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Bedoor Bluemoon

Everyday writing to expose the soul

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family

رسالة إلى زوجي الشرقي المتحضّر

eyes

رسالة إلى زوجي الشرقي المتحضّر

زوجي العزيز

لا تسيء الظن بي وتحسبني جاهلة، فأنا لست بجاهلة.  تربيّت في منزل محافظ، نعم، ولكن ذلك لا يعني بأني على جهل بالدنيا وأمورها.  فقد انتهى زمن أن تكون الزوجة تمثال يخرج من منزل والدها ليزيّن به الرجل مملكته.  لا، انتهى زمن الماضي الجميل، كما تحب أن تردد، وها نحن في زمن تستطيع فيه المرأة أن تستقل بذاتها

لا تظن بأني لا أعلم أين تذهب وماذا تقول، ومع من تجلس، فأنا أسكت بمزاجي

زوجي الشرقي المتحضر

كفاك العيش بازدواجية، تجلس في ندوات وورش عمل للتطوير من ذاتك وقدراتك وأنت تخالط النساء وما أن تعود إلى المنزل لا تتذكر الكلام البسيط والعادي الذي تناولته معهن وتفتعل معي أي شجار لأن كبريائك الذكوري الشرقي لا يتخيل أن أكون، أنا، زوجتك، في مثل هذا الموقف

كفاك العيش بازدواجية، تناقش مواضيع المرأة وحريتها الشخصية وعقليتك المنفتحة نحو اختيار المرأة لشريك حياتها، وملابسها، وصديقاتها ، وتنسى كيف وقفت يوما لتختار “ملابسي” وصديقاتي و”زوج ابنتي المستقبلي”

زوجي الشرقي المتحضر

أراك منهمك في الشؤون الدولية ناسيا شؤون عائلتك

أراك تتهجم على طريقة تربية البعض لأولادهم وخطورة الضرب وأنت لا تجلس مع أبنائك، كأن ما تفعله أقل قسوة من الضرب

زوجي الشرقي المتحضر

لا تنسى بأن كما لك حقوق فعليك واجبات

وكما تعلم

فزمن ان تكون فيه النسوة اكسسوار قد انتهى وأنا ارى الكثير ممن اتخذن الرجل اكسسوار لحياتهن

فكما أنك شرقي متحضر تنسى معدنك الشرقي الأصيل فأنا على أتم استعداد أن أنسى معدني الشرقي الأصيل وأريك شخصيتي الجديدة: زوجتك الشرقية المتحضرة جدا جدا جدا

Too Much on YOUR Plate?

multitasking

A couple of weeks ago I met a young ambitious gentleman who was feeling anxious about starting a new job and complaining about how the 6 days a week/8 hours a day job will take him away from his passion in writing.  Take a moment to digest this: the 48 hour week will take him away from his passion.  Um, have you met mothers?

Mothers, God bless their souls, have the ability to juggle a million things a day.  They must be on call all day, everyday, regardless of what they are doing or what they would like to be doing.  They must be available for any kind of emergency ranging from a sudden hunger pang at 4 a.m. to a temper tantrum in the middle of a family gathering.  On call ALL the time.  So when a mother chooses to spend the last few hours of her day in exercising, reading, chatting with her friends, staring into nothingness, and living her life just a little bit then she is compromising actual sleep time for the sake of life.  Please let her do what she wants.

Life, as you know it, is different with mothers.

I read once that a mother is living proof that human beings don’t need actual sleep and can live on coffee.  I cannot be held accountable for the seriousness of this point but it makes sense to me.  It all comes down to choice:  would you rather sleep or would you rather feel like a person?

You see, regardless of common belief, mothers are normal human beings with hopes and dreams.  They realize that they should exercise, have friends, and go out but sometimes they are not in a position to do so.  Sometimes, life has to be put on hold for a couple of years to enable the caring of a baby and thus ensure the continuity of humankind.  Yes, I am trying to sugarcoat the first few months of a baby’s life just to reassure myself that there is light at the end of the tunnel and honestly, I have seen it before.  It takes almost a year for the phoenix to raise from the ashes.

But it’s that first year that tests what a woman is made of.  How agile she is, what are her goals in life, how she thinks children must be raised, and what comes first in her list of priorities.  Many women choose to put themselves first and foremost and I have the greatest respect for them because I believe in the freedom of choice.  Do I support it?  Does it matter?  I’ve heard a blogger I highly respect repeat that women need to stop putting each other down when it comes to motherhood because each and everyone of us is doing her best as she sees fitting to her lifestyle.  I would really like to believe that all women love their children regardless of how naive it makes me sound.  Knowing that the most sincere and pure kind of love is emitted from every mother is a very calming notion and I choose to cherish it with all my heart.  (tangent, I know).

Back to the chaos behind the love and the background mechanisms working to maintain the family life.  Let’s compare a man’s morning and a mother’s morning.

Man

It’s 7 a.m. and the man is fast asleep.  He hears the soft jingle of the alarm from yonder and quietly opens his eyes, his hand reaches for his phone and automatically snoozes the alarm, getting extra minutes of sleep after deciding that he is too tired from the day before.

Mother

It’s 6 a.m., there is no alarm clock because the mother is relying on her biological clock and/or her children to wake her up.  She wakes up on a wailing child ranting about something that just doesn’t make sense.  The mother wishes to put the child on “snooze” but sadly children don’t come with a snooze button.  So the mother burpees her way out of bed to quiet the baby down.  In the meantime, all other children wake up and start talking at the same time.  Noise takes its form of insanity and the woman tries hard to maintain a smile on her face.

Mothers fight through the pain of sleeplessness, the pain of not being appreciated, and the pain of not knowing when her next shower is.  This is not a joke, showers genuinely make people feel better.  They fight through the screams, fight through not being respected and listened to, and fight through the physical exhaustion.  True fighters, mothers still manage to fill their plate with ways to prove herself independent and amazing to act as a role model for her children.  In the 24 hours a day, mothers manage to cram extra hours to give even more to her family.

So with the nearing of a new year, all mothers will consciously decide to take it easy while their subconsciousness will stand proud, chest puffed and ready for more responsibilities, more obligations, and more love.

Grabbing life by the horns.

Bring it on.

giphy

 

Family Matters

o-addams-family-facebook

Growing up, I was fortunate to be around my cousins.  Yes, it was great sharing those wacky years where we made up names for scary monsters and scary things that didn’t exist.  It was also great losing our minds and acting all silly.  Yes, I am glad to say that Royal Rumble was an expected game regardless of our gender and acting out dares almost always ended up in tears.  I went through times when I felt out of place and unwanted and at other times, I felt adored and looked up to.  Sitting down with my cousins and talking about the good’ol’days always warms our hearts.  These are the cousins from my mother’s side of the family.

Now my cousins from my father’s side are a different story.  Back when I was young and arrogant, I didn’t think that these cousins mattered.  In fact, I didn’t even know who they were if I were to meet them in the street.  I know that there were ties once as I have some vague memories of running around in one of my uncle’s house and a video taping of other cousins playing around in our house.  After that, we seemed to have lost touch.  Now that I’m older and a bit more humble, I started seeing things different.  It all started when my father decided to have a small get together.  I was very intrigued because, you know, they’re my family.  I looked forward to the event and was shocked to see one of our relatives look very very very similar to my sister.  Hmm… I thought to myself, this is probably the “blood” they’re referring to in “blood is thicker than water.”  It was one of the greatest days in my life: a resurrection of something I never knew existed and a realization that these cousins, too, are a part of who I am.

What’s ironic, though, is that even though I grew up with cousins from my mother’s side, the similarities between my cousins (dad’s side) and I are more.  Have I drifted away from how I was raised or have I come home to who I really am.

Another situation that made me realize that I didn’t need to know my cousins to feel their pain was when one of them lost her spouse.  It was tragic and sudden.  To see my cousin (who had to be pointed out to me, I dare say) devastated and crying tore me to pieces.  I would have given anything to change this unfortunate fate.  I held her and cried.  Years later I saw her with her sisters.  By the end of the visit, I had to ask which one was the cousin who lost her husband.  It’s so sad that in all these years I didn’t contact her.  But, blood is thicker than water and I pray for her piece of mind.

Regardless of who our family is, family matters.  Whether it’s genetics or growing up with your family that ties the bonds, I am proud to say that I am honored to have such great cousins.  Cousins that I share stories of a “big green eye walking,” “picking jasmines and meeting the dreaded cat,” “ducky go down the hooooole” and all the jokes from Friends.  And cousins that look like me and surprisingly act like me although we’ve been raised differently.

Addams Family Theme Song

They’re creepy and they’re kooky

Mysterious and spooky

they’re all together ooky

the Addams Family.

 

Live a little-Put Your Phone Away

cpzzcoaveaadarv-rDJhH1

Mobile phones are becoming a continuation of our bodies.  They are forever glued to our hands and our eyes are always diverted towards the screen.  Is it the fact that these smart gadgets are opening new realms and worlds through the net or are we just choosing to live our lives away from everyone?  What amazing functionality have these mobile phones given us that they are taking over our thinking and daily relationships?

Let’s take the example of the calculator in the smart phone.  Now for people who have I-phones you can imagine how easy it it to access the calculator and find out the answer you’re looking for, whether it’s 40 x 2 or 76213 x 761.  It wouldn’t matter what the mathematical problem is, you are used to using the calculator on your phone that you have become dependent on it.  I’m not sure whether or not school students today are required to actually use their brains to multiply, divide, add, and subtract or are they allowed to use their smart phones to help assist with these problems that, honestly, can be done in a shorter time period.  Whether or not the development of their brains would be affected, I cannot say, I hope someone would actually conduct a study and we can find out 20 years from now how math actually helps/does not help us at all.

We used to have our friends’ phone numbers memorized, how many numbers do you know by heart?  It’s so much easier to get your gadget (go-go-gadget) and press the name without even acknowledging that there’s a number stored or even realizing that if you’re put in a situation with a public phone you would have no idea what number to call (given that your phone’s battery is dead).

I am not against smart phones, I understand that they are helpful devices that can make our lives easier.  An example of a great application is the maps that helps you get your location and find out how to get somewhere.  Here conspiracy theorists will be glad to inform me of the dangers of smart phones and location services, having Big Brother watch, listen, and know where we are all the time.  I doubt Big Brother cares where I buy my groceries, honestly, or when I talk about my day at work.  Big Brother can probably listen to more important and interesting conversations that mine.  🙂

Relationships nowadays are being affected by the constant use of smart phones.  When you’re with your mom, dad, husband/wife, sister, brother, and child, please have the decency to put the phone away.  You do not need to see the latest trends nor do you need to hear the latest joke sent on your Whatsapp.  You do not need to read the latest news about your favorite star nor do you need to look through the Instagram pictures of food, how to lose weight, latest fashion trends, or the bombardment of advertisements that just waste time.  And no, you do not need to hear every single snap from our fellow bloggers; their lives only seems interesting because this is the part of their lives that they choose to show you.

So instead of watching other people’s lives, try living yours.  Stop comparing your days to that of others, you don’t need to eat out everyday nor do you need to take pictures of your dinner if it’s just fish and chips.  You do not need to hang on every single word coming from strangers because it’s not important.  Think: what is important?  Will I DIE if I miss out on today’s Snapchat?  Is it your choice to watch someone’s day instead of living yours?  What kind of relationship will we have with our friends and family if we are too busy to listen?  How often have you put the phone down, kept it on silent, or stashed it away for a couple of hours just to spend time with others?

What matters most?

Who matters most?

Use your senses.  Use your eyes to capture memories, you have enough pictures already.  Live in the moment and cherish it in your heart.  Be there for your child when he/she speaks to you; give them your undivided attention because they’re worth it.  What use would pictures be when you’ve spent the last few years of your life using the smart phone instead of talking to your sick parent?  What use would it be if you weren’t really there to hold their hands and look into their eyes?  What use would it be if you aren’t saving and hanging onto every word they say?  What use would it be if your husband/wife feels neglected because you choose to play your candy crush game before going to bed every night instead of talking about your fears and dreams while you hold each other?

Use your senses.  Use your brains, accept your feelings, live your life and enjoy it.

What matters most?  Who matters most?

You Are Not Your Job

batman

TV shows have a large impact on social life especially when it runs for more than a few years.  Hanging out in coffee shops became popular after the TV show Friends and ladies jumped into Rachel’s (Jennifer Anniston) haircut from season two.  Recently, many TV shows are related to doctors and so instead of Rachel’s beautiful shag we see men and women wearing their lab coats out in public.

The first question I would like to ask is why are you wearing the lab coat?  Don’t hospitals offer you lockers?  Do you go out of the house wearing them and keep them on?  It is such a predicament to me that I cannot accept it.  Now this was my opinion when I saw the doctors (residents, trainees, I’m not sure if someone just bought a lab coat to fit in) in Starbucks.  Fine, doctors need coffee too and I would really appreciate a doctor high on caffeine; plus it’s a great place to sit and chat and study.  The thing is, a few days ago I saw three women in lab coats walking in the mall!  Now that is a new level of crazy.

Trying to think as a person working in HR and not a cynic, I thought that maybe these women were proud to be doctors and are ready to jump in whenever needed.  Similarly, Bat Man walks around in his cape too.  Therefore, they identify themselves as heroes and have high employee engagement.  Now going back to TV, I’ve seen many movies when an accident occurs (specifically in air planes), the stewardess would shout “Is there a doctor here?” and a man a few seats back would say, “yes, I’m a doctor, give me some space.”  And the action would continue.  This man is usually not wearing a lab coat.  Thus, lesson number one: you do not need to wear your lab coat to be a doctor.

When we are introduced to someone, a common question that comes up is “what do you do for a living?”  Sometimes the question isn’t asked and we immediately think of informing the new acquaintance of our profession.  Why is that?  This is where I’d like to say you are not your job.  The need to be identified with a career is making people concentrate on titles more than their actual growth in life.  Children don’t need to inform each other what they do, we don’t see a child say that he is a student because it doesn’t matter.  Does it really matter what you do for a living?  Yes. But is it the only thing that identifies who you are?  It shouldn’t be.

It’s true that we spend a big chunk of our adult life at work but we need to be reminded time and again that life is not work.  The concept “work-life balance” needs to be renamed since they are not different, it’s just a matter of time management.  Yes a part of who we are today is made up from what we do but it’s not the only thing.  For example, a working mother understands the importance of juggling the different aspects in her life and so her role in life is more varied and she can “log off” when she leaves work because there are other pressing matters to tackle.  The urge and desire to grow in our careers sometimes take our eyes away from the beauty of life, we are so preoccupied with the race that we are missing the scenery.

Life goes on, you don’t want to wake up and realize that you spent it at work.

There are Work life balance assessment tools that can be found on-line, this is the wheel of life with its different areas.  Even without taking the assessment, you can immediately see what you are dismissing, whether knowingly or not.

wheel-of-life-300x300 *Example of Wheel of Life

Another thing to consider when trying to manage your time is your priorities.  Identify your priorities in the Wheel and come to peace with your choices.  If you end up with Family and Friends having a low number and you are ok with that, then it’s fine.  There is no correct answer to how the wheel should look for it to function.  It should just work for you.  In addition, priorities change over time and you need to pay attention to these changes and change your life (and wheel) accordingly.

An interesting clip I found is Steven Covey’s First things first Youtube Clip which portrays time as a bowl.  The woman in this clip is asked to fill the bowl with business related issues but imagine trying to fit your bowl with all life aspects.  Time is limited and it’s what you do with your time that matters.  Follow your dreams, look where you are going, and be thankful for what you have.  You are not your job, you do not need to wear your lab coat everywhere because you are more than just what you do.  Find out what you like and pursue it, you only live once.

Labor Pains

baby

So this last week I didn’t have any chance to write because my son is teething.  It’s not getting any better, it’s the same.  He’s cranky, in pain, and clinging onto me all day every day.  Not an optimum situation for someone who needs time to be creative. I guess when other mothers say that things will only get better when his teeth cut through is right.  The problem is they never prepare you for this.

Actually, mothers don’t prepare you for anything!!!  I like to think of myself as someone who can tolerate pain so I was mentally prepared to face labor pains.  I had my birthing plan in place and knew that birthing was a part of nature and mothers, for decades, have been doing it naturally.

Come March 2nd, I’m sitting in my pajamas working on salaries when my water broke.  Splash.  LITERALLY splash!  My husband was away on vacation, my mom was cooking lunch, and I just had to finish the salaries because no-one else can do them.  I sat down for a few minutes just to save the file and handed it over to my sister.  I was then admitted to the hospital when I still remained smiling, excited, and under control.

Yeah right.

The pain was fairly bearable in the beginning.  It was an interesting experience until things started getting serious.  The nurse was nice but she didn’t know what I was going through.  She might have given birth previously but I was the one in labor.  She sees this everyday, this is her job.  But for me it was just OH MY GOD!!

Being in pain, I wanted to talk to the fairly nice nurse and ask her when this will be over.  She said soon and couldn’t really answer.  Come on, who can answer this question?  So then I asked her is this pain normal?  She said, this is moderate pain and giggled.

WHAT?!?!

If this is moderate pain, what is real pain?

Well, It got worse… much worse… really quickly…

I never thought I would but I gave in the the epidural and was still screaming.

Word of advice:  TAKE ALL DRUGS AVAILABLE TO EASE YOUR PAIN!!!  You don’t need to torture yourself, you don’t hate yourself, do you?

So  hours (which seemed like months later), I gave birth to my baby.  I was so happy and relieved the pain stopped.  They say the body gets filled with happiness (hormones and such, I’ve never been into biology much) but I think the body was just in shock.  It really is a miracle you’re alive!

Later on, I’m siting on the hospital bed and my aunt walks in and asks, “how was labor?  Is it what you expected?”  It took ALL my willpower not to say something rude, she was being satirical and she loved it.  It was an inside joke but you know what?  I wasn’t laughing.

A year and a bit later, I understand why mothers don’t tell expectant mothers the truth: if anyone knew the extent of the pain they would never consider having a baby.  Plus, I just LOVE walking in to hospital rooms and ask “how was labor?  Is it what you expected?  HAHAHA join the club.

Today’s (and everyday) specials: pain, lack of time, and no energy.  Oh, and an amazing miracle you know is worth it.

I love you, my boy.  Hope you feel better.

Little Wonder Boy

mom and son

You know the less fortunate people you see working as cleaners or housemaids or who are sometimes still looking for a job?  Those people who you act like you don’t see and feel a bit awkward when you have eye contact with them? People who are always in front of you but you choose not to see them and you walk past them like they don’t exist? Well, I hate to break it to you but if you close your eyes they will still be there.  They will continue to be part of the reality you choose to ignore.  They are not part of a TV show so you can change the channel, neither are they aliens you can send back to their planet.  They are real.

By now, some readers may have closed the window and others will be skimming through really quickly and remembering something important they suddenly have to do.  Some will just feel bad and look for a charity that basically has nothing to do with poor people and contribute by buying tickets to their expensive dinner where they will “feed the homeless” by serving canapes and a few drinks.

Well, from someone who can speak for the less unfortunate, I would like to say please keep your charity money and your feelings of being superior to yourself.  These people who you consider substandard are a part of a reality you don’t understand.  You are forgetting that they come with hopes, dreams, and families.  Their dreams are similar to yours; I’m pretty sure their dreams are very far from where they stand now.

I am one of those less fortunate people.

My name is George and I grew up in one of the little poor suburbs in India.  My parents got married and when my father found out that my mom was pregnant, he was ecstatic.  Fathers around the world have a funny way of being relentless and anxious when waiting for a baby to be born.  So my mom, who was so tired with the pregnancy for nine months, was relieved when she felt her water break.

I wasn’t born easily. Like some children in the world, I took two days to finally be born.  I was immediately loved and cherished by my mother who quickly said a prayer to ensure that no harm will ever come in my way.  She held me close to her and kissed my forehead, and felt like she was complete.

By the time I was six years old, I had three sisters.  Being the eldest and a boy was the best thing that ever happened to me back home.  I was constantly fretted over, spoiled, and looked up to.  My mother would give me a glass of milk every morning before my sisters and she would pat my back saying I’m a “good boy who can do wonders.”

And that’s what I believed.

I went to school that year and would sit with my friend, Alex, and dream of our future.  I wanted to be a pilot and see the world.  I wanted to wear the uniform and fly the plane.  Alex wanted to be a surgeon.  At that age, we only knew what we were taught so our dreams were very vague.

No-one questions dreams.  They are a private part of your soul.  They consist of what you perceive yourself to currently be and what you want to be.  Sometimes dreams don’t make sense but, who are you to question them? Why were two little boys from the little suburb in India dreaming of becoming pilots and surgeons?

No-one questions.

We grew and our dreams grew.  Our family had some problems when little Gina got infected with a virus.  My father had to sell one goat to be able to afford her medication.  My mother was heartbroken so I would try to comfort her.  She would pat my back and say that I’m a “good boy who can do wonders.”

Gina didn’t survive the infection and I was mad.  If only we had enough money we could have gotten her to the city earlier.  She could have been saved by a great surgeon.  I went to Alex and made him promise that he will be a great surgeon someday and help poor people.  I cried and he promised that he will try his best.

So the next year in school, Alex and I worked harder and got better grades.  We wanted to get scholarships and continue to get our diplomas then maybe we can achieve what we dreamed of.  Alex’s father passed away and he had to leave school to work in the farm.  He was also the eldest child and all responsibilities lay on him.  I didn’t care for my grades anymore, he was the surgeon and I was the pilot who will take him around the world to help patients.  The night Alex’s father died, Alex’s dreams also died.

I graduated from high school.  The “good boy who can do wonders” was finally ready to face the world.  My grades weren’t high enough to continue studying just yet but I was ready to work.  I booked a ticket to go to Mumbai where my uncle will help me look for a job and I was so proud!  My sisters looked at me like their savior; Lana asked me to get her some Gulab Jamun as soon as I get paid and Tatinka asked for some money to get her new shoes.  You see, she always got Lana’s hand-me-down shoes and they were worn out by the time she got them.

I promised them both then went to my mom for her blessings.  She hugged me and gave me a pat on the back, saying how proud she was of her “good boy who can do wonders” and prayed for my safety.  She gave me my packed lunch and waved good bye as my father and I started walking to the bus station.

On the way, my father told me that I should listen to my uncle, that I should trust him fully and he will show me the best way to get to my dreams.  His eyes were teary as he told me how hard life is and how we sometimes need to sacrifice things to live.  He told me how hard it was all these years to afford all the expenses of keeping a family and how hard he worked.  We reached the bus stop and the bus was driving up to us.  I thanked him for his advise, asked for his blessings, and went on my way.

On the bus, I dreamed.  I dreamed of being the best pilot.  Of wearing the uniform, of flying from country to country and meeting different people.  It was the closest I have ever been to my dreams and I could almost taste the happiness of achieving it.

I reached Mumbai and saw my uncle.  It wasn’t what I expected.  Everything was so fast paced and everyone seemed to be in a hurry.  We stayed in a flat with seven other men and would barely have enough space to cook and eat.  I lived in that flat for six months, missing my mother and father, missing Tatinka and  Lana.  But mostly, I missed Alex.  I knew that Alex would find a way to get to our dreams.

But where was Alex?

So by the seventh month, my uncle took me to a recruitment agency.  He told me that there was hope for my employment.  It was a small office with a man sitting behind his table, smoking.  He looked down at me and tapped his fingers on the table while my uncle answered all his questions humbly.

“Is this him?” he asked.

“Yes,” My uncle replied,

“200 rupees”

“Oh, Thank you very much, sir, thank you”

The next thing I knew, I was signing employment papers.  I didn’t quite understand why my uncle had to pay him for my employment.  I can be employed based on my skills and knowledge.  I am, after all, the “good boy who can do wonders.”  I knew I will be employed in a foreign country and my heart skipped a beat: I will finally be in a plane!  I will finally see how a plane flies, and I will meet the pilot.  I was truly getting closer to my dream.

A week later, my uncle took me to my family for a quick visit because I won’t be able to see them for the upcoming two years.  I cried, my mother said she can’t wait to see me again and wanted to get me married as soon as I got back.  Tatinka and Lana made me promise to call them everyday and were envious.  My father looked content.  He told me that I finally understood my duties and he is proud of the man I’ve become.

And before I left, my mom gave me a pat on the back and called me her “good boy who can do wonders.”

I left home with my dreams packed away with my lunch.  I looked forward to this trip all my life.  I thought of Alex who was covered in soil as he wished me farewell.  He said he will try to come along but his mother found him a good wife and he will be wed next month.  I knew he gave up on his dreams when I looked into his sad eyes.

When I reached my destination, I was shocked.  I didn’t meet the pilot.  I was shoved around like a piece of nothingness when I stood in the middle of the airport in awe.  I was screamed at, scolded, and looked down at when I sat down to eat my lunch.  I didn’t know why people were so mean.

And when I got to the country I was employed in, my dreams shattered.

I was apparently employed as a construction worker.  That night I couldn’t sleep in the shared accommodation.  I missed my old life.  I missed when Alex and I dreamed.  Then it hit me.  Everything my father said was true.  He never said I was going to be a pilot.  He never said life was easy.  He never lied.  I just never listened.

It’s ironic how the “good boy who can do wonders” ends up being a construction worker in a faraway country.  It’s ironic how climbing on top of buildings is the closest I will ever get to flying.  I was tired, homesick, and heartbroken.

I cried…

Then I heard a little voice next to me “pssst… are you okay?  What’s your name?”

“George,” I answered

“I’m Jon.  What’s wrong?”

“I never thought I’d work in construction.  I had big dreams for myself.  Didn’t you?”

Jon snickered,” I wanted to be an engineer.  You?”

“Pilot”

Fear, Terror, and Disbelief

Residents-in-Cebu-City

It was like any other day for Kevin as he sat at his desk entering the sales numbers with his mind wandering off to the weekend. He would sleep in for a couple of hours before taking the girls out to their friend’s birthday party.  He wanted to spend time with them since he gets home very late during the week and they’re already in bed, sleeping peacefully.  He knew that someday he would regret not being there.  He grew up in a home where his father was also never available, just trying to make a good life for the family.  Now he was doing the same and feels guilty because he knows the consequences.  He knows that they will forever wonder whether or not he loved them and will always come to the conclusion that their father loved his work more.  It was so sad to think of but he couldn’t do anything about it.  The company pays him well and without a college degree, he was thankful to have found a job like this.

What Kevin tries to do to compensate is spend as much time as he can with the girls during the weekends.  It was their time and he was always looking forward to hear about how their week was and what drastic and amazing things happened at school.  He needed to ask about the little boy who had chicken pox marks and whether or not the kids stopped calling him Leopard.  It wasn’t such a bad nickname, he thought to himself, it would actually be intriguing once he reaches high school.

Kevin was lost in thought when it happened.  It was surreal and totally unexpected.  He felt the table shake from under him for a split second.  That’s strange, he thought to himself.  He looked at his mug next to the keyboard and his mind went blank when he saw it shake.  It happened so quickly, he didn’t have the chance to digest the fact that an earthquake just hit the city.  He didn’t know what to think or feel when he saw the side of the building collapse.  It was just seconds ago when his colleague was sitting at his desk working and now the colleague, desk, and half the building was lost to nothingness.  He felt the sunlight shine through and take place of what was just florescent lights.

He froze.

Then everyone screamed.

It was mayhem.  Everyone was running around screaming like headless chickens, with their minds totally dysfunctional.  He stood in awe, frozen and blank.  Come on, Kevin, MOVE!  His friend said, pushing him towards the door.  He starting running.  Where should I go?  What just happened?  He wondered.  Stairs.  I must get to the stairs.  Yes, that’s where everyone seems to be going.

He followed the group to the stairs and started walking down.  They reached the third floor and the person in front halted suddenly.  There were no stairs.  Wreckage covered the steps and everyone was panicking.

“What shall we do?!”  Someone screamed.

We have to get out before the building collapses!  Half of it is already gone, I don’t think it can stay up with half of it gone.

Dan?  Have you seen Dan?  Dan! DAN!

Kevin was concentrating on finding a way around the rubble.  Help me up, try to push me up.  We don’t have to go around it, we can go over.

They started pushing each other over the wreckage.  Shoes were discarded, clothes were covered in dust, faces were distressed and alarmed, and Kevin had one thought on his mind: his family.

The people in the building barely made it out in time before they felt another earthquake.  The aftershock, he thought, I remember teaching Laura about it last year.

He started running towards the havoc that was once a very normal and fairly quiet street.  He looked up at the building, it was cracked open like an egg with one half on the ground.  He heard screams coming from under the rubble and he saw his coworker run towards the screams. Dan!  He heard her scream.  Dan! She was covered in grey dust but continued to look for Dan.

I must look for my family, Kevin thought.

He looked for his car keys and realized that he left them in the office.  He looked at the roads  and decided he couldn’t have used the car anyway.  Fear, terror, and disbelief.  It wasn’t over.  The earthquake was over but the it was still the beginning for him.

He ran towards the school.  He didn’t want to think of the possibility that something happened to his wife.  He wanted to believe that she was fine and she was also thinking of their daughters.  She would be running to the school too.  He thought to himself.  Mindy’s fine, she’s a strong woman.  I’ll meet her there. 

The school was worse than his office building.  He heard the children cries from a distance and the teachers trying to calm them down with worried voices.  Fear, terror, and disbelief.  It wasn’t over.  The paramedics were rushing in and trying to get everyone seated and teachers were counting and recounting the students.  Ms. Addison from the administration was running as fast as her little feet would take her with papers.  She went from one teacher to the next handing them out: they were the attendance sheet.  Great, Kevin thought, I can find my girls.

Ms. Addison, he said, jogging by her side.  Would you happen to know which class my girls are in?  Where can I find them? She apologized for not being to help and muttered something that sounded like a little prayer under her breath.  He looked at the children’s faces just in case he sees someone he recognizes.  Then he saw them.  Two little girls huddled under a tree with their faces buried in a hug.  He knew it was them and ran.  Laura!! Stephanie!  He screamed but they didn’t hear him.  He screamed again and they lifted their heads.  He saw tears running down both of their identical faces and felt so helpless yet relieved.

He hugged them both tightly to stop the trembling.  It’s OK, you’re alright.  We’re all alright.

It took them a few minutes to calm down.  They didn’t share what they saw nor did they talk about what they felt. Fear, terror, and disbelief.  It wasn’t over.  They just held onto one another while being carried by their dad.  Then Laura said, “is mommy OK?” ” I don’t know, I’m sure she is” Kevin answered and held onto hope.

They went over to the paramedics.  Sir, let me check the little girls, please.  The medic checked reflexes and asked them a few questions.  “All clear, sir

Could we have someone drop us home?”

“Sorry, sir, we are working as fast as we can but we can’t move any of our units, there are five kids missing.”

Fear, terror, and disbelief.  It wasn’t over.

Laura and Stephanie started crying.  It took Kevin a while to figure out that the missing children were in their class.  Leopard was one of them.  Ms. Addison came back and assigned Kevin a few children to take care of and he gladly obliged.  He never knew she would be strong in difficult situations, never knew that a person so small in size can sum up enough courage to keep people calm.  He looked into her eyes and expected to see a hero.  Fear, terror, and disbelief.

Kevin tried calling his wife but the network wasn’t working.  He thought it would probably take a few days to get it up and running.  He looked at the time, his wife should have been here by now.  He knew that she would be worried about the girls.

Then he started getting worried about her.  Really worried.

He looked over at the children and wondered where their parents were at.  Then it hit him, some of their parents might not come to get them.  Some of them might be stuck in the rubble.  He recalled the screams, Dan! Dan!  Then realized that Dan was sitting on the Eastern side of the building, the side that fell.  He realized that Dan also had a family that was worried about him.  Where is Dan now?  Where is Mindy now?

He started praying.  Praying for the parents, praying for the five missing children, praying for the loved ones, praying for his wife, praying for Dan, praying for the young and old.  He thought of the hospital and the people there.  He hoped nothing happened to the hospital.  It was a normal day, doctors had operations scheduled and could have been in the operation rooms.  What happened!?  He wondered in shock.

He looked up at the sky.  It was late afternoon and people were still scurrying.  Children weren’t crying as much: some were taken home by their parents and some just gave up and went to sleep.  He looked at his two angels who were playing with some grass.  He thought of his wife, where are you!?

It was getting late and he had to go home.  He had to check on his wife.  She could have been home and had something fall on her!  She might have been stuck all that time while he was waiting for her.

The last of the children under his supervision were picked up and he went over to the medics.  She drove them home. Throughout the way, Kevin prayed and prayed.  Trees were fallen on the ground and parts of buildings and homes were scattered across the roads.  Some people were still walking around and Kevin could hear parts of their conversations.  Fear, terror, and disbelief.  It wasn’t over.

They reached home.  The lights were on and the two girls were running towards the door as it was suddenly opened. He looked at the figure in the doorway and realized it wasn’t his wife.  Where’s mommy?! They asked, scared.

In the distance, he could still hear the cries of his coworker in his mind, Dan! Dan! Dan!

Fear, terror, and disbelief.  It wasn’t over.

Tired Mothers

mother

Tired, like all mothers, I choose to stay awake just to have a little time for myself.  Just a few minutes, I say, I’ll be in bed by 10. Yeah right!  I’m never in bed by 10.  Sometimes I listen to the nothingness of the night for a couple of hours, I listen to the quietness around me and take it all in, still trying to wind down after a long and exhausting day.

I realize that I’ve been awake for a little bit too long.  Alright, if I sleep now, I would expect my baby to wake up in half an hour for his bottle.  So the dilemma begins: should I sleep or  should I stay awake?  Still questioning what to do next, my heavy eyelids give in and I fall asleep with the mobile phone in my hand, still open on the last page I was browsing.  Barely a few minutes later, I wake up when I hear the tossing and turning of my little boy.

And the night shift begins.

Like some days, nights can be long.  Many nights were spent sitting in bed with the baby in my arm and my head thrown on one side without any support to my neck.  Do you know the neck strains you used to have in high school when you wouldn’t be able to move for almost a week?  When you’re a mother, you are blessed with the miracle of feeling no pain!  You know why?  Because life must go on and you must be available, up and running at all times.

So half asleep, I look at my boy and smile.  It’s a true blessing to have a child who loves you and accepts you for who you are.  My boy doesn’t know what I did in my life nor does he care.  All that matters to him is that I’m his mother and I love him so much.  After he drinks his bottle, he pushes himself off my arm and onto my bed.  Cheeky boy.  He knows he wants to sleep on our bed so he cuddles against his father who just can’t say no.

Blessed, I smile and lay down.  I look over at my two favorite boys and think that God has truly been generous.  No-one said raising a child was easy; it’s a tough job only mothers can do.  Mothers aren’t well rested, pampered, and manicured women, they are tired, exhausted, and fatigued saints.

Happy Mother’s Day to all you mothers out there.

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