What I wanted to be when I grow up

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When I was young, there were so many things I wanted to be: a doctor, a sales lady, a bank teller, a vet, and a TV broadcaster among other things. Though none of them actually worked out for me, I’ve always believed it’s because God has bigger plans. I had plans that I didn’t actually work on, and I made decisions as I went but it still went perfectly well. I ended up in a school I never thought I’d go to, I met amazing people who turned out to be friends for life, I was able to get a job in line with my college degree- a job I enjoyed immensely and where I, again, found lifelong friends. It was because of that job that I had the advantage to apply overseas, found my independence, experience new adventures, and finally, met the love of my life.

I’ve always been the type of person who was someone between going with the flow and planning things out. After being overseas for so many years (not to mention trying different jobs), I still felt as if I have no idea what I really wanted to do. To be practical, I went back to school and built a new career path for myself. Like my college degree, I liked it, stuck with it, and made new plans. I was back in that zone, finding enjoyment where I was.

Getting married at thirty was when I finally realized why I made those decisions, ended up in this place, with this person. I love being married. I love being with the best friend I met a tad later in life. He is kind, he is patient, he is generous, and he loves my family- he is everything a woman would want to be with. He is also outgoing while I am introverted. He loves the outdoors while I am a house cat. He has his faults, and so have I. We got engaged after five years of dating, got married a year later, and enjoyed blissful life of togetherness for three years before we got pregnant.

I never really saw myself as a “mommy”. I don’t like kids, you see. Not that I hate them all- I like and love the kids in my family and those of my friends. I don’t think it was in my DNA to be a nurturer, to be patient, and to want to give up my freedom. I didn’t even think that married people will be bombarded with so many questions about “having kids”. It wasn’t a foreign concept and it’s expected, I know, but I didn’t realize that it’s all people will ask you literally every time they see you.

It wasn’t easy for me to get pregnant. I found myself getting depressed and allowing people to stress me out with their questions of when we’re having kids. We eventually decided to try fertility treatment, and after a year and half of trying and crying, I got pregnant and gave birth to a healthy baby boy.

The moment I saw those two thin lines, my heart got bigger. I could never come up with the best words to explain the happiness I felt at that moment. I had instinctively touched my belly, as if protecting the precious cargo I found out I was carrying. Just thinking about it now makes me cry. At that moment was when I finally got the answer to the long-winded question of what I wanted to be when I grow up. What I studied for and what my job was stopped mattering. I didn’t realize how much my heart wanted to be a mother. I mean, I have thought about it before, but I didn’t know how happy and fulfilled I would be just giving birth to him. I am a mother. I am a mother. The very words bring absolute joy, and it’s the happiest my heart has ever been. My heart was full when I married the love of my life, but I didn’t realize it can expand to make more room for a little baby boy that God so lovingly gifted us.

I am at the early stages of being a mother, the best and hardest profession a woman will ever have. I am meant for this job. I am ready to tackle this head-on. I can read all the books about motherhood, attend all the classes being offered, watch all the how-to videos on YouTube, yet nothing and no one can really prepare you for this arduous lifelong task. This is something I will have to navigate instinctively, but I am made for this. I was born so I could love my baby. We could plan our lives to a T, or we could go with the flow, but even after whatever decisions you make (or have made), you will always end up to where you’re supposed to be. God is already a thousand steps ahead of you, He knows what is best for you. Only He knows what will make you truly happy. Only He can complete you. I could’ve easily chosen a different path, I could’ve been in a different place and time, could’ve been with different people, even- but instead, I’m right where I’m supposed to be- eating a scone and drinking milk at one o’clock in the morning, finding the only “me time” before breastfeeding my son again.

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Dear Baba

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Dear Baba,

It’s late at night and I can’t sleep. I can’t stop staring at your beautiful face. I’m trying so hard not to kiss you and smell you while you’re sound asleep. You’re such a light sleeper. Any sudden movement or even the lightest of sound can startle you. I would sometimes spend five minutes slowly trying to get up from the bed, but once my scent leaves you, you start crying.

The first month after you were born was the hardest. Between feedings, diaper changes, and trying to get to know each other were definitely challenging. You had jaundice on your first week and we had to take you back to the hospital. My milk supply hadn’t come out yet and my blood pressure was either too high or too low. And as much as I loved it, it was still exhausting, being needed for twenty-four hours with little to no sleep. My nipples were cracked and bleeding. It hurt so much that I saw black spots every time I breastfed you- and that was every three hours for one and half hours each.

I said I was ready to be a mother, but I didn’t realize how much of yourself you have to give to be one.

It’s worth it, though, that I can’t deny. Those nine months of discomfort, constant worrying, and having to give up what I want to eat or do. The pain of giving birth, the pain after birth, all of it. It was all worth it because I have you now. I get to kiss you every night before I sleep and see your angelic smile when I wake up in the morning. I cry a lot. Not because I’m sad or hurt, but because my heart is so full of love for you and I can’t stop thanking God because he allowed me to be your mommy.

I pray to God I won’t forget, that I will forever remember the joy in my heart when I heard your heartbeat on my pregnancy check-ups. I want to remember the smile on our faces when we went for an ultrasound and saw you. I pray never to forget those very precious moments when I felt you kicking and squirming inside me.

I pray not to forget our excitement when you were about to be born. That first loud cry you made was the best thing I’ve heard in my whole life, coupled with the memory of the first time I held you close to my heart. That was the exact moment when I realized what unconditional love meant.

I pray never to forget how beautiful your face looks when you sleep and even when you cry. I pray that I will always remember your sweet baby smell, the feel of your soft, little hands when you hold my fingers, and how you fit perfectly in my arms. I pray to forever remember the feeling of you falling asleep in my chest or after feeding. I pray never to forget how it feels being the only person who can make you stop crying.

I know I’m the one you need the most right now. It’s hard, but I’m loving every minute of it. We have photos and videos to document your life that we could always look at, but it’s those sense of smell and touch that is just as important as seeing or hearing. Every single moment of your existence now and forever will always be in my heart. One day, you will want to do things on your own and you might not even want me around, but I pray that you, too, will remember, that when you were young, I was enough. I pray that you won’t forget how much I love you and that I will always be here for you.

Dear Husband

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Dear Husband,

I’m sorry I was mad at you again for the nth time. While sometimes it is your fault, most times it’s only because I was impatient. You see, it really annoys me when you leave your clothes everywhere after you get home from work, or when I ask you to help me out but forget to do it. It drives me crazy when the kitchen looks like a tornado just passed by after cooking, or worse when you eat before me and don’t even bother putting your dirty dishes in the sink.

I feel resentment towards you every time you go out and play basketball, or when you’re lazily lounging in the sofa watching tv while I solely take care of our newborn. I get mad at you when you drink with our friends, on rare night outs without our son, and I have to be your designated driver. During nightly feedings and diaper changes,  I scowl at your snoring, slumbering figure, and hate you more when you don’t even stir or wake when the baby cries. How can anyone possibly sleep through that?

I know hate is too much a bad word that shouldn’t be said, but that’s what I felt- what I feel when you do these things. I also know it’s just the baby blues, that it’s the postpartum depression the doctor already telling me to get checked out… but I also know it’s me. I am impatient. I am selfish.

With these intense emotions combined with stress and lack of sleep and- let’s not forget- hormones, I sometimes fail to see how everything has been for you. I know, and I appreciate all the love and understanding you’ve given me. I will never forget how much you’ve taken care of me during my pregnancy and after giving birth to our child. I know your sacrifices but then again- maybe not because I’ve been too focused on our baby and on myself.

I sometimes fail to realize that you, too, have lost sleep. You, too, worry about me and the baby. You also worry about our needs right at that moment and for the rest of our lives. You get scared of the things that may happen and whether we’ll be fine. You were also worried when my blood pressure was inconsistent, when I didn’t have any milk supply, and when I wouldn’t stop crying. Sometimes I forget that you’re also concerned about our baby’s well-being.

I need to remember that on the day we got married, I promised to accept you and love you for who you are, flaws and all. I need to remember that you need to relax and unwind after working and commuting from work. I need to appreciate you more because you do the grocery and cook for me every day. I need to recognize you more because you also take care of our son, maybe not as much as I do because right now, I understand that I’m the parent the baby needs the most.

So dear husband, I’m sorry I’m mad at you. There’s just too many things happening and I’m feeling so much and it has overwhelmed me. You see, I know I’m still me, but also slightly different. I’ve never been this needed in my life, and I’m always worried that I’m not living up to the expectation. I will never trade this new life of ours for anything in the world, but at the same time, I miss my freedom. I miss you, I miss us and I miss it so much it hurts, and it’s easy to get just get mad out of frustration. I’m sorry I failed to recognize your love and sacrifices. I’m sorry I have no one else to vent to so I throw everything at you.  I’m sorry if I made you feel inadequate and unloved. I’m sorry I forgot the promise I made on our wedding day.

Please know that I love you still and forever. My words have hurt you, and I want to apologize for saying them. You are not perfect and so am I. I should not expect too much from you or assume you should know what I was thinking. You also are worried about the baby and the, and I’m sorry if I made you feel alone.  Please forgive me for my shortcomings as a wife. You are patient and kind, thoughtful and giving, and I still think I’m the luckiest in the world because you married me.

I promise to be more patient and kind. To think before I speak so as not to regret the words that come out of my mouth later. I promise to be a good wife and partner. I promise to be yours forever.