I’d done my very best for the kid

Still estranged from my child. He had texted the usual precise “Hi, hope you are doin fine” twice in a year — obviously for the mere heck of it. Other than that, nothing. No visit, no show of concern, no birthday nor sincere holiday greeting.

Ah yes, he sent a brief letter via text msg enumerating his misdeeds and trespasses from way way back to unload from his conscience. No apology though. And I wondered what his purpose truly was for sending such a missive.

Nobody reads my blog anymore. I, however, still see Philippines on my stats and I suspect it’s him because he has always known this blog was set up for the two of us.

Once again I can say with confidence I have done my very best for my child. That’s the reason my conscience is clear. That’s the reason I didn’t shed too much tears over losing him. Because my son actually owes me an apology.

When his father left us, I took all the responsibility of raising him, with nary any help from anyone, literally. I had no maid to help me take care of him. I worked my ass off for the money that would financially sustain the expenses of raising a child. I practically did it all.

No, I wasn’t perfect. I made mistakes. I confess I had laid a hand on him — which was wrong: my only real transgression as a mother. I had thought it was okay because my parents especially my own mother, who was bipolar and mentally unstable, had done the same to me. I did feel guilty every time. And I begged for my child’s forgiveness throughout the years.

On the whole, I know I’ve been a good mother. People around us believe so. I showered him with love and might have spoiled him enough he turned into a brat. I also have to take into account the blood of my ex-husband that runs strong in my son’s veins. How else could I have been so clueless I was raising a monster.

He was sore I spent money for myself when I traveled to Europe. My own money. Money he thinks shouldn’t have been spent and should have been simply kept in the bank… until when? Until the day I die? I begged for him to come with me which I’d be willing to pay for, because I wanted him to be with me in the fulfillment of a long-time dream.  He refused.

In the almost three years he stayed away from me, I repeatedly got in touch with him, even went to his office four or five times, trying to make peace with him, offering my help if ever he needed it. He ignored me, dismissed me, and showed disrespect a number of times. Not different from the very midnight he left home, packing hurriedly and slamming the door so hard it woke me and several of our neighbors. No explanation, no goodbye.

I wrote him a letter late last year before I went to Norway. I handed it to him and told him if something happens to me, whatever is left will be his. I told him I love him and have done my very best for him. But he was rude and so full of himself as usual which made me cry.

Anyway, he and I know everything in that letter I wrote was true.

And still I ruminate as well on what an asshole and a monster he really is deep inside.

I love my child – in spite of…

.The last thing I need is to fall into any form of depression. That’s why I’m doing my best to take care of my health by getting enough sleep, eating right, taking supplements with ginseng (which has been effective for me in combating the blues), exercising, and avoiding stress. And this I got to do: writing down here why I am not feeling much up to do anything lately.

Two weeks ago, a good news worth rejoicing at made me do something I haven’t done since November of 2014: I went to my son’s office. I was feeling grateful about life and suddenly felt an urge to see a most significant person (who’s still on earth) in my existence – my son. My feet led me to his place of work but upon arriving, the receptionist in the engineering firm informed me my son was absent that day. I knew instantly the reason why. The boy had been with me almost 24/7 for twenty one years. His health has always been delicate. For mysterious reasons, we couldn’t pinpoint exactly why he easily catches the flu. I went home feeling heartbroken that Friday knowing my baby was sick.

I was blindsided by my son’s departure from home two years ago. Although he had mentioned of moving out, it didn’t occur to me he’d indeed have the heart to leave me. I overlooked the notion he could have been truly excited venturing out on his own after placing second in the national Engineering exam and had success finding a job soon thereafter. He immediately wished of becoming totally independent. That he left in a disrespectful manner, perhaps to make things easier for both of us to let go, made me resent him deep inside. I tried to act civil and be grown up on the outside about it although I was secretly quite hurt. When he hardly made an effort to keep in touch after moving out, I gave up and granted him his complete freedom. We didn’t have communication for more than a year.

Thursday, June 16 2016: It took me almost a week to go back to his office because I suffered from stomach upset and partly from acidity due to a moist tiny piece of cake inside a plastic that I bought and snacked on during the weekend. My son was already back to work – yet he looked frail and thin. It was difficult for me to see him looking that way. Whatever resentment I had felt before started to melt. We proceeded to a restaurant and talked. I explained my side and how I felt during the several months we had zero contact. We apologized to each other. Still, he wouldn’t open up to me as to what’s been transpiring in his life. He seems to continue enjoying his independence and wouldn’t allow me any access as to what’s going on — even if he’s spreading himself thin and his very busy schedule is eating him alive.

Don’t get me wrong: I’m positive my child isn’t doing anything bad. He’s always been a good boy who has lived clean. He also just received an award for being most behaved in the office. He’s just too preoccupied with his many activities and memberships and friendships and living on his own. He even has a You Tube site where he showcases his piano talent plus expertise and he keeps a blog in which he writes about engineering stuff. Yet he doesn’t intend to share anything with me as to his current happenings and condition, maybe out of fear it’ll break his stride, or to prevent the possibility I might influence him in any way.

The thing is, I’m worried about the boy and his health even though there’s no doubt he’s freezing me out. The realization there’s nothing else I can do gained more clarity. It’s heartbreaking.

Seeing him has brought back the painful sting of the wounds I’ve tried to bury for months and once again I am reminded of how I could have really failed as a parent. Before we parted ways as he walked back to his building, I embraced my son tight twice dearly, and told him I’ve always loved him and always will.

I Will Grow Without You (On Being A Parent 2)

Nobody reads my blog and it’s facilitating my writing need to expose what’s truly in my heart and mind. I want to be able to document my history, my present circumstances, my feelings, my thoughts. I’ve no time anymore to worry about any co-blogger’s judgment as to what I write here; it’s been more ideal.

Barely five years ago, a talented female blogger I looked up to narrated the heartbreak she was experiencing when her son kept his silence and put a cold distance between them. Her narrative, as a consequence, inspired a post from me over my gratefulness for still having my son at the time while basking in my confidence on our strong bond. She somehow found out about my post – and though she was kind all along, she said something like “I had thought it wouldn’t happen to me, but it did.” Deep inside, my response was “Heaven knows how hard I’ve tried to do things right. I wasn’t perfect but I tried hard indeed. What happened to her won’t happen to me — not with the love my son and I have for each other.”

Well, fast forward a few years to reach to this day – that female blogger had been accurate in her prognosis. I was such a fool. I’m still trying to muster the courage to write to her and tell her how much of a laughing stock I must have turned out to be.

There’s nothing more humiliating than people thinking you’ve failed as a parent.

How can you even function when the person you’ve devoted half of your life to has done the unthinkable?” My sister perplexedly asked during a conversation on the phone one day.

Unthinkable…. yes.

My answer: “You should understand –- I’ve done my best for the boy. Haven’t I sacrificed enough? He might not see it that way and I doubt he ever will. My conscience is clear, nonetheless. Never was I remiss in doing my job as both his Dad and Mom in the twenty two years we were together. He left on his own. There’s nothing he could need from me now; That I’ve got to accept.”

Don’t get me wrong: It was a shock to me initially. Tears have been shed, but I’ll be honest in saying it hasn’t matched the tears I’ve shed for losing my father. Why? I had neglected my father for many reasons; one of them was attributable to my struggles as a single parent. As a mother, my best, if not all, had been given. Yet my father — whom I owe my life to — was in my life longer. But there was nothing I had given him; nothing I had done for my dearest one.

And what right do I have to chastise my son when I have not exactly been a model daughter to my parents either?

I treated my child so much better than my parents treated me. Having no other children could have been a factor. Still, I didn’t completely turn my back on my father. My devotion to him lingered through all those years. As to my mother, I still manage to talk to her every now and then.

I asked my son repeatedly what went wrong, he wouldn’t say. Was it because I went ahead and spent for the vacation trip (out of my own pocket) that he refused to join following his successful Engineering exam last year?

I asked for his forgiveness repeatedly as well for whatever I might have done that he couldn’t make allowances for. It didn’t save our relationship. He simply wanted to live his new life – without me.

So, you see, my conscience is clear.

That it has happened at a time when I still have my health and the grace of, hopefully, several years left to get on with whatever good that has remained is a blessing. The uncertainty of what lies ahead ought not to plague one’s mind. The future will somehow take care of itself.

*

I will grow…even without you.” Those were Rosie O’ Donnell’s words after her recent controversial falling out with her daughter.

How quick it is for people to cast verdict against Rosie O’ Donnell. As the parent, she gets the flak for everything that has taken place. Even though we aren’t so sure of the true score.

She is reportedly broken in heart and spirit these days. May Rosie carry on through this tough period in her life.

On Being A Parent

My son and I – together we stood like a castle of tender hearts under soft sun rays. We flew with gossamer wings through simple ways. There’s much you can rhapsodize during the course of bringing up your child. Who would have thought of that when as a young girl becoming a mother didn’t even factor as a gem in my destiny. But turn of events engendered motherhood to dominate my landscape, setting my life off to eddy around raising my only child — who has become the brightest star in my adult life.

He has blossomed into a wonderful person. Yes he has. And I want to believe I had something to do with that — for having raised him singlehandedly. Still, no relationship is immutable. Fate doesn’t always sync with our hopes. Perhaps because there is no essence that doesn’t fade with time. Or could I simply have been so wrongheaded into thinking my framework for responsible parenting would ensure me of a permanent place in his future?

Exquisite joys and exquisite sorrows stroll hand in hand. Staggering mistakes could have been made. Pardon had thus been sought. I wish I had been more faultless; I wish I had done my job with lesser flaws.

The question remains: Have I really been a good parent to my son?

With confident stance, the answer is yes. I wouldn’t be able to say this if it weren’t so. I might have bungled on certain areas in my life but motherhood will go down in my history as something I can look back with reverence.

No matter what, he’s my child. Wherever his dreams take him, my heart will follow. Our shared moments have already been stashed lovingly behind me. Parenthood now belongs to my constellation of good memories.

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I was in gradeschool when I first listened to Kasey Kasem’s log of this song’s crab-like ascent into Billboard’s Top 40 – a song which reportedly stayed in the charts for a record-breaking nine months.

More than three decades later, I’m still crazy about this ballad that discloses of a man’s thoughts upon coming face to face with the woman he once loved.

I learned only this week Paul Davis already passed away in 2008. As my tribute to the songwriter who wrote the tune that continues to be my all-time favorite, I’ve included here his last live performance (in his much later years) of his finest piece. Whether performed live or on record, both the man’s amazingly smooth cool voice and the beauty of the song remain memorable to me.

The Trouble With Me, I Guess

I’ve written before of how some people were able to hammer down the walls I had built. Show me a little kindness; show me a little consideration – and you can keep my heart for as long as you want.

So instances of broken trusts, or cruel words, or repeated disregard for my feelings can grow thorns onto a rose — for my mind has come to hold you in reverence. I’m aware as well it’s just a matter of time before the coldest fog between us sets in. The glass walls, which this time are unbreakable, eventually slide up around me and there will be no words left, other than a look that says you can’t hurt me now.

Yes, I have been called cold-hearted more than once.

Loyalty and dedication are virtues that don’t serve merely as superficial words for me. I flinch thinking of the moments I had used the word “friend” to regard a few people I held dear in my past. It could take some time to disentangle myself due to the degree of my attachment, I confess. The connection might renew at a distant future – although things cannot be the same as they were before.

Accuse me of being sentimental, of being a fool, of being someone with a flair for drama, whatever. Just don’t make me surrender to something that cannot be part of my nature. We are from different worlds, it seems.

And do not speak of a faithfulness that you’ve professed to have been carrying – unless you can surpass mine.

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Been hanging around You Tube this weekend listening to my favorite songs from way back. Was I glad to have found this gospel-like rendition of George Benson’s “Unchained Melody.” I fell for it the first time I heard it in my late teens. I can’t believe it took me this long – almost 25 years – to search for the song and listen to it again. It remains as the best version ever.

I plan to include in every post my favorite songs from now on since they play a major role in my happiness.

I’m Still At A Good Place In My Life

My son has been gone for two weeks now to assert his complete independence – away from me – for the first time in his life. Fresh from his success last April, he must have felt he’s ready for the world. He’s 22, so yes, the world indeed owes him something good. No way should I stand in the way of his plans. You might wonder how I’ve been carrying on. Some tears have been shed…but not much. I knew, then, this time would come. The auguries had been showing since late last year. Things you wish would never happen always take you by surprise. In barely two years I have lost the two most important people in my life. But there’s barely space for one more grief.

It’s a good thing I feel comfortable with silence and solitude. It’s actually become a paradox. I also feel like this could be the best time of my life.

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For some time, this blog has been hidden. Giving it a break. It has taken on too much — along with my mediocrity as a blogger, and a myriad of my other pains.

I still hold my job, which a few weeks ago was in danger of permanently slipping away from me. My bosses, to my relief, chose to hang on in spite of the financial challenges. A succor to my recent bruise.

So I’m good. I still feel grateful for whatever that’s left — along with the lack of external drama around me. No family members, relatives to hector me; only a few insignificant people in my “real” world to deal with. No one to cause me a morass of emotions.

I’m glad. It still is a simple life.

I really believe I’m alright.

(Taken from my journal on September 27, 2014)

This is how I want to feel all the time. Do I envy her.
This is how I want to feel all the time. Do I envy her.

One Proud Mom, Although…

It’s of utmost pleasure on my part to reveal here my son placed 2nd overall in the recent Board Exam for Electronics and Communications Engineers. People around have congratulated me. They said I must have done something right as his only parent. That made me smile.

His success in the national exam was actually the outcome of several months of his commitment to diligent studying. In addition, he has always felt passionate about his field. His father was into the technical profession, too, by the way. Like father, like son.

Before starting his college studies I had expressed my wish that he took up Music instead. My son is also a talented pianist and guitarist. I made sure he had the proper lessons with those two musical instruments in his childhood and teenage years. Isn’t it that Science and Maths are the tools for living, but Music and the rest of the Arts are the reasons for living? He was adamant, though, in his selection in preparing himself to become a full-fledged engineer someday. I backed down.

Six years later, here we are. I am beaming with pride. I’m happy with the results, too, of course. My son seems to have made the correct choice.

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from left: me, my son, my sis, my nephew

But I am here not just to tell you how proud I am of my son. It isn’t my style sugarcoating my reality. A spirit in pain is also hiding behind my smiles in our photos. For he and I are currently undergoing a difficult period in our lives. I am hoping it’s gonna be an evanescent phase for both of us.

There’s a downside to having a child who’s endowed with way academic strength than his or her progenitor. Suddenly, nothing I say seems to matter anymore. Suddenly,
there’s nothing left for me to do but take a backseat. It’s as if any contribution or
suggestion from my side is necessary no more. Oh yes – I must keep on reminding myself – he already turned 22 this April.

Yet I ruminate on the following parental guidelines that have echoed in my mind for so Image (2)long: Do your best for your child. Show him unconditional love. Make sure that he knows how much he matters to you, etc. I did my damnedest to follow them all. Now I realized all those loads of advice…are actually crap. Nothing in life is guaranteed. No relationship maxim, even between mother and child, from any sphere on this planet is a sure thing.

You might think I must have done something not right that brought about this predicament. Alright, I do own up to not being the perfect parent and to having committed some mistakes along the way. But God knows how hard I tried. How hard I really tried. And only God knows how much I love my only child; The love which made me swear to all the angels in heaven two decades ago I’d be a much better parent to my son in raising him than my own parents combined in rearing me. I subsequently thought I was succeeding through all the years that my son was growing up. He appeared to be turning out finer and finer each passing day – which made me cling to the credence that the bond cementing us together would be stronger than steel.

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Nowadays, however, I keep on questioning my prior performance as a mother and asking myself what went wrong.

Or perhaps, I deserve this because I hadn’t exactly been an ideal daughter to my parents either. On the whole – and I say this in supreme truthfulness – my son is a thousand times better individual and human being compared to me.

Still, how poignant it is to discern I have failed in everything. Motherhood, I had promised myself, would be my redemption. The one thing, I thought, I might do well in life. How could I have been so mistaken.

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After the oathtaking ceremony, my family members and I went to a restaurant for a quiet celebration. During dinner, while my son was occupied shooting the breeze with his cousins, my mother and siblings took time to ponder and talk about our situation.

“It’s hard having an only child, I guess.” I conveyed with somberness to them.

My sister responded, “No. You just had it hard being the only parent.”

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Inside a coffee shop during the celebration with my mother, my brother, my sister, my nephews, and my son.