Category Archives: Love

Fresh air.

I was born in the beginning of October, which means that I’m a Libra. Libras fall under the heading of “air sign.”

I don’t know much. But I know that.

*****

It’s 4:30 in the afternoon, and I’m lying in bed, fighting my carpal tunnel and/or arthritis in order to type. It hurts to grip a pencil and to open a bottle of medicine and to reach for my kids. But that’s what I’ve been dealing with the past few weeks.

The nannies have been on vacation because I expected to be in NYC by now and I didn’t want to rearrange their plans just because we’re not abroad. My brother’s been a big help just by looking after the boys for 30 minutes each day so that I can shower—but that’s all the help I’m getting. It’s just me, a 34-month old, and a 10-month old. I clean the five-bedroom house we live in, cook three square meals a day, and take care of the kids. It’s not easy, but it’s gratifying. I’m beyond proud to be able to say that I’ve gotten control of this domestic life within a couple of weeks.

School-wise, I’m at a stand-still. I decided months back that I would take a year off. I was supposed to take the kids back to NYC asap because Rob’s mom has stage four cancer and would like to see her grandsons before she dies. Only thing is, we’ve hit a lot of snags. Problems with paperwork and red tape. Drama that would make your head spin if I got into it.

I don’t know what the future has in store, if we’ll end up going or not. Right now though, my plans don’t include going home any time soon. I want to get my dual citizenship taken care of asap so that I can work at a call center and save money. Due to my grandma’s death, Rob’s car accident, Riley’s hospitalization, and other factors, finances are beyond tight right now; I’ve decided that I’m going to pay for my tuition from here on out.

Not Rob. Not my parents. Not Rob’s parents. Me. No loans or borrowing or credit cards. I’m going to pay for the rest of my nursing school education out of pocket. I’m going to pay for my own tuition, and all of the expenses that go with it.

Also: I’m going to pay for Riley to go to daycare, and for clothes for the kids, and for a life that’s closer to the one that I want. I’m frustrated at my circumstances and need to feel in control of something.

I need to feel like I’m getting a kick-ass nursing education, and that I’m good at what I do. I need to feel like I’m an amazing mother, and honestly, only now, after being a stay-at-home-mom do I feel that I can claim that title. I need to feel that I’m in a relationship that works. I need to regain faith in myself and the future; I keep on fumbling the former and I’m afraid I’ve permanently lost the latter.

I’m angry at Rob for being so goddamn hard to communicate with.

I’m anxious about my health because I haven’t fixed any of my problems, haven’t gotten my skin biopsy or cervical biopsy, and haven’t taken thyroid meds or consulted specialists or gotten answers.

I’m sad because of all the death that’s been surrounding me, and because of my parents’ shortcomings and how they affect me and my own family.

I’m tired of making lemons into lemonade. I think I’m just going to suck on some lemons and see where it takes me. I can’t deal with pretending to be happy all the time just for the sake of other peoples’ comfort.

I am learning to be brief and concise. I am learning to be ambiguous, and to not share as much of my life as I would have done before. I am learning to keep to myself, to let the internal workings do their thing, and to trust whatever is in me.

Point blank: I’m not in an easy place. It’s not a bad place, per se. It’s just terribly difficult. My plate is full of worry and anxiety and frustration. I want to get to the next stage, to a place where I already have my BSN and at least one finished manuscript that I’m damn proud of. I want to kill my board exam and pass the NCLEX with flying colors. I want to add on to my family and move back to NYC and feel… different. I want life to be easier and fun and happy.

Because this? This lack of money, lack of power, lack of control? This overthinking that I do? These expectations for myself and for others that I have? They’re too much. It’s all just too much for me right now. And the more I try to fix things and realize that I just muck up the gears, the more frustrated and angry I get.

I need a break from everything that is unnecessary. I need to strip away the stuff I don’t need and get to the bare essentials.

I’m working Maslow’s hierarchy, one level at a time.

I’m climbing it, trying to get to self-actualization.

And taking as many deep breaths as I can on the way up.

Some lessons learned.

Today I tried to finish everything on my plate and ended up breaking ground on every morsel – but without finishing anything. Now, it’s a quarter to midnight on a Sunday night, and that means I’m going to get four hours of sleep (or less).

Strangely, I feel good about this.

I’ve already done the hard parts: buying all of the necessary components, setting them up, and even starting off each project. It’s the completion that’s easy. I’m a hop, skip, and jump away from several finish lines and feeling like I’m making good headway. I’ve only got three days of classes to contend with, then a killer dry-run to do to the hospital on Thursday. (I’ve decided to change the venue of my labor and delivery.) I can rest on Friday.

Some bulletpoints, if you will:

  1. I had an argument with my ob-gyn yesterday that’s left me resigned to having my next biological child born in the States (even though I’d had my heart set on getting pregnant again in time for a May 2013 due date). Lesson learned: Always read ahead. You’re less likely to bindly follow suit if you’ve got some edu-ma-cation up in yo’ head.
  2. My nesting instinct has kicked in like crazy, and all I want to do is organize and clean everything in sight. I ended up emptying all of the drawers in the master bedroom and organizing the hell out of them. Even though there’s still a lot of residual clutter from the material upheaval of knick-knacks and whats-its galore, there is a calm in my soul from having fixed something tangible. Lesson learned: Tidiness is next to sanity.
  3. The two maids need some real breaking-in and teaching – especially since they’ve had a role reversal. (Tess will be Micah’s nanny and Jana will be the housemaid, instead of vice verse.) I’m a little worried about this arrangement for several reasons, but living here has taught me to work with what I’ve got. Lesson learned: Do the best  you can with the hand you’ve been dealt.
  4. Probably the main reason why I’m okay with not completing anything? Because I spent that time taking care of me and my family. I allowed myself an afternoon nap. I played with Riley on and off the whole freakin’ day. I touched base with Rob really often. All this, in spite of the fact that I could’ve been a speed demon, ripping through my to-do list without nary a twitch. Lesson learned: Do whatchu gotta do, but never forget why you’re doing them, playa. Family comes first.
  5. Speaking of Rob, he landed a job! It’s not exactly an ideal job, and we’re hoping he can land another one asap, but it’s something, and that’s all I need to know. He’s also looking into online degree programs and seeing a shrink to enhance himself. I’m sooooo unbelievably proud of him, and I can’t wait for him to unfold his wings and be the gorgeous, soaring butterfly I’ve always seen him as. Lesson learned: Commitment is a bitch, but it’s worth it if you’ve put your chips in the right corner. Stick to yo’ guns.
  6. Also: Thanks to my homie, Jess, I ended up writing a pitch to a New York magazine. I’m not exactly holding my breath that I’ll land the article, but the idea behind my pitch has given me a much-needed breath of fresh air; I’m working on it even if it doesn’t get picked up. After the article is finished, I’m gonna shop it around and hope that it gains some readership. Lesson learned: Be true to yourself, and you’ll get the help you need to shine. You’ve just gotta have faith.
  7. School isn’t gonna be done with any time soon. I have SIX quizzes tomorrow, which means that if I was’t pregnant, I’d be studying like a madwoman right now, cramming as much in my head as possible and hoping that it all stays put. Instead, I’ve read the notes and done some highlighting; when I wake up, I’ll make study sheets and the prerequisite acronyms and mnemonic devices. Then I’ll relax, show up on time, and do my best. Lesson learned: Stressing out doesn’t make you more likely to succeed. Trust yourself.

I’m sure I’ve got more to say, but I’m exhausted. The doc says Micah could be making his appearance any day now, and she’s given me some herbal supplements to ensure that’s the case. I’m hoping for the best, stretching and walking as much as I can, and being as anxious and excited as possible to be a mom of two!

From the outside.

So, last night happened. And in the wake of the fight I had with Rob, I blogged. I blogged to vent and to gain perspective and to answer questions I didn’t realize needed to be asked. I blogged to be courageous and communicative and to express ideas that needed to be expressed. And then I sent that post to a bunch of my closest friends and waited until replies came in. And when I read those replies, I realized why I wrote that post in the first place.

I’m as far-removed from my old reality as I ever could be, and in the year and a half that I’ve been living in the Philippines, all of my closest friends are busy changing. We touch minds every so often, but until I read replies from my message, I hadn’t realized just how much I’d changed. I’ve changed more than I’d like to admit, and with that realization came a lot of hard truths, like: Writing that post was one thing, but sending it out to everyone was another. I shouldn’t have done it – not to all those people, at least.

All relationships have their ups and downs – on a pragmatic level, we all know that. Once someone starts giving voice to the downs, though, people tend to focus on them and forget all about the ups. It makes sense, since in giving voice to my relationship fears and doubts, I’m in essence shining a spotlight on an area that many of us find fascinating and downright gossip-worthy; we’re all opinionated when it comes to love, and finding out about other peoples’ love lives gives us license to pass judgment and let our own experiences color their lives.

There’s nothing wrong with sharing the details of our days; sometimes, it’s the only thing that tethers us to sanity. A talk with a good friend, an email, a text – communication keeps things in context and helps us grow. But when you’re in a relationship and making a life with someone, all of a sudden the rules are different. Because sharing the details of your life ends up being sharing the life that the two of you have created, and you realize that some things are too sacred to share.

There were several things I noticed after letting my previous post sink in:

  1. Some of my closest friends just don’t get me anymore.
  2. The shit that used to fly in NY no longer applies.
  3. I will probably never feel really safe with Rob, and that might be okay.

*****

When someone tells you something you don’t want to hear, it’s easy to put on blinders and stick your fingers in your ears. When I read the comments that people made to the effect of “It doesn’t sound like it’s working out between the two of you. Just call it quits already”, I had to stop myself from reacting; I didn’t want to put up the blinders.

I took a step back, took a deep breath, and looked at things objectively. Then I realized that they didn’t have the whole picture; they didn’t even have all of the important parts of the picture. All they knew of my new reality was the little that I’d written in the post, and it dawned on me just how little we know about each others’ lives. That’s when the most painful truth hit me: In the past 19 months, I’ve unintentionally pared down my circle of besties.

It was inevitable, I guess, but still painful to admit. There was a time when these people knew my life backwards and forwards. There was a time when they really got me. Now, everything needs a three-hour back-up story. And even though I’m more than willing to sit down and write them a long-ass email, it still sucks that we’re not already on the same page. I miss what we used to have, and I hate to think that we’re losing track of each other.

But stewing in that post made me realize something else that’s very important: All of the question marks that used to float around me have been replaced with other question marks. I guess this means that I’ve unknowingly figured out who I am and what I want in life. I’ve spent the last 26 years learning all of that, and now that my quest for answers is over, all that’s left is the actual doing.

These days are not at all like the ones I had back in NY, and I have to start living that truth. I have to stop living in the past. I have to recognize what I have now and be grateful for all of it.

All this time, I’ve been foraging and gathering and hunting for parts of my life. I’ve been wracking my brain, experiencing a slew of different lives, going through all of that so that I can decide which belong to me. Now that I’ve made my decision, I feel like a kid opening the birthday presents I’ve been begging for. I know what I’ve got, but I don’t know what I can really do with all of it.

That analogy definitely applies to Rob. I feel like, I’ve been fighting for him, for us, and for our family for a really long time. Now that I really feel like it’s all mine, I’m just now getting used to what that means.

Maybe I don’t feel protected when I’m with Rob, but maybe I don’t need to feel protected by him. Maybe the whole point of being so careful about defining my life and picking out its parts was so that I had the confidence to pick a partner who gets me more than I get myself, and maybe my partner is right. Maybe I don’t let anyone take care of me – not in the conventional ways, at least. Maybe I let my partner take care of me in the ways that I need to be taken care of, and that’s okay even if those aren’t the ways I want to be taken care of.

All I know is, this exchange of feelings – the blogging, the messaging to friends, the talking to Rob – is what I needed to feel secure in what I’ve got. Strangely, it took focusing on the downs to get back on an upswing.

Safety.

When I was pregnant with Riley, we had a baby shower. At that baby shower, one of my best friends said to Rob, “Okay, so you and Maria are having a baby. You really have to take care of her now.”

Rob’s response?

“No, I won’t take care of her. She won’t let me.”

My back had been turned and I’d unintentionally eavesdropped on the conversation, but the moment I heard his answer, my blood ran cold. I didn’t know what it was that made me so upset; I just knew that that little exchange had unearthed something very profound.

Fast-forward a year later. Rob was living in the Philippines with me and Riley. I brought up that conversation, and I told Rob how upset it had made me. Still, I had no idea why it made me upset. I had a vague notion that Rob’s answer wasn’t the right one, but I wasn’t certain why it wasn’t the right answer. Would I have wanted him to nod solemnly and pledge his life to taking care of me? No, not in the slightest. So what was it?

“Love,” Rob said to me. “The only reason I said that is because you’re independent. You take care of yourself. I know you don’t really need me, and that’s what I love about you.”

It sounded aiight. I mean, the words coming out of his mouth weren’t necessarily offensive.  But still, there was something amiss.

Rob and I did the cohabitation/co-parenting thing for almost a year, and things were going well. Then, right before he left to go back to New York, his mom came to visit. I get along great with his mom, so I loved having her around. She even gave Rob a credit card to use so that we could really enjoy our last days together.

Turns out, though, that his brother maxed out the credit card in order to pay for his estranged wife’s bills, so we couldn’t use it.

Then, Rob’s mom offered to give us a car. The idea was, we’d have something to drive around if we went back to New York (at that time, we didn’t know if we’d move back). The idea was also, Just in case Rob can’t find a job, we have something to use as collateral for a loan, et al.

But guess what? His brother gave his own car away to his estranged wife and took for himself the car that was supposed to be for us.

Then, when it was clear that me and the kids were going to stay in the Philippines and Rob was going to work in the States, Rob’s uncle secured for him a job.

And guess who took it?

Now, here’s the thing: At the time, it didn’t really bother me. I mean, it did, but Rob’s mom’s side is very c’est la vie about this kind of thing. They’re a tight-knit clan and won’t let material things get in the way of loving each other. For the most part, I respect that and think it’s pretty cool. But today? Today I was typing with Rob (my laptop’s ancient and doesn’t have a mic or camera), and maybe it’s because I was already in a pretty shitty mood, or because Rob’s not good with English and doesn’t know how to emote via text/writing, or because the deadline for Rob’s landing a job is only two weeks away and he hasn’t gotten any calls back. All I know is, when Rob mentioned how his brother keeps on dicking us over, I got really, really upset.

Make no mistake: We don’t have much. I make a teensy bit of money every month, and now that the regular school semester’s at an end in the States and I’m too stressed with pregnancy, et al., to launch a huge business plan for the editing business, we’re depending mostly on Rob’s parents to squeak on by. I’m feeling threatened and really wishing we had a credit card, or a car to use as collateral, or a good and steady job for Rob. But we don’t have any of those things because his brother took them all. I know that if push really came to shove, I’d do the damn thing myself: Work my ass off, make that money, pay the bills, et al. – ALL. BY. MY. DAMN. SELF.

I know I could do it, but if I did do it, why the fuck am I with Rob? What the fuck would I need him for, besides sperm donation? (Assuming of course that I want all of my biological kids to have the same dad.) Why am I with someone who doesn’t have the ability to meet my needs?

In my upset state, I told Rob that I felt unsafe. I explained that I feel like we don’t have a lot, and that the least he could do was make me feel like the little we do have will remain ours. I told him I need to feel protected and taken care of. I explained that when it came to this whole thing about his brother, I expected some kind of reaction from him besides a shrug of the shoulders and complacency.

“What do you want me to do?” he asked.

“PUNISH HIM!” I yelled.

And it’s true. I want Rob to punish his brother. I want him to be mean and awful to his brother. I want him to inflict pain on his brother because I feel like his brother’s been doing that to us. It’s a primal urge, and it’s probably useless, but I don’t care. I’ve long ago packed away the need to be with the alpha male. Now, all I need is to feel like my man’s got some kind of power, authority, and control over what’s going on with us and our family. I need to feel like he’s not some doormat who will let his asshole brother take what little we have – not without a fight, at least. I need to see that he’s willing to fight for me, for us, for our family. I want to see that fight. I feel like I’ve been fighting for the longest time, and that every second of every day is a fight and he’s standing at the sidelines while I’m bleeding on the canvass.

I don’t feel safe. I don’t feel like Rob can take care of me. And I wonder if it’s always been that way. I wonder if he’s ever really taken care of me, if that’s the ugly truth that had peeked out two years ago at my baby shower. Maybe I had caught a glimpse of it and subconsciously put my hands over my eyes.

I also wonder if there’s someone else out there who could make me feel more guarded, protected, secure, and sheltered than I feel right now…

On being a pregnant nursing student with diarrhea.

The last few days have been a warm-up to the difficulties that await me. On Tuesday night, after eating brown rice and beef with onions, carrot sticks, walnuts, and lots of other healthy fare the whole day, I suddenly felt like I was going through labor. A really bad bout of diarrhea sent me to the bathroom faster than a 5-foot rat with rabies could’ve had me running. Also, I was exhausted after having a tiring day at school, and contractions wracked my body. I really thought Micah was going to be born a premie, and I kept on saying to him, “Not now. Mommy’s not ready yet. I don’t have your bassinet or your diapers or even the money for your delivery into this world. So, please? Not now. Give me at least two more months, and everything will be set. I’ll even love you more than I love your brother. Deal?”

That last part, of course, wasn’t serious.

I don’t think…

Anyway, the pain was getting unbearable, to the point where I couldn’t hold a cell phone to my ear while getting hit by contractions. (Rob and I were talking on the phone at the time.) Luckily, though, my ob-gyn had prescribed some pills to ease pre-term contractions. I took one at 2:30 a.m., and just as I was about to get some shut-eye, Riley woke up. So I woke up Joy. Then I quickly ran back to the bathroom and planted my ass there for what seemed like an eternity. By the time I was done, my butthole burned and I remembered how, after I gave birth to Riley, I’d had my first-ever case of hemmorrhoids and kept on thinking Ya know, this isn’t a walk in the park on a perfect Spring day, but it’s not like I’ve been caught butt-naked in the park and tourists are oggling me while a monsoon is tearing up the place.

Right after that thought hit me, I had an epiphany. Because hemmorhoids? They’re pretty fucking bad, and if I don’t remember that fact in all of its clarity and actually think that diarrhea-ass is more painful, then I must’ve been too high on motherhood to make an objective assessment of the situation.

And that made me think of the future. Because in about three months, I’m planning on popping out a baby as naturally as possible, bonding with him for no more than two weeks, then returning to the same old rigorous routine of school, family and running an editing business. And while I have help with Riley and the household, I still often feel drained and tired.

I had to ask myself: Can I really handle all that?

I wish I could say that a resounding HELL TO THE YES! screamed from the emptied bowels of my… umm… soul, but instead, I shrugged. Because the truth? The honest fucking truth? It’s that I don’t know if I can handle all of that. I don’t know what the future has in store, or what might come back from the past to bite my ass. I just know that I’m willing to stick it out, try my best, and make the best out of whatever comes. No matter the challenge, that’s what I’ve got, and I’m okay with the outcome, whatever it is.

Even if it burns my ass in the end.

Down from my high, then higher still.

Last time I posted, there was a definite swagger to my tone. I was feeling damn good, and not afraid of the implications of this fact. That night, though, Riley’s nanny – who’s been with us a little over a month – told me she’s leaving. That’s right, folks: In about three days from now, I’ll be nanny-less.

My summer semester starts on April 11th and runs until May 25th, and since I don’t have any friends or family available for babysitting, I.need.a.nanny. Big time.

I stressed about it for a few days and I cried a lot. I even complained and cried to our maid, Joy, but she probably understood only every other word of my rant. She’d just sat on the couch, across from me, smiling pensively. She was probably hoping that I’d end the discomfort and go upstairs to my room.

I think about Riley, and my heart hurts. Rob left a couple of weeks ago, setting our little guy’s world off-kilter, and now that Riley’s just started showering his nanny with hugs and kisses, she’s going to leave. I want to strangle her. I mean, seriously? One fucking month and you leave because you’ve decided you don’t like it here, in our house, with air conditioning and food and a loving baby to take care of? After we took her on all sorts of day trips, made sure she had everything she needed, asked her repeatedly if she was going to stay for a while (and she always answered “Yes, everything’s good here. I’m going to stay for a long time.”) – NOW. SHE’S. LEAVING?!

Like I said, I’ve been really upset about all this. Today, though, something happened. I was editing the hell out of three projects, and when I took my break, I took Riley out for a walk around the neighborhood. I watched him play with a bunch of kids. We picked flowers together from vacant lots, collected pebbles from the front of our neighbors’ gates, smiled and laughed and talked. And as all this happened, I thought about his nanny, and how she practically never speaks or smiles, and I realized: it’s okay that she leaves. So what if that puts me in a bind? So what if my plan smight be one year behind schedule? So what? The important thing is that Riley is taken care of. After that, the priority is finishing this degree in as little time as possible, sure. But always always always, my family comes first, and I will never regret putting them first. As long as they’re being taken care of, everything’s going to be okay.

I’m still standing.

Yeah, yeah, yeah.

And there are no tears in my eyes, either – even though Rob left for NYC this morning, I won’t see him for at least a year and a half, and I’ve been left to face the tumult of single-parenting in a foreign country, while working, going to school, and being pregnant.

How is this possible?

To be honest? I’m not sure. Maybe the full weight of reality hasn’t yet hit me. Or maybe I just managed to really psych myself out. Or maybe I really do need this time to do a lot of self-reflection and writing. Whatever the reason, the tears have been flowing considerably less than I thought they would be, and I barely managed to soak through one handkerchief (although I can’t help but get teary whenever Riley does something adorable that Rob would positively go ga-ga over).

I’m studying and editing and writing this weekend, and finally going to see the doc about mine and Riley’s crazy-bad cough. I only have five days of classes left, then there’s three days of exams and I get a two week vacation! Can you say “Hell to the yes”?! Admittedly, I’d love to be cuddling and such with my man, but alas, that cannot be so and I’m wise enough to accept the things I cannot change.

So.

To sum up: Rob’s not here and that SUCKS. But the show must go on and muthafucka, it will go on – brilliantly and beautifully. That’s just how I roll.

That old swagga.

I’ve been sick for a week, and generally just feeling yuck. My head hurts all the time, my new ob-gyn (LOVE her!) has told me to squeeze more light exercise into my sched, and all I keep thinking is When the hell will I be able to breathe through my nose like a normal person?

This sucks, y’all. Not only am I behind on my editing gigs, but I can’t even cook or eat with any kind of gusto. I mean, I can’t smell or taste, and ya know, that kind of puts a damper on things. Not to mention, Rob leaves in exactly a week from today and I’d like to get all romantical before he’s on the other side of the world.

*le sigh*

On an angrier tip: Did I mention that ALL.OF.MY.ACCOUNTS were hacked into once again? Even my bank account and my Paypal account, folks. I’ve decided to limit my internet use until I can buy myself a decent laptop with all the safety trimmings. Hopefully, it won’t be too long till that’s the case.

School ends in three weeks, editing is about to jump off into new heights (once this damn cold/flu thing goes away), and I’m about to get all designer/fashionista up in this joint. First stop: A new haircut.

I’ve been growing out my hair for more than a year, and it’s the longest it’s been since I was in high school. It’s past the middle of my back, folks! About four inches above my ass! And as much as I love it, I also must admit that I don’t know what the hell to do with it. I start my clinical duty in a month, and because it’s so long, I’m mandated to put it all up in a bun every shift, and ya know what? That’s just not enough sexy for me.

So. I’ve decided to perm and cut it, waaaay short. Selena Gomez-short. I was actually inspired by a family movie that Rob and Riley love; one of the characters had a similar cut, and Rob said I could rock it.

Also? Saw some cute-as-all-hell summer dresses that of course don’t come in size prego. I’m gonna buy them anyway. Maybe get some cloth and get someone to make prego variations for me? (I’d do it myself but don’t have the time.) I also MUST invest in some sexy and comfortable prego-sandals. In case you didn’t know, the wrong footwear can mess up your back somethin’awful – especially when you’re pregnant – and I just don’t feel like having to deal with pain for the sake of looking good. Not when I’m 20+ heavier and chasing a toddler in the tropical heat.

I called the embassy and confirmed that Baby #2 is definitely going to be American, so we’re not going to be visiting NYC this month. I WILL, however, find out if Baby #2 is a boy or a girl, and that’s very exciting.

And also on the expanding-the-fam tip? Someone kind of offered me a baby this week. It’s due in May and its mother is a 16-year old who really doesn’t want to be a mom quite yet (as I’m told, at least). The person who told me this heard on the grapevine that I’d like to one day adopt, and though that’s true and I would love baby/child who found its way to my doorstep as if it came from my womb, I don’t want to be the catalyst to make it happen. I put the bait out there by putting out word that I’m totally willing/able to adopt a baby, but I’d rather just help a new mother along and hope that she changes her mind about motherhood. Maybe she ends up loving this kid in all the right ways, and it’s exactly what she needs to become mature and responsible. Maybe her pregnancy saves her, makes her stronger, helps her to see love in the world, and becomes her light.

Or maybe she gives birth, neglects the kid, and I see it naked in the street, covered in dust and feces.

All I know is, it’s not up to me that she gives it away. I’m going to give her some of Riley’s old toys and clothes, and let her know that she has support, and if she decides that she’s really not yet ready to move into the M-hood, my heart is always open.

*****

I miss Beacon’s Closet. I was on their website and saw a couple of things in my size that I would love love love to own, but alas, I’m not in NYC to rock all that hotness, and it’s just not appropriate to flaunt that kind of swag around here.

In the Philippines, second-hand stores are called “ukay-ukay” and I found one right by the house that has the DOPEST clothes for, like, a dollar. Bonus? The clothes fit over my prego tummy.

I’m gearing up to start my summer semester in a month, and hoping that everything continues to go well for Baby #2. Riley and his new nanny are getting along famously, and she’s assured me that she can handle him and Baby #2 on her own, so there’s no need to look for another nanny. And Rob and I? We’re happier than ever and looking forward to everything life’s about to throw at us.

I’m feeling flyer than ever these days. Can’t wait to see what it feels like when I’m actually healthy.

Backtracking.

It’s the ides of January, and I’m nursing a cold. Riley’s just gotten over a slight fever that lasted a couple of days. Rob’s laid up in bed with a worse version of my stuffy nose and lethargy. And in the next week, everything’s going to change.

Not only will we get over this round of sickness, but Rob’s mom arrives from New York, I have midterms, and my search for a nanny goes into hyper overdrive. It’s about four weeks till Rob leaves for the States, and because there is no daycare or babysitting here, I have to find a nanny to watch my little guy while I’m at school. The position is a live-in one, which means that the nanny will be rooming with Joy in the downstairs maid’s quarters. It also means that I’m hoping we get someone whose appetite doesn’t resemble that of a dinosaur.

I’ve contacted several domestic worker agencies in the hope that they get me what I need: A mature and responsible woman in her 30s (at least) who has had extensive experience caring for babies and toddlers. She must be hard-working, fast-learning, and know English fairly well. (The latter means that if I tell her to do something, not only will she understand the words coming out of my mouth, but she’ll pick up on subtle commands as to how the task should be done.) Oh, and it would be awesome if she could cook.

These days, my schedule looks like this:

4 a.m. – Wake up. Wash dishes, cook breakfast and lunch. Get dinner ready to be cooked when I get home. Edit papers. Write. Clean up upstairs. Walk the dog. Eat breakfast. Set up lunchbox of healthy snacks/meals. Shit, shower, and shave. Brush teeth. Riley wakes up, so we brush his teeth. Feed Riley as we watch MTV, CNN and BBC. Go to school for most of the day. [Rob takes care of the rest of Riley’s routine.]

Sometime in the afternoon – Finish editing papers, cleaning, cooking. Feed Riley. Bathe Riley. Study. Do homework. Write. Wow, it’s already 8 p.m. and I’m exhausted! Somehow, though, between work, school, spending time with Rob and Riley, taking care of my brother, and handling household responsibilities, I don’t sleep until around 10 p.m. I’m just lucky it’s that early; Rob lets me sleep and he takes over whatever needs to get done. He usually doesn’t get to sleep until 3 or 4 a.m.

That’s pretty much us in a nutshell.

We have tons to get done in the next two months, including figuring out why the hell my transcript never came from my first college, figuring out if we have to get married in order for Baby #2 to be American, and quite possibly taking a trip to the States in order to tie the knot. Also, I start my clinicals, break in a new nanny, and wrap my brain around the reality of being a mom of two.

This is a lot to digest, and in the meantime, while I’m wrestling with all of these issues, I figure I’m going to backtrack a few months. Not only do I have many, many adorable pictures of Riley that have never seen the light of the internet, but there have been a few issues here and there that I’d like to touch on. Like my new-found habit of mending burnt bridges with earnest and apologetic emails, and the freedom of letting my vegetable garden dry out.

I’ve gotta keep at the grind if I don’t want to fall behind. In the meantime, though, I hope you’re all doing well.

Intimacy for germaphobes.

What is intimacy to a germaphobe?

It’s feeling your beloved’s body heat radiating from the toilet seat and not running to another bathroom. Who cares if you’re probably – no, definitely – inhaling and digesting tiny bits of fecal matter that have been thrown into the air after the toilet was flushed? It’s human waste, it’s shit, but it’s his shit. That somehow makes it okay.