Thursday, December 27, 2007

My Two Rafaels

Tonight was date night for Boydee and I. We had a tremendously early dinner (5:30pm) at UCC in The Clubhouse, in White Plains. I had Sumiyaki Eel and Mushroom Spaghetti, Boydee had Garlic Shrimp Spaghetti and Shrimp in Tomato Cream Sauce. The latter was yummier than the former but what really caught us by surprise was the petite serving size! For my order which cost P419, the spaghetti hardly even reached a 100 grams! We could've eaten in Teriyaki Boy and paid half our bill and left with fuller stomachs. This branch of UCC was a disappointment. Nevertheless, because of its location, we may still end up coming back here. Hehe... Despite the let down, it didn't spoil our mood. I savor the chance to be just with Boydee and talk about lighter things in life - not work, not problems, just unimportant things. Then we took a stroll in next door Santi's and Rustan's Fresh Supermarket.

We came home with Bric at the dinner table already in his red pajamas and still in a 'newly awakened' mood. He was seated in his stroller beside Lolo Boy. Our baby motioned for us to carry him in my arms but I had to pee so Daddy Boydee whisked him off of his stroller. When I came back, Bricky reached out towards me. I carried him downstairs to our room. It was just me, Boydee and our baby Bric. We all three lay in bed, Bric occasionally moving about, but mostly drowsy. Boydee dozed off to sleep. Eventually, Bric went on light sleep mode, but couldn't quite get the position he wanted so he moved about, stirring this way and that, wiggling, scratching his head, moving his hands. Eventually, I took him in my arms and sat on our chair and lullabied him to sleep.

There is nothing more precious than cradling your baby in your arms while he dozes off to sleep. Just staring at his innocent face, eyes closed, interrupted by his mild snores, and his eyes holding on to yours while he is asleep is an experience, a moment that I'd always hold special. It's a sure heart-warmer.

I thank the Lord for the times I get to spend with my 2 Rafaels, whether separately or especially together. There's also a different warmth and kick at watching Boydee and Bric play together. Ahhh... to be surrounded with so much love and be gifted with 2 angels! What more can an ordinary wife and mother ask for?

The Coming of the Relics

The pilgrim relics of St. Therese of the Child Jesus is coming on January 15-March 13 and her first stop will be the Shrine. We're part of the Steering Committee although Boydee and I were only able to sit in this late in the planning because we were in the US for a month. Thanks to Japa for filling in for us and representing MVC with Mario and Allan.

As the day draws near, we are cramming to do what else needs to be done. For one, the merchandising opportunity had been overlooked so today, we met with Nora and Elma to discuss what souvenir items we can sell so that the possible profit can at least defray what we are about to spend. We realize that it won't really cover our expenses but what little help we can give will go a long way. It's still better than nothing. We just hope we can sell all our items.

Tomorrow, we will meet with Father Ernie, vice rector of the Shrine, to suggest and discuss possible activities for the Shrine while St. Therese's relics are there. We want to at least be secure that a lot of people will visit her there. Brother Froilan Torres is helping us with the activities - from the conceptualization to the execution. We hope Fr. Ernie approves of our proposal.

TV and print ads are already in place with fliers and posters to follow.

We hope and pray her visit to the Philippines will be a success in the sense that a great number of people's faith will be renewed and rekindled. If even just one person will be inspired to do good things and affect others because of her visit here, then the trip will not have been in vain.

Monday, December 24, 2007

Christmas Realization

Had Christmas Mass at home at 10:30pm. While receiving Jesus in Holy Communion, I thanked Him for choosing to come down on earth to be with us. He could've chosen to be born in a palace or even the lowly inn, but He chose to be born in a humbler place - a manger. He could've chosen to be born to a wealthy family, but he chose to be a carpenter's son. He could've chosen NOT to have been born here on earth at all because He knew what fate awaited Him. He knew the road was going to be rough; He knew He had to suffer and die for us, and yet, even if He could've just passed on the cup, He took it because of His great love for us. He knew the outcome and yet He still went on His mission.

I realized in life, it isn't the destination that matters most of the time, but the path towards it. In the past few days, I would be filled with questions and would feel sorry for myself and for our baby because of the fate that awaits him. I couldn't understand why I had to carry him if he were not to survive anyway. Why did God have to let me go through this pregnancy for nothing? Why did our baby have to be formed if he would say goodbye so soon? Why endure this 'waiting' when we know the outcome already?

Tonight, my questions may not have found answers but I have taken on a different mindset. Jesus knew He was going to be born, only to die for us. With his birth came the promise of a death so cruel and painful because it was His mission to fulfill. With my second pregnancy, although the choice of having to be pregnant with a 'dying' baby was not a choice we made, it is a fact that has been given to us. With River, we know that it will only be a matter of days or even hours before God will call him to heaven but it shouldn't mean that all is for naught. God has His reasons, and even if we can not find the answers right away, I will follow Jesus' example and embrace what God has chosen as my fate, as well as that of our baby's. Again, it isn't whether we reach our destination, but the path we take to reach it. I intend to reach the finish line, that of delivering River safely out of my womb and into heaven with his baptism, bravely, and in full surrender of God's will. I will try to conquer my doubts, my fears, my sadness and just lift all to God, trusting He will watch over us all.

Happy birthday Jesus! Thank You for Your example and for giving Yourself to us. May You find a peaceful home in our hearts as You come on earth to be with us.

Sunday, December 23, 2007

The Last Days Before Christmas

Two more days before Christmas... The gifts have been wrapped and ready for giving. Food to be served on the Eve and on the day have been planned, prepared, ordered, bought and some, ready for pick up tomorrow.

Today, we just spent an afternoon with the children ages 5-10 from Marytown, the squatters area behind the Gavinos' house. There were about 210 kids in all. What a riot! But it was fun. I miss those outreach activities we used to hold in Cebu. For the Zugbuanas, it was the Looc children which we celebrated Christmas with. Our SHS-G Alumnae would host lunch for the orphans of Don Bosco. My little foundation would spend an afternoon with the Busay kids complete with food, balloons and games. Of course, they didn't reach 200 but it was our little way of sharing the spirit of Christmas and giving back whatever blessings God has given us to the less fortunate.

When I have time, I'd like to choose a charity Boydee and I can help with - perhaps an orphanage or a center for children afflicted with cancer. Didn't have the time to scout around for one this year. But then again, we don't have to wait til Christmas to give, right? So, maybe after the holidays.

Tomorrow is Christmas Eve. It'll be Bric's second Christmas. How fast time flies indeed. It only feels like yesterday when I held our little baby in our arms. Now, he's an 11kg baby!!!

As for our 2nd... Lately, I've been asking God why He gave me, He gave us, this painful reality of having to carry a baby (almost to full term) and not have our baby live. Each time I feel this baby in my womb move, I feel sad and helpless. It seems this littlest one is a fighter and yet, it really isn't in our hands what fate he has before him/her. More than the fear of the eventual delivery and the complications that may come with it, what pains me most is the outcome. River (that will be his name) wasn't even given a choice, nor the chance to fight it out. Just 5 months in my tummy and his fate had been sealed. How sad is that?!? And yet we can not question Him. There has got to be a reason. For now, the answer evades me.

This Christmas will be the first and the last our 2nd will spend with us. And he has no choice but to spend it inside me. For now, this is our complete family. Until our next baby or babies.

It's a happy/sad Christmas... but we always just have to look at the bright side. We just have to look beyond ourselves and focus on Jesus' birth. He came to earth to be with us, to save us, to guide us. That is more than we can ever be thankful for.

Sunday, December 09, 2007

Bric's Birthday Plans

I started planning early for what was to have been Bric's BIG birthday celebration. The concept was floating in my mind since September this year and I already had an excel file listing down props, the menu, loot bag concepts and food carts. It was to have been a beach-themed party - a summer party in the middle of December with beach balls lining the column walls, perhaps a sand bar or inflatable pools, loot bags consisting of a pail, shovel, groovy sunglasses and a beach towel, among others. Somewhere along the way, I got stuck and had second thoughts about the beach theme. It was going to be, after all, on a December day when perhaps the chilly wind would have found its way in. Summer in the midst of "winter" wasn't very apt. So, the brainstorming stopped and the concept was temporarily shelved. I was taking my time waiting for inspiration to hit me again.

Except that it wasn't inspiration that hit me, hit us. It was the sad news of our 2nd baby. Then we had to fly to the States. With only less than a week to prepare for Bric's birthday, I visited Blimpworks for a possible set up for a simple gathering here in La Vista. Helen of Blimpworks was very accommodating and I got excited when I saw their catalog for a 'jungle/circus' theme and a unicyclist/juggler for entertainment. With that, I wanted to move the celebration to the 16th so more kids could join. On the other hand, Boydee and I were amenable to having a 'simple' celebration.

When I got home, I told Boydee the concept. He was pretty practical about the whole thing and
expressed that perhaps by this time, Christmas parties would have been scheduled already, and if we were gonna do something half-baked, we might as well just go for the 'simple' celebration.

After a series of short discussions, we finally settled on having a just us dinner - meaning tayo tayo lang dinner with just the immediate family on both sides - Dizons and Uys - at a Chinese restaurant. We will, of course, bring Bric to Mass and have Father give him a birthday blessing.

So that's how Bric's 1st birthday will be spent. No lavish props nor hired entertainers. Just the family, and just Mass. But that's all that really matters. He will be surrounded by the people who truly love him, and blessed by the One who created him. It may not be a 'festive' birthday, but it will be a meaningful one.

To our beloved first born son, you have brought so much joy, energy, love and laughter in our lives. We can not thank God enough for the gift of your life in our lives. May God continue to bless you with good health and abundant love. May you grow up to be an intelligent, kind-hearted, handsome man who will serve God in the best way He wants you to serve Him. We love you, our little, smiling one.

Back to Reality

After a month in the States, we're now back home. After a series of check ups and consultations, after a pocket vacation with Rondic and Elizza with Mommy Shalene and Boydee in Virginia (Williamsburg, Yorktown, Jamestown and Washington DC) with much thanks to Zendle and Patrick (sis and bil of Zhar) for welcoming us into their home with Tita Belle to take care of us, after a weekend trip to Las Vegas courtesy of Tita Belen at Mandalay with Mom, Roc, Randy and Stella, we are finally back in Manila.

Bric picked us up at the airport and at first, he didn't want to be carried in my arms. He would cry... And it literally tore my heart to pieces! Eventually, he warmed up and my heart was mended. I could finally hold our baby in my arms and kiss him all I wanted. He's now such a grown boy!!! He can sit up straight and crawl very fast! And my, what a noisy boy!!! He's very adamant when he wants something and would not settle until he gets it. Uh-oh, symptoms of a spoiled child? Hopefully not! Hehehe...

I just have to thank Ate Rona for taking good care of our baby while we were away and for keeping us updated with his developments through her blog which I read and re-read and checked almost daily whenever I could.

As for my pregnancy, well, our 2nd baby is still moving about in my womb. And there are times when explaining about our situation seems mechanical, just so we don't put too much emotions into an already painful plight. Fear and sadness still envelop me in my quiet moments but I am helpless to do anything. I wish I didn't have to carry our baby to full term, only to watch him slip away so soon, and for me to risk a caesarian operation again. I wish God would call our baby quietly and peacefully back into His kingdom with the slightest pain or suffering on our part. Of course, the most fervent prayer would be to have our baby survive and live a normal, healthy life. Nothing short of a miracle, but I don't want to hope and risk falling deeper into sadness. We've accepted our fate, and we've offered our baby to God. I just wish this in-between, middle state would be decided soon so life can go on and our baby will not have to suffer. And my heart wouldn't be soo torn for feeling sorry for our 2nd baby because he doesn't stand a chance on earth. I can't say sorry enough... although I know it isn't our fault. Tragedies strike sometimes. It just had to strike on us.