Mother’s Day in the time of Corona in NYC


I have one son. And he means the world to me. 17 years ago, he was born the Saturday before Mother’s Day, and I celebrated my first Mother’s Day all achy and tired but holding this precious little breathing human being in my arms. It was the best gift ever and continues to be the best gift ever every time this day comes along.

We usually celebrate with a fancy dinner, just the two of us — and I always look forward to the card he gives me, whether store bought or handmade. This year, I think I’ll give him a pass but I wouldn’t mind one even if delayed.

He has always had a gift for words. I loved the scribbling, and the attempts at art. I look at him and I am filled with a different kind of bliss beyond words.

These days he sleeps until noon, or a little later — when I let him. Online learning has been on a modular basis, so he can log on and watch videos and receive homework with a deadline for submission. He and his friends meet “online” playing video games after dinner, staying up until the wee hours. Iused to get concerned with the unhealthy sleeping hours, but I’ve learned to live with it and just define limits. He can stay up as late as he wants, as long as he wakes up by noon and eats breakfast or brunch, and does his daily attendance and any work required from school. I have learned to pick my battles and respect that he, too, is dealing with this whole new normal and I have to help him do it in a way that works for him, not just for me.

So we had dinner with just us again, but this time at home. No surprise flowers or cards. Or maybe I might get a surprise yet. Just being with him here is gift enough. Having him for a son makes it all worth it. Having him, period. That’s what makes this day special.

I already video chatted with my own mom as Mother’s Day hit Manila 12 hours earlier. In the midst of their own quarantine, only my sister is with my Mom, so we pulled in my brothers. The physical therapist is living in the hospital, social distancing to ensure the he doesn’t bring any possible infection home. The other brother is with his family in another part of town.

Like most families these days, we communicate via video chat, sometimes as a family or just separately. I try to check in with them daily, even if mom is hard of hearing. She sees me, I see her, and we say hello or goodnight — it reassures me as much as it must reassure her that we are okay on both sides of the world.

The cemeteries opened to allow those who want to visit their moms a chance to pay their respects. It’s a bittersweet day because there are many mothers, both young and old, who perished in the current pandemic. Some of them may not have even had the chance to have a proper funeral. These days, even the business of laying our dead to rest has become complicated by the fears of contamination.

And so we all celebrate a different way, but we celebrate all the same.

Happy Mother’s Day..

Monday Musings: Another Stay at home week

Monday musings in paper and inkI’ve been writing posts and they are hanging out in my drafts folder. There are so many things I want to write about but writing has been mostly in my mind — but I’m determined to get this all out here. More than a month into the stay-at-home deal, I’m still anxious about many things and now have to think about preparing for the return to work. I thought it would be a good idea to go back to something I’ve usually turned to when I’m in a writing rut — my Monday Musings which spew out blurbs and shorts of anything that comes to mind the moment I’m writing here.

Yes, we will be returning soon. Probably not until the month is out at least — So I’m thinking June. While the work-from-home situation has been a challenge, I consider it a blessing. I appreciate the fact that I still have a job and have a paycheck coming regularly, which come with the benefits and all those blessings. It’s been difficult because I don’t have the resources I have when I’m physically in the office, and I’ve had to devise new ways and means to do my work. But I have managed, and I really have no complaints. Well, maybe save for the fact that we are busy as ever, and the work from home deal hasn’t really meant less work. I am also thankful that I don’t have to worry about the commute in this kind of a situation. And when life returns to a sense of normalcy, we will adjust — we will cope.

I am already working on my personal face covering but that has been sidelined by my efforts to contribute to this Herculean task of beating the virus. We all do what we can. Still, I need to start thinking of the commute, and how we will be operating with the new safety precautions which, I am sure, we will be told and be constantly reminded about in the weeks to come.

Art on pause. For a first quarter that saw my art journal zooming into life, I have actually put the project on hold for the month of April. Not that there wasn’t anything to draw or write — I just burned out, I guess. Or maybe things just caught up with me. Or maybe I found the balance I was looking for in feverishly working on it the months before. My pages are waiting. I have the signatures all set. I have the sections figured out. I just need to pick it up again. This week, I promise.

My Art Journal: Grateful

Jewelry projects revisited. I did pick up a cab that I wanted to attempt to encase in crocheted artistic wire. I’m not quite happy with how it turned out but the attempt was a start. I am going to try to create a few pieces one of these evenings. I have tried to get on with the organizing here and there — something you’d think I’d have so much time to do. Not quite true. But the thought is there.. and in fact, I just might attempt to string some beads I am fancying and within reach here. If only there were more hours to the day.

A week of celebrations, it will be. My big guy will be 16 this Friday. I am keeping my fingers crossed that the tomahawk steak I ordered will arrive on time. He’s not one for cake but I just might bake him one. And on Sunday, it’s Mother’s Day. A whole lot of celebrating up ahead!

Congratulations are in order for the successful examinees who passed the Philippine Bar Exams of 2019. A topic near and dear to me — the feelings never gets old.. and personally, the wave of gratitude that takes me over every time as I look back to my own legal journey decades ago. (Oops.. dating myself here. LOL). But we celebrate all those victories — one of the highest, if not the highest passing rate in many years. To all those who made it, congratulations.

Let’s be kind and practice social distancing and wearing a mask. It’s the new way of saying “please” and “thank you.” With all the deaths and hardship that the whole world has witnessed in the past few months, a little kindness can go a long way.

The things that matter

Happy birthday to the one who lights up my world and warms my heart.. @angelogon2004 turns 11 today!  My life has never been the same since you came into my life, and I cherish every day that you continue to bless my life with you love.  I love you, Amal.Friday was a momentous occasion.  (Drumroll, please..)  My little tyke turned 11.. can you believe that?  It seems as though it was just yesterday that I was cradling him and complaining he was just sooooo heavy — and yet I couldn’t get enough of kissing him and breathing the air he breathed out.  Everything in my life was colored by his arrival.  It was love at first sight, and I’m still falling in love with him every day.  (Even when he starts rejecting me for a selfie… or when he starts giving me the look telling me he’s upset at Mom for being a mom.. )

Has it been THAT long?  I look at his frame and see him literally growing up.  He will soon be as tall and then taller than me.  His voice has always been low, but even that will become deeper.  I hold his hands in mine and I can’t help but notice how his grasp is filling up my hand even more as the days go by, those times that he STILL lets me hold his hand in mine.
Teaching this #LittleNewYorker, @angelogon2004 , how to ride the #subway on our way to #Manhattan because #ThisIsHowWeDoItInNewYork . #mynewyork #motherhood #motherandson #NYC #publictransportation #mta

It seems like it was only yesterday that he could hardly speak, but he would cling to me with a sense of urgency that made me feel like he was a literal extension of me.  And he started speaking and I heard those three magic words that made everything else matter so little.  As the years passed by, his presence remained constant and kept me anchored to the ground through the worst times and kept me tethered to my humility those times when I was just feeling over the moon.  Through the worst and the best, he was the one whose love mattered the most.

These days I would grab him and hug him as if it were the last time I was going to hold him — remembering that in my lowest of lows, it was his love that kept me going.

Mother’s Day has never been the same for me each year since he was born.  While I had always celebrated it as a daughter, it has taken on a new meaning since I started celebrating it as a mother myself.  Although the day’s focus should be the mother, it plays around motherhood in my eyes.

Today I celebrate it because I hold the heart of my son in my hands and I know it beats a fierce devotion and a tender love that keeps growing each day.  Motherhood, challenging though it may be, is its own reward.  In my heart I know I have done well.  I may not have the riches others possess, but I own something far more priceless.  I look at my son and I am rich beyond measure.  He is the reason today is, indeed, a happy Mother’s Day.
My little guy

Happy Mother’s Day, Mama

My Mother and I

Mother’s Day is special to me because of the person who molded me to be the mother that I am now and who makes me worthy of being celebrated as a mother myself.  47 years ago, she gave birth to me and even though we are 10,000 miles apart, she continues to hold my hand.

We love you, Mama.  Even when you feel like we have grown up to be very different people from the children you once knew, your heart is very precious to us.  It is your love and strength that keeps us all up even now as we have our own families.  Thank you for blessing our lives with your love.

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Dear Mama, Happy Mother's Day!

I had my Mother’s Day conversation with my mom last Friday.  I’m just finishing my Mother’s Day weekend with my boy here.  It has been meaningful because of him.  Eight Mother’s Day have passed where I was finally one of those being celebrated, and I look forward to more years with Angelo.

Motherhood is one of the most challenging roles for me, but which I play to the hilt because of the inspiration his love gives me every day.

But today, I want it to be about my Mom, the woman responsible for making me the mother that I am today.  I have always said that you can only give what you already have — and to my Mom, thanks for giving me all that I needed to be a good mother to my son.

Dear Mama —

Happy Mother’s Day.  You know that though I am 10,000 miles away, I am there with you.  Thanks for the call last Friday.  I know you miss me dearly because you said you dreamt of me.

I’m doing okay, don’t worry.  Sometimes the one we miss the most visits us in our dreams.  Sometimes the one who misses us the most gets to cross time and space and be with us in our dreams at least.  Like I tell Angelo that I will always be in his heart come what may, so are you.

I know that we’re both getting older.  You just turned 72.  Every time I go home, I see you shrink just a little, and I see more lines in your face.  I notice a difference in your demeanor.  I think that I am most fortunate to be seeing this and appreciating the changes that ageing has thrown your way, because I don’t think my siblings who are with you everyday see it and appreciate it for what it is.  I keep telling them, “Mama is getting older.”

I wish I wasn’t so far away.  Then we’d have more dinners together.  We’d go to Manaoag more often, and on Wednesdays, I might even muster enough energy to wake up as early as you and brave Baclaran before the crowds descend upon it.  But life has put this distance between us as I started my own family.  I know you know that you are here in my heart.  In the meantime, I look forward to having you visit… hopefully soon?  I know.. you are busy taking care of many things there, but I am going to keep bugging you about it.

When I hug Angelo, I hug him for you.  You two have such a special bond that I find so precious, since I know it took a lot of effort to take care of him the first three years.  I have been so lucky that you were still young enough then to afford me that chance to have you take care of my son, and to show me the rudiments of motherhood firsthand.

I miss those days when I’d see you two playing with each other.  And I remember the last time you two said goodbye this previous December, how your grandson teared up as we neared the airport, as it dawned upon him he was leaving his favorite grandma.  Even I was surprised at that show of emotion from my then 7-year-old.  Precious.

I cannot ever thank you enough for making me who I am today, Mama.  I know that life hasn’t been kind to you, robbing you of the chance to have a proper education beyond elementary, but you made sure my siblings and I went to the best schools, and that we got as close to the fulfillment of our dreams if not the fulfillment of those dreams itself.

I know that these days, you often think we don’t understand you, or that we are ganging up against you.  That can never happen.  You are the precious bond that ties us all together — and will keep us tied together as a family long after you’re gone.  In our minds and hearts, you are the best mother we could have ever had.  So please forgive us when we hurt your feelings and make you feel like we are not being mindful of hurting you — we have your best interests at heart.  We just want you to let us take care of you this time around, as you’ve worked so hard to take care of all of us these years.

Time to let go, Mama.  Your children are no longer babies.  Let us take care of you now.

We love you deeply.

Your children