While everyone else is in slumber land, I rise up in the wee hours, open the windows to relish the cool breeze of dawn, set the kettle on the stove, settle down at the dining table and connect with my Creator in quiet reflection.
After preparing breakfast, I go back upstairs to the bedroom, wake up my little sleepy heads and their Daddy. Together we sing their morning prayers, then they happily join Daddy in walking to the bakery to buy some hot pandesal. I set the table and make sure the hot meal is ready by the time they get back. We then all enjoy breakfast before our two little girls see us off to work at the subdivision gate. We say good bye bringing along their sweet little kisses and warm hugs, enough joy to see us through the day. Aah! Motherhood is such bliss.
All I have each day are snatches of that perfect picture. Achieving three of these blissful scenes is a major achievement.
I used to be the typical obsessive-compulsive single lady. My house was spic and span. Even a fly would shy away from my shiny floors. Everything is planned. Everything is organized.
But when I got married and the babies started coming after four years, there was a complete turn-around. Just to keep my sanity, there were several attempts to sit on my computer and schedule each activity by the hour. It all looked so feasible in print but not in real life. By the end of the day, I could hardly tick a thing off from my “to do” checklist on the fridge door. I used to quietly beat myself up for being such a big failure as a wife and Mommy until I finally gave up the obsession of an organized and controlled environment.
That was just the beginning.
When the kids learned to walk and talk, they also discovered the art of demanding, making it harder to achieve my ideal blissful day. Raising two preschoolers is so unpredictable and the worse of days really tests my patience to the max.
I get up in the morning quiet as a mouse for the slightest stir may wake up our daughters. I tiptoe going downstairs, set the kettle on the stove and settle down in the dining area for my daily Bible reflection. I breathe a quiet whisper of gratitude for getting this far.
I hardly warm up the chair and a loud scream pierces through the cool morning breeze. “Moooommmy!!! I want dede Mommy!!!” That’s my three-year-old crying to be breastfed.
I put down my prayer book, take a deep breath and wear my sweetest smile as I tackle the first hurdle of the day. “Good morning, baby! Mommy is here now.” She settles down as soon as she cuddles up A few minutes into breastfeeding and another shrill sound breaks the silence.
It is the water boiling and the kettle whistling.
My toddler senses the uneasiness. “Baby, Mommy needs to go down to the kitchen to switch off the stove.”
She lets out a shriek, “Noooo!!! I want Mommy dede!”
“Mommy will be back in a few minutes.” And I rush off downstairs to pour the boiled water into the thermos as fast as I can amidst my child’s continuous cries and chanting like a broken record, “I want Mommy dede!”
I anticipate the next drama.
Because of casino all the noise, big sister wakes up shouting, “Moooommmy!!! Where are you?” She joins the dynamic duet.
I wish it were music to my ears but all it does is to pull my string of patience to high tension. I take another deep breath with a prayer for patience.
I wear a sweet smile as I walk into the room. “Good morning, pretty girl! How was your sleep?”
“Mommy, I want dede bottle,” our eldest daughter asks.
“Where’s the magic word?” Impatience creeps in as I realize that I have to go back downstairs again. In desperation, I reach out to my husband to wake him up for S.O.S.
He hardly stirs.
“I want Mommy dede,” the youngest chimes in.
“Mommy, I am hungry. I want my dede bottle now please, please, please.” Ate gets more demanding now.
This time, it is my turn to raise my voice, “Daddy! I need your help now. Please make some milk for Ate. I have to breastfeed Bunso.”
My husband lazily pulls himself up. Finally!
Bunso quiets down as she nestled in my bosom. Ate is still whining for her milk while the list of chores run through my mind as I intersperse it with the formula prayers I missed.
I give a loving reminder. “Bunso, we have to stop in 5 minutes so Mommy can prepare for work.”
She protests, “Noooo!!! I want Mommy dede!”
Five minutes is up and I give a warning, “I will count 1 to 20 and we are done, okay?”
Bunso whimpers but thankfully lets go of Mommy’s built-in pacifier at the count of 20. “Okay, time is up!”
The two starts for the stairs. “Hey, we forgot to pray.” They ignore me and run off to buy pandesal with Daddy.
In the few minutes of solitude, I rush to cook rice, wash the dirtied underwears of the day before, clean the pet bunnies’ cage with the used laundry soap and get ready for bath.
I am about to step into the bathroom when the three get back from the bakery. My husband starts his daily mantra. “Honey, we have to leave early so we won’t get caught in the rush hour traffic jam.”
“Good luck to me,” I whisper.
I go through the motions of shampooing and soaping and in between scrubbing the bowl and brushing the floor to maximize the suds.
“What’s taking you so long?” My husband complains. Make it quick so we won’t be late.
I ignore the pressure building up. Someone knocks on the door. “What? Who is it?”
“Mommy! I need to poop!” It is Bunso again.
I am left with no other choice but to hurry up. As I step out of the toilet to give way to Bunso, I smell the rice burning.”
“Oh no!” I switch off the stove, run upstairs to change with my husband’s voice trailing behind, “What took you so long? You know we should leave early.”
Steam is working up now. One more pestering word and…
My husband joins me in the room to change “Will you please move faster…”
Bingo! Okay, that’s it! I blow my top. “I don’t just take a shower like you do. I do some laundry and clean the bathroom while taking a bath. And then I have to clean up your child. So stop rushing me!”
That shuts him up for a while and he turns to our two little girls watching TV. “That’s enough. Time to go.”
As they march off to the car, I hurriedly brush my teeth, pack our lunches and cover the unfinished breakfast on the table. “We did not eat together again,” I sigh in frustration.
Our stay-out nanny arrives. We all ride to the subdivision gate for our sending off ritual. Ate stumbles and hurts her knees as she gets off the car. She cries, “Mommy!”
I run to comfort her. After smothering her with kisses, she gets comforted and I turn her over to our baby-sitter.
I was finally dropped off in our office, still not talking with my husband after the minor irritation earlier. He kisses me good bye as he whispers his apology. I give a half-baked smile and a lame “I love you” before heading off to work.
I hardly reached the bundy clock when my co-workers approach me, each with a complaint. If there is one thing about being a union officer, it is owning up all the problems of the world. That’s my appetizer before my first meal of the day.
I head off for the canteen, choose my quiet nook and have my breakfast all by my lonesome.
After all the harassment, I gather up the energy to count my blessings to refill my empty love tank. As I take a bite of food, I thank God for the safe ride to the office, for leaving our children with a good nanny, for the contented smile of Bunso as she breastfed, for Ate’s sweet thank you when Daddy gave her bottle of formula milk, for my husband’s effort to control his temper so we won’t clash big time when I snapped, for our children’s warm hugs and wet good bye kisses that smelled of milk, for our good health, for the chance to help others in need…. The gratitude is endless.
I look out the window and smile as I cherish the sunshiny day. The warmth draws a picture of God smiling and giving me a tap on the shoulder, “well done, my child.”
Now, I am ready to face the world again. Thank You, Lord.
Photo: from lizzamarievargas.wordpress.com/tag/entitlement/