have!), 2 pairs of pants and a couple of maternity/nursing bras to accommodate my boobage, which were growing to porn star proportions. And my mostly cotton, no-iron, non-maternity clothes stretched out enough til my 40th week!
Another fabulous thing about my pregnancy was that people always told me I was blooming! Now who doesn’t want to hear that? And so most people thought I was having a baby girl! But my little L was clearly a boy as he showed us (spread eagle) that he did, indeed, have a third leg.
So, little L came into this world on a rainy July afternoon. We opted for a C-section, since he had already been there for 40 weeks and 2 days, with no signs of budging! I never even felt a single contraction. And to be honest, I was relieved! No traumatizing labor to keep me from wanting another baby!
I often wondered what I’d be like as a mother. I had a very close relationship with mine, but lost her when I was only 14 years old. While we were inseparable, I’m not sure I really knew her. I don’t think I was old enough to really see her as anything else but a mother, my mother. What I did know was she was kenkoy (silly), cooler than a lot of my friends’ moms at our school’s waiting room.
And I loved that. I loved that everybody knew her. As a child, I was quite the runt — scrawny, dark, quiet and shy. And my mom was the complete opposite. She was also quite lenient with me. I am the youngest of 3, and among us siblings, I got to stay up late with her to watch Twilight Zone and Cliffhangers. I was never really forced to study, but always managed to more than get by, “Sayang, almost 3rd honor,” she would say, “What more if you studied,” while my siblings were honor students. I would always hear about how cool she was because she could adapt to any situation. Be it a hoity-toity affair or a down-to-earth gathering. She could put on make-up like a pro, but would likely be seen in jeans and “step-in” on a regular day. And I just found out very recently, when I met a 2nd degree cousin, how cool she was to other people as well. “Yes, I remember her well! She was the coolest tita, because she wore jeans!”
Before having a child, I’d always say I’d be like this or that or won’t do this or that. When I was pregnant, and actually faced with motherhood, I still sort of had an idea that I’d be a certain way, but was less judgmental, telling myself, we’ll know when we get there. So here I am. Mother of one. With her main motherhood role-model, a distant memory and forging into motherhood head-on, with a let’s-do-this, get down and dirty attitude.
My husband describes me as a “fun, sweet, loving, mom.” Awww…what a nice description. But not quite what I was looking for. So here’s how I’d like to think of myself as a mother: Confident, in the I-know-what-I’m-doing sense. Which makes me think, hey, this mother’s instinct thing is real! Calm and collected, in the Oh-no-he-has-fever-but-is-acting-happy-and-is-pooping-and-peeing-so-let’s-not-rush-to-the-ER way. And cool, in the I-know-how-to-play-with-him-and-make-him-laugh-so-hard and the go-ahead-and-explore-as-long-as-there’s-no-blood-or-broken-bones-involved sort of way. I’m also very practical. An upside to having children in your later years is that you get a lot of hand-me-downs! The only major items I needed to buy were a stroller and his clothes! And lots of times, you’ll see my boy wearing only a diaper, and if he is dressed, that would just mean he’s also wearing a sando or plain white tee. He got his first pair of shoes for Christmas from a ninang, and I had it upsized since he wasn’t walking just yet. So he’s wearing his Christmas gift now that he’s been cruising and almost walking. Ngayon lang nakatikim ng sapatos. Haha.
As we approached his first birthday, I was asked if we’d throw a party. But my husband and I had decided a long time ago, that we wouldn’t have any lavish birthday parties and instead, have meaningful experiences (that we can photograph nicely so he can “remember” them when he’s older). A friend said we were lucky that we didn’t feel the pressure to have a party. Well, first off, nobody was pressuring us. But even if we did get any egging-on for a party, we would likely not care.
But hey, “no frills” doesn’t mean not special. I remember as a kid on my birthday, I’d wake up to all my presents on the bed and cake at the breakfast table! So for my boy, I set up balloons in our dining area with a birthday banner on the wall (special thanks to Japan Home!)
After a spaghetti lunch (cause what is a birthday without spaghetti), off we went to the Oceanarium to spend the afternoon (okay, more like an hour), with our little man. We were off to a good start when little L happily waved at the fishies and pointed to the sharks and manta rays overhead. After dragging his Mama and Papa around for a couple of minutes, not quite letting go of the other hand just yet, it was time to go, with his signature laughing like a maniac for no apparent reason, which soon turns into a meltdown.
He napped when we got home and was up in time for some birthday cake, which he enjoyed playing like a drum. I just kept on telling myself, “Good thing we didn’t have a party!”
So, a year of motherhood tucked under my belt, an average of 4 hours of straight sleep a day, and multiple injuries from carrying my big boy, I’m enjoying every moment of it. So here’s to the long-haul of the everyday, mundane events and making them special. Even without the frills.