Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Therapist

Here’s the continuation of my last entry. As I said, I will write about what Markus and I talked about while squished in my old but comfy armchair.

“Kuya Gabriel is the only good older brother here,” Markus complained. “Kuya Gino and Kuya Mickey always kick me off the computer...” That started his litany of complaints.

Not that he and Gabriel are always on good terms. On the contrary, they have more squabbles between the two of them on any given day. Strangely, they do get along well.

“Kuya Gino needs to do homework, and homework comes first,” I explained. He then cited several instances when he was unceremoniously booted off the computer by either one of his brothers only to find that brother chatting or playing a game.

“That’s not fair!” I said. “That must really suck.”

I am learning that you don’t dismiss children’s emotions. You validate them. Boys especially need to be affirmed in their feelings because, unlike the more emotional women, guys somehow lose touch with their true feelings, or they become unable to rightly express them, which often leads to some kind of emotional, mental, social or spiritual baggage. Just look around you.

“You know what,” I continued, “your brothers will mature. You will all grow up and things will be different,” I assured him. Markus was not convinced.

“I know how you feel. I am the youngest in the family too. Sometimes you can’t speak out…” I sensed Markus start to pay attention. So I continued. “When I was a child, my siblings were like that to me too. I felt like a nuisance. I understand you…” I think I told him more of my experiences growing up as the only child in a house full of older people, way older people. “But look at us now. We’ve changed. We care for one another. Things will change, Markus.” I tried to sound as encouraging as I could short of saying, Sooner or later, your brothers will be on their own. That is still premature.

That evening, I was lounging in bed and watching TV with Gabriel when Markus came into the bedroom. Before hopping into bed, he waved his hands beside his ears and asked in a funny voice, “How does a mother with four children think?”

Amused, I asked, “How?”

“Like a therapist!” he said, again in a squeaky tone.

“And what do you think does a therapist do?” I rode along.

“They talk about people’s emotions,” was his response.

I should add that to my Mom job description.

Sunday, October 22, 2006

Early morning devo

My two younger boys have the habit of sneaking into my bedroom early in the morning or late at night or whenever. They sometimes catch me in the morning sitting on the armchair by the window and having my Bible devotions.

Last Friday morning, at around 6:00 am, I began to drag myself out of bed into the chair. It is always a struggle for me to take those six or seven wobbly steps from the bed to the chair. But I have to do this to force myself to wake up. Otherwise, if I just sit up in bed, I would be back to sleep in no time.

Before I could even start opening my Bible or praying in between yawns, it might take me another 15 minutes or longer to be fully awake. Sometimes I just sit and stare at whatever. Sometimes my mind reviews past events or wanders into the future. Sometimes I snooze. That Friday, I was thinking of the past week and some of the amazing but seemingly unrelated things that had happened to me that week. As I was trying to make sense of those things, in wonderment I blurted out, "Wow!"

As I turned my head towards the door that was left slightly open, I realized that Markus was peeping through the opening. He pushed it open and joined me on the chair.

Wrapped in a blankie and squeezing himself beside me, he said, "Mom, I thought you were doing something useful."

I chuckled. "And what would that be?" I asked.

"Like praying?" he answered. "But you were just saying, 'Wow!'"

Yeah, I might have looked odd to Markus. It was as if I was talking to myself and not to Jesus. Well, I was.

"I was thinking of some good things that happened as I was about to pray," I told him. I am not a very disciplined person who can jump right into prayer before dawn. I need to get into the spirit. It takes effort for me to focus. And honestly, I don't always succeed with the time I have before preparing for work. The spirit is willing but the flesh is weak. Note to self--Keep plodding on...

Because Markus was already nicely curled up beside me, I decided to engage him in an interesting conversation, the contents of which will be in the next blog entry. Then I reached out for my Bible on the table beside me. That was his cue to keep quiet as he leaned on my shoulders. After reading, I prayed for Markus, the family and whatever else entered my mind--the useful thing Markus had expected.

Friday, October 13, 2006

Rotten tomatoes

Gabriel and I were picking out tomatoes at the Fresh Produce section of Canadian Superstore when I started storytelling. I recalled my childhood habit of tagging along my mother to the corner store.

“You know, I enjoyed picking tomatoes every time Lola and I went to the store,” I said. “But I felt sad for those that were not chosen...”

Shaking his head, Gabriel muttered to himself, “Mom is weird.” Then turning to me, he said, “Mom, tomatoes have no feelings.”

“Yah, but I do,” I remarked. Thank goodness, tomatoes have no feelings or I might end up taking rotten ones.

Gabriel chuckled. One more weird thing about Mom.

I didn’t say I bought them, okay? I maybe weird, but I'm not stupid.

Wednesday, October 04, 2006

Versatile

When I was in second year high school, I encountered the word versatile for the first time in a homework given by my English teacher. If I had come across it before then, it probably didn’t register. Our homework consisted of an alphabetical list of adjectives, one adjective per letter, and versatile was the V-word. We were told to write a classmate’s name for each adjective. I think the papers were to be collected and tallied.

As I did my homework, I learned the meaning of versatile and I instantly liked it. I was so impressed with the word. I want to be versatile! I don’t remember getting the highest votes for versatile, but the word stuck and became like a personal goal. After all, I had been trying out different things, and my interests were so varied and changeable.

Fast forward. I am still aiming to be a well-rounded person before I become... just round. I try this, I try that, hardly mastering anything. But having fun, and picking up new skills in the process.

Would things have been different had the V-word been voluptuous? Hmmm…