My New Family
I have 2 boys, aged 5 and 3. Let me make that ‘3 and a half’ because if he happens to read this (and I know he wouldn’t because he can’t read yet), he would correct me on the spot although that won’t be exactly true anymore. As of this writing, he is already 3 years and 10 months old. When I told him he was ‘3 and a half’, he didn’t really understand what the ‘and a half’ was for. That’s my youngest, Thomas Elijah. And he gets mad when people call him ‘Tom’ or ‘Elijah’.
Okay, so much about Thomas. I have another son and his name is Timothy Isaac. If you call him ‘Moting’, ‘Timoting’, ‘Timmy’ or ‘Isaac’, he doesn’t really care. To him, it’s just a name. His past time is to ruin Thomas’ day although I know he really doesn’t intend to. Sometimes, Thomas just happens to wake up on the wrong side of the bed, and anyone can easily get into his skin – Raymond (his dad), Tim or me. Timothy, being the stronger, faster and more independent of the two, would often turn some random routine into a race when he wants to irk his brother – such as eating their ‘proper’ food, tidying up their toys, putting their clothes on, or just about anything that they can compete on. Timothy knows that Thomas, although the talkative and charming one often getting Mommy’s attention, is also the ‘slower’ one of them both.
Kids are never taught sibling rivalry. I guess, it’s just kids’ instinct in order to survive and retain their power in a family. On the contrary, I always tell them to love each other because they are brothers.
Technically, they will only have each other growing up till they have families of their own because our babymaking stage as a couple has been ended by God in 2017. When I gave birth to Thomas in July that year, God took my womb out to save me from a postpartum hemorrhage or PPH, which simply means a heavy bleeding after giving birth. As I recall from the surgeon’s words, ‘if we did not take your womb away, you would not be here right now.’ Life-threatening, yes. ‘One foot in the grave, one foot out.’ This phrase to describe pregnant women giving birth couldn’t be any truer. So, Timothy and Thomas are the kids that God has given us to grow with us in this wee family of ours.
My Old Family
I have a father, a mother, 2 younger sisters and a brother. Don’t get me started on describing them one by one. It will be chaotic. Just as my 2 sons are the exact opposite although we made them the same way (hahaha), my family is a melting pot of personalities.
My father is the responsible and strict one, his voice gets me trembling. My mother is the funny yet spiritual one, her words of wisdom never runs out to this day. My 2 sisters are the best sisters I could ever ask for. I just said that because I want them to say the same thing to me, too. And my brother is the proudest yet humblest of us all. Proud and humble at the same time, how can that co-exist? Well, wait till you meet my brother. And yes, they will all be reading this so I am prepared for the castigation that may come my way.
As a family, we have all been through one hell of a journey, like all families have. As cliché as it may sound, we are not perfect, but I have always been contented and happy with the family that God has given me. It never occurred to me to wish that my family was any different from what I have now.
This brings the conclusion to me. I, as a daughter, have always been proud to belong to a family. I believe it is the only place in the world where you can let your truest self without being judged, where you are loved beyond any limits, and where you experience the authenticity of human emotions like anger, happiness, sadness, and fear, among others.
You might be wondering why. Why am I proud to belong to a family that is not rich, not famous, not even influential? I guess, it is because that is how children are geared to be. They are born into this world to adore their parents.
I just realized that now that I am a mother myself. I was looking at Thomas and Timothy while they were sleeping and I couldn’t count how many times I had shouted and scolded them for disobeying me. However, what I realized is that they never stop adoring me. I would engage them into a conversation and they would respond with such gentleness and such innocence. Every night, they would want nothing but to sleep with us, their parents. Every second of the day, they would wish nothing but to play with us, their parents. They obviously can’t see our flaws. Mothers are taught by a lot of psychologists on how to raise their babies. But my kids, your kids, they teach us how to love. Didn’t the Bible say in Matthew 18:21, 22, “Then Peter came up and said to him, ‘Lord, how often shall my brother sin against me, and I forgive him? As many as seven times?’ Jesus said to him, ‘I do not say to you seven times, but seventy times seven.’” Forgiveness is one of the hardest things an adult can ever give but to the eyes of a child, it just comes naturally. Perhaps, we can really learn a thing or two from the children.
This Mother’s Day, I don’t like honour nor gifts. Quite the opposite, I’d like to celebrate Mother’s Day giving honour and gifts to the special people who made me a mother – my kids Timothy, Thomas and my husband Raymond.
I am the mother who doesn’t enjoy being a mother all the time. During the preliminary years of being a mother, there were times I had wished I didn’t have kids at all. I had committed wrong parenting styles, too, which were not according to what psychologists would call ideal. Unconsciously, I believe I still do. I had imposed so many unnecessary guilt upon myself, especially during the lockdown period in the time of COVID-19, when I had to work at home with the kids frantically demanding from us. There’s the guilt of living in New Zealand, carrying the burdens of housework and work duties all by ourselves, hence, depriving our kids the time and attention that they need. There’s the guilt of taking time for myself when I should be playing with them. My body may not be physically tired but my mind was exhausted from the mental stress of balancing work and personal lives. Don’t even mention my personal dramas and all. I realized after being a mom for a few years that the only thing glamorous about being a mother was doing the maternity shoot. After that, everything that followed required one’s whole soul and heart. There is nothing glamorous about eating in a fine restaurant with toddlers who never wanted to eat. There is nothing glamorous about traveling to a tourist spot with a toddler who decided he wanted to just wail for only God knows why. There is nothing glamorous about changing and washing poop-soiled undies for toddlers who didn’t tell you ahead that they wanted to go poop. I am sure you all have your own fair share of these not-so-glamorous memories.
But one thing that motherhood has been for me – spiritual. It is a spiritual experience because it has made me question my real character when I am dealing with tiny creatures who have lesser knowledge and experience than me. Before being a mother, I would always define myself as patient. Then, I realized I was only patient with people because I know they would retaliate if I wasn’t. But with kids who are powerless, I could easily impose my dominance. It is truly a gift to be able to constantly restore my relationship with them. I always get this fresh start everyday to spend quality time with them if I missed out on it the previous day. Their mercies, just like God’s, are new every morning.
It is a spiritual experience because the Bible says in Deuteronomy 6:5-9, “Love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your strength. Take to heart these words that I give you today. Repeat them to your children. Talk about them when you’re at home or away, when you lie down or get up. Write them down, and tie them around your wrist, and wear them as headbands as a reminder. Write them on the doorframes of your houses and on your gates.” I didn’t do so many good and right things to my kids as a mother, but if there is one thing I want to do right, it is that I want them to know the Lord Jesus as their Savior. I want them to grow up knowing and loving Christ, witnessing to people of how great Jesus is.
My only saving grace in this life is Jesus. If not for Him, there is nothing I will ever be proud of. I will forever be thankful to Him for giving me these 2 kids as gifts. Indeed, they are my greatest blessings from the Lord.
Happy Mother’s Day to everyone, not only to the Mothers who physically gave birth but to anyone who experiences unconditional love from people around them. Because to me, the real gift of motherhood, is the gift of unconditional love that our children give us. I think that the reason children are called precious gifts is because they can give love without expecting anything in return. So let us celebrate our children more than we celebrate ourselves this Mother’s Day.
Mitchita is the eldest of 4 siblings to a Half-Chinese Father and a Waray Mother. She grew up in Valenzuela City, Philippines. She describes her childhood as fun and she always looks to her childhood memories to remind her of the bright side of life. If there is one thing she is really proud of, it would be her faith in God.
In May 2010, she met her husband and they married in 2012. Then, they permanently moved to New Zealand in 2014 to start out a family. On September 9, 2015, she gave birth to Timothy, their firstborn that ended up in a Postpartum Hemorrhage (PPH) causing her to lose 2.5L of blood due to Uterine Atony that got resolved with Uterine Artery Embolization. On July 9, 2017, she gave birth to Thomas, which again ended up in a PPH leading to a blood loss of 3.5L due to the same reason. This time, however, it ended up in an emergency total hysterectomy. She wanted to have another baby through surrogacy but she is waiting on God’s answers and promises to them.
They are happily living in Auckland, New Zealand.