Published on November 08, 2016
Today, our baby turns one year old. I find it weird that I kept on falling in and out of my sanity the past couple of months. There are days when my heart is overflowing with so much happiness because our little darling is growing up to be the kind of child that I’ve always prayed for. She has turned into everybody’s sweet darling. And before I knew it, tears would start to flow because I feel like my child is slowly slipping away. I have been in constant battle with time, and I feel like I’ve been ceaselessly losing against it. I cry because I know that no matter how hard I pray to spend more time with her “smaller” version, I simply can’t challenge what nature has designed – that my baby is meant to grow up and find her own path.
I initially had a conversation with a mommy friend. She said, “I feel you, Je. It’s normal. Every mother goes through that same struggle.” She later on told me that I’m excused to be a bit more emotional because of the struggles I had to endure just to have Zayne. She’s right. I figured that my mommy heart has been struggling already even before I became a mother. Battling infertility for four years was not easy. My heart was initially like dam. The struggles dried up my dam. My heart became so used to being like a dried up, useless dam. So when Zayne came, my heart that was so used to being a bottomless pit of emptiness, suddenly overflowed with so much love, happiness and contentment. Don’t get me wrong, okay? I have always been happy, and I came to a point in my life when I had already come to terms with the possibility of not being able to have a child of my own. Boyet once told me, “You and I, we’re already a family.” But you see, a dam is supposed to have water in it. So when Zayne came into my life, a dam that was once used to being empty suddenly overflowed! Now that I’m seeing her grow up, I can’t help but be reminded of the days when she was nothing but a wish. I’m reminded of the days when my heart, now filled with so much love coming from a little human being, had nothing but a feeling of longing. Before she came, I could not imagine how I would be able to love someone selflessly. It’s as if motherhood made my heart expand a thousand times more.
There are days when I feel like wearing a cape which comes with my supermom powers. But on most days, I feel like I’m lacking. I give myself a pat on the back when I don’t need to choose between spending time with her and checking out my social media accounts. She always comes first. But there are days when I just feel so exhausted to even lift a finger. There are days when I wish that money grew on trees so I won’t be needing to spend hours in traffic and stay in the office for hours away from her. And then I’ll get back to my senses, being reminded of the things that I want to do for her and with her – giving her a good future, traveling the world with her and allowing her to chase her own dreams – all of which require one thing: MONEY. Hahaha! I feel bad for the tricks that I didn’t get to teach her, but I just feel so blessed that our little family is surrounded with tons of people who help us guide Zayne. It really does take a village to raise a child. I feel bad for the hours I spent away from home. But I make sure that I make up for it even if it means that I need to sing and dance while watching Hi-5. On days when I feel like being a bad mother, my little one, with her heart a million times bigger than her tiny hands, would shower me with hugs and kisses. When I tell her, “Zayne, please give Nanay a kiss,” she would stop whatever she’s doing, reach for my face and give me a kiss on the lips. Minsan aso-level with licking on my nose pa. Haha!
Most of the time, I wonder how this world is so unfair to mothers – misjudged, undervalued and unappreciated most of the times. But I guess nature has a way to balance it out. A simple hug can wipe away all the stress. I’m surprised how an exhausted mother can feel so recharged with just one kiss from her child.
There are days when I can’t help but look back at the times when Zayne was not yet with us. We had more money to spare. We had more time to go on spontaneous dates and out of town trips. We had the freedom and the liberty to do whatever we wanted to do. I had more sleep. I could read all the books in my shelf. I could savor my every meal without a baby to think of or a schedule to follow. Those were the days. But those were also the days when my dam was all dried up. Ironically, both my sleep bank and bank account may have been depleted, but my heart is at its fullest.
I know I may sound like a weirdo to you, but every day, as I see Zayne grow before my eyes, I remember the days when I prayed for the things I’m now blessed with. I am reminded of all of our failed attempts to conceive a child. I knew that God has a reason for everything. It was something I kept on convincing myself. I told myself that sooner or later, I would understand why my husband and I had to go through years of patiently waiting. Now, as I look at my little ball of sunshine, I finally understood God’s reason for making me wait. It took him years to “design” the kind of child that I really needed. He gave me a sweet and loving child to teach me how to always readily show affection. God probably wanted me to become less grumpy so He blessed me with a cheerful child. He gave me a sensitive and forgiving Zayne - the kind of child who would surely understand my shortcomings as a mother. And with all those years of waiting, He made sure that Zayne would be worth it.
As our Zayne turns one year old today, I am once again reminded of the many beautiful things that came out of years of waiting. My husband has turned out to be an amazing father to Zayne, and he still looks at me like I’m one helluva sexy Victoria’s Secret model! And one of the most important lessons I learned in my short stint as a mother is this: For the longest time, I thought that being a mother is being able to help my child turn out to be a good person. Somewhere along the way, I realized that my child has also been given to me to help me turn out to be a better person, to teach me the most valuable lessons in life.
Today is our Zayne’s first birthday. It’s amazing how a little human being has turned our worlds crazier but definitely happier. And today, as we also celebrate our first birthday as parents, I am more than amazed to see how a small human being has continuously transformed our hearts. Thank you, our dear Zayne, for teaching us how to seize each day. And to our little angel up there who should have also been one year old today, your Tatay and I love you the same way we love your Ate Zayne. I know that a part of you has remained in Zayne because on most days, we feel like we are taking care of two babies with Zayne’s wit and energy! And yeah, I still miss you.
Happiest birthday to our babies! Nanay and Tatay love you very, very, very much! Thank you for making our hearts grow bigger in love!
* Photos by Dar Calado of Frames Perfect Studio