Category Archives: Philippines

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.

Mediocre.

I have a lot to say but I don’t know how to frame any of it. I don’t know how to start, or what really matters, or how I want you to see me. I have a feeling that I wanted to write a poem earlier, but I can’t remember what I was thinking to make me think of writing a poem. I feel like I’ve been rebooted, like everything I knew is now gone and I’m starting from scratch and looking around and wondering how I ended up in this place of uncertainty and half-assness.

I feel apathetic. Uncaring. Indifferent. Relaxed. Complacent. I feel like politics and art and everything else that used to make my blood boil with passion has lost meaning and weight. I am here; my battles are there. I am here, in a tropical paradise where I am part of the 1%; and all of my problems, issues, and crises are there, on the other side of the globe, being handled, fought, contrived, and manipulated by people who aren’t me. I no longer have a say or a stake in that place, with those words, in that context. It no longer applies to me.

And yet. This place, with its oppression and rebellion and poverty and hope and God is not really mine, either. Whereas I am an expat of NYC, I am also a visitor of the Philippines. I have staked claim on nothing but my privilege and my status. I have defined myself as other and have taken no great pains to remove that label from my back. This place, though growing more and more into someplace I love, could never be my home. It could never be my anything. It’s just a pit-stop, a layover, a vacation away from real life and real problems and the real me. It’s a place to recuperate from the trials of heavy living, and to relax my body, and refuel and replenish without feeling guilty or burdened or lost. I am here, in this place of beauty, living as close to the life that I want as I’d like, and yet this is not real. This is only the dream before reality sets in, and I’m loving it and taking advantage of it and coaxing it into resembling more and more what I want it to look like.

I have no place. I have no definition. I don’t know where I fit or where I should stake my claim. So I busy myself with my family: Rob, Riley, and Micah. I worry about my brother and my parents. I try to figure out where our maids fit in in the big picture. I try to make conclusions about who I am and what it is that I’m about and who I’m trying to be…

But the truth is, I don’t feel anything. I’m completely numb. I don’t know if it’s my rigorous schedule, or the fact that I never get a chance to process my experiences before a new chapter dominates every aspect of my life. Maybe I just can’t handle the ways of the Philippines. Maybe I’ve simply given up on my values and virtues. All I know is, I feel as thought a significant measure of my fight is gone. And I need it back. ASAP.

It sounds crazy and stupid, I know, but the truth is, I can’t function without drama. And not just any drama, but high drama. Life-or-death, do-or-die, end-or-the-world kind of drama. Call it conditioning: I’ve become so used to high drama that I don’t know what to do with myself if it’s no longer there. All I know is, my life, though definitely running a lot smoother as of late, is no happier for the change. In fact, I’m bored. All I worry about now are the mundane and everyday: style, fashion, family, health, my grades, et al… The important things – family, friends, and finances – are pretty much covered and I breeze through those responsibilities. But I need… something.

I’m remembering what a little firecracker I used to be. Back in my Brooklyn College days, I felt like I was someone special, and I had a huge chip on my shoulder. I’m not exactly proud that I always felt like I had something to prove, but I have fond memories of what it felt like to be passionate about the difficult goals that I had. These days, I feel old and washed up. Nothing feels new and exciting. Sex, drugs, and alcohol? Been there, done that. Toed the flaming line of sinful escapades? Yup, and lived on the other side for a really, really long time, too. Made my share of memories that make me giggle when I think of them? Absolutely. But what can I do now to spice things up? I don’t want to do anything illegal just for the hell of it, and I don’t want to risk my life doing anything ridiculous. But I need my heart to race. I need my pulse to quicken. I need to feel ALIVE again.

As much as I love my life and am completely grateful for all I have, I have to admit: THIS is exactly why I rebelled against a career in nursing in particular and conventionality in general. THIS FEELING. The not caring, the not wanting, the lack of extreme emotions, the quiet soul, the calm confidence, the mature perspective. It’s all really zen, I’m sure, to some people. But what it feels like to me is a beautiful prison.

I could do a lot worse.

The Bro is out watching a movie with Dad. I’d be with them, only I’m behind on a thesis that I have to edit, and I really wanted to spend time with the kids. Ever since Dad got here, our schedule’s been all out of whack. My routine is dependent on having attentive nannies care for my boys while I’m working/studying/et al., and with my dad here, the nannies’ responsibilities have somewhat shifted. Now, instead of taking care of Micah, his nanny, Tess cleans. A lot. This means that I have to take care of Micah, and though I love love LOVE spending time with my squishy-faced cherub,  there are papers piling up in my work inbox, advertisements that I need to finish for my editing business, and a slew of subjects I should be reviewing before the next semester starts. I’d rather spend time with him when it’s more convenient, aka, when I’m not having a panic attack from the thought that all my plans are washing down the drain.

I’ve been mostly unplugged for the past day and a half. A wicked virus is making its rounds in the house. My eyes are tearing up incessantly, my throat feels like it’s my cat’s scratching post, my nose is clogged up, and my body aches. Micah just got over a runny nose, and just an hour ago, he coughed so violently that he vomited at least two ounces of milk. Riley is the little carrier of infection who brought it to the house, and luckily he’s feeling about 94% better.

I’m not sure why – I’m assuming it’s the fact that I feel like curling up in a ball and sleeping for a week straight – but I’m dragging my feet to edit. Already, words are all a-jumble in my head. The cool part is, it’s actually a good thing that I’m feeling this way. Editing other peoples’ writing frees me to write creatively, without my inner editor interrupting the flow of ideas.

So. Here’s where I stand. My biggest problems are the following:

  1. A void between myself and my father. Only, the fact is, my dad’s been the personification of DOPE! since he arrived. (Read: He’s footed the bill for groceries, diapers, formula, and pretty much every other thing since he got here, thus allowing Rob and I the ability to pay off a few bills and save some money for Christmas shopping.) The real void has been our inability to communicate honestly and unflinchingly. We’re both too traumatized by past experiences with each other to let our guards down.
  2. My health. Even though, let’s face it: Whatever I have could always be worse.
  3. Being forced to rearrange my precious schedule and relinquish control over my life in order to spend more time with my little cuddle muffin, Micah.

All in all, not too bad a list of problems.

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!

Boss.

It’s a little past midnight, Rob just called to ask what size of sneaker Riley wears, and I’m debating going to the kitchen for a snack. I feel like, the second I leave the room, Riley will wake up and go crazy searching for me, which has been going on a lot at this hour. I’m not sure if he’s suddenly more clingy because he senses that another baby is coming, or because I’ve been less available lately, or because he’s rebelling against toddlerhood and would rather stay my little baby for as long as possible, but I’m simultaneously tickled pink and getting salty at the thought of carrying him around forever.

These are my thoughts right now: I want to turn on the light to study, but we learned in class that sleeping with a light on increases your risk for a specific kind of cancer, and seeing as Riley is half Rob, and Rob’s mom’s side is riddled with cancer, I don’t want to risk it. I wish I remembered which kind of cancer lists “sleeping with a light source turned on” as a risk factor.

In truth, I feel myself slipping in my schoolwork. I’m not caring as much about getting high grades, and it definitely shows. I feel as though I’m not on top of my studying – not as much as I usually am, anyway – but when I step back and compare my studying habits of today to those of three months ago, I honestly feel like I’ve improved. Maybe the stuff I used to do just doesn’t cut it anymore, what with all the other priorities that clog my mind at any given moment. Or maybe the exams just got harder. (I’m leaning toward the latter.)  All I know is, my grades have fallen a bit and I’m positively aching to leave school the minute I step foot there. Point blank: I’ve been really salty when I’m anywhere but home. I just want to stay home, turn on the air conditioning, read, hang out with Riley, and focus on myself and my pregnancy for a bit.

Micah has been kicking like crazy, and I noticed that he kicks even more when I’m at school. My brother says that it’s because I’m the most stressed when I’m at school, which means my body temperature goes up, my blood pressure rises, my respiration rate also rises – pretty much all of my vital signs soar. This, in turn, causes Micah to go, “What the fuck, Mom? Get your shit together.”

Honestly, guys, I’m really wondering if I’ll make it to October. It’s not that I don’t think I can accomplish all of my goals – give birth to a healthy baby, bond with him for a week and a half, peel myself away from him to return to the grind, balance motherhood with work and school, launch a big promotional campaign for my editing business, learn about the dynamics of having two young kids, keep up communication with Rob, stay in touch with loved ones, manage a household, do lots of editing, take a full class load without failing any classes, have my first semester of hospital duty, and manage to SLEEP – cuz, strangely, that stuff? I know I can handle all of it – except for that last part. Sleep? Forget about it. Sleep and I are going to be distant acquaintances until October.

I tell myself that the next semester starts on June 14th, and then there’s approximately four months from that point until I’m on vacation again, and that four months is no big thing. But, really? Really, what I foresee in my near future in my hair a mess, my eye bags down to the floor, my appearance all kinds of unkempt and dissheveled, and my self-esteem plummeting because of that fact. Basically, I don’t see myself having any time for Me. For the myriad of responsibilities that I have to everything and everyone else? Yeah, no sweat, I’ll make the time. But for myself? Nah. I just wouldn’t be able to keep up the juggling act if I had to take care of Me, too.

I’m aware of how awful that sounds, and I really don’t intend on playing the martyr. I figure, in October, I’ll turn 27, and I’ll get a haircut and color, and buy myself some new clothes, and start doing aerobics on the regular, and I’ll feel better about myself. In the meantime, I’m fine with letting my grades slide from “uber-spectacular” to “better than average” if it means keeping my sanity intact.

That small bit of reprioritizing – giving my ego a rest from feeding on my “I got the highest grade on the exam!” high – is making all the difference. These days, I’m enjoying the hell out of every second that’s not spent in the classroom and making the most of my time in the classroom (usually by writing lists and making studying outlines). I’m learning to finagle the system to my liking, and that makes me feel like everything’s going to be okay.

In a sentimental mood.

I see your profile on Facebook and I’m hit with a pang of nostalgia. I remember when you were my best friend. I felt safe talking with you, and I felt like we really understood each other. Those were the heady days of youth, when we could do no wrong. You and my youth are so enmeshed that I can’t pull the two of you apart. I miss it, and I wonder if that’s the same as missing you.

I think about messaging you and decide against it. Our roads diverged because we wanted them to do so, and I’m not ready yet to reconnect. With you, there were always big plans, big conversations, and big philosophical discourses about the world and how it works. Now, I’ve downsized. I’ve gotten simpler, more stable, less articulate. I’ve traded in those big, fancy dreams for a beautiful and intricate reality, and I fear you’ll look down on me for doing so.

We were kids when we were friends. Idealism ran through our veins and we lived off of a heady mix of arrogance and intelligence. We sampled life by cautiously picking at our plates with our noses in the air, and made reservations to one day, with abandon, lick those same delicious platters clean. We knew we were destined to rule the world.

Some days, I still feel that way. Some days, I wake up and even though the context has changed, my story still feels the same; it still reads like the tale of an underdog winning the championship, and I still feel on top of my game.

Undoubtedly, though, the game has changed. On days like this, when the weather reminds me of brisk autumn afternoons in New York City, I can’t help but think of my youth, and you, and where I thought I’d end up in life, and where I find myself. On days like this, when the Philippines reminds me of home, and I can almost smell yellow taxis burning rubber on tarred city streets, I’m glad I’m so far away from where I come from. I’m glad I’m making good on some of my potential, and doing the best I can with the life I’ve picked out for myself. I’m glad that I’m living far away from you and the days of my youth; it would be too painful to see reminders of who I was and who I could have become.

I’ll let you in on a little secret: Sometimes, I’m certain that the reason I live with my balls out to the wind is so that I don’t have to feel the sting of my past. I’m too busy living that I don’t get to sit back and reminisce about all of my yesterdays. I’ve become disconnected to that girl who used to be your best friend. I don’t know her, and I doubt she has any clue what to make of me.

I say I don’t have any regrets, and the only reason that’s undeniably true is because the act of regret takes the ability to take a good, hard, and honest look at your life and analyze all of it. I can’t do that right now. I’m juggling too many knives, running through an impossible obstacle course, and keeping my head above a rising tide. I can’t lose sight of my intended prize, or I’ll end up wasting my time. I want only to achieve something tangible and socially-acceptable, and I’m aware of how non-sensical that sounds. There was a time when I knew better than to want to assimilate; now, I feel as if I’m racing toward some grand consolation prize, and the only reason it’s worthwhile is because everyone tells me so.

You would tell me to drop out of that race. You’d say that I’m not being me. You’d know that all of this is an attempt to be the best version of myself, but the truth is, I’m really being someone else. I miss having someone who knew that version of me, I miss looking into your eyes and seeing that girl who was so unbelievably ballsy and arrogant and head-strong that people had to sit up and take notie of her. I miss being able to call on someone who would conjure her up like a ghost.

Still. Given the option, I wouldn’t go back. Not because I don’t miss it, or because I don’t miss you, or because I don’t miss the person I used to be, but because that girl that was your best friend? She isn’t me anymore. The real me is hidden underneath all of the plans, all of the work, all of the hardships and compromises and life lessons that are being thrown at me every second of every minute of every day. She’s stewing in the juices of yesterday; marinating in the blood, sweat and tears of today; simmering in the hope for a better tomorrow, and will make an appearance one day, when I’m done with this phase of my life and back in New York and better than ever. She’ll peel off the tough skins and dried pulp and hard knocks and feel new and revitalized and positively real. I know it. In the meantime, I sit and feel the winds change and find the energy to remember you and my youth, and to smell change in the wind and remember autumn in New York. I sit here and know that despite my doubts and second guesses, I’m exactly who, what, and where I’m supposed to be.

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.

Reunited and it feels so good!

Not with Rob, sadly. But almost just as good: with the internet! Man, I’ve missed you guys!

Quick recap: I’m now 26 weeks pregnant, gaining waaaayyyy too much weight because I spend most of my days sitting in a classroom, and kicking ass at school. I’ve mellowed out on the editing, since I haven’t had a working internet connection in almost two months, and though I’m committed to finishing all the projects that have been sidelined, I’m also wondering if now is the right time to go full-steam ahead with the business. I spend a minimum of 10 hours per day/four days a week wearing my school uniform, and that number’s going to grow in the next 15 months. Micah’s due the first week of August (though if a recent dream means what I think it means, he’ll be arriving sooner than expected). Plus, in this whirlwind of events, I’ve gotten my old writing mojo back. Can’t say I’ve been writing up as big a storm as I’ve been studying, but it feels so. unbelievably. good to get the old tingles just by putting a story down on paper.

NOTE: This new story just happens to be crazy-influenced by my time here in the Philippines, so writing it makes me feel extra purposeful. This is extremely important since all of my friends back home have been making huge life changes that I’m not around to share in, and I need to be constantly reminded why I’m away from them. I shed a lot of tears over all the awesomeness that I’m missing out on.

ANYWAY. It’s summertime in the Philippines, which usually isn’t cause for me to bat a lash. I’m almost done with my 2nd trimester of pregnancy, though, and like I said, I’ve been gaining way too much weight. [You’re supposed to gain 25-35 lbs throughout the whole pregnancy; I’ve already gained 40 lbs and I’m only 2/3 of the way done.] This means that I’m positively sweltering in the tropical heat. Like, I take a cold shower, and the second I step outside of the bathroom, I’m drenched in sweat.

Riley’s as much a as sweetheart now as ever. Thing is, though, he isn’t talking yet. He’s 20 months old, and honestly, even though I know that most kids are talking by this age, I’m not really worried – and that makes me wonder if I’m not being proactive enough. That’s the way it goes, though, right? Either you’re too involved or you’re not involved enough with your kids. *sigh*

…..

Funny feeling in my gut today. I just want to sit on a deserted beach somewhere, under an umbrella, and watch the waves crash.

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.

No shame in my game.

I was just FB messaged by a friend who’s graduated from my current school. We talked about life and our plans for the next five years, and when I mentioned that what I’d really, really like to happen is to only ever be a part-time nurse because I’m too busy getting paid for my amazing writing, he was offended. Here he is, in the Philippines, already having gone through 4+ years of school; he’s gone through hell to pass his board exam and become a licensed RN; AND he still can’t find work as a nurse, aka his profession of choice. And here I am, doing what I do, acing all of my classes, and not even planning on making nursing into my lifetime career.

While we’re on the privileged tip, I’ll let you in on a little secret. Ever since Rob left, I rarely cook. I’ve gotten my aunt, the semi-retired chef, to teach Joy, our bumbling but kind-hearted maid, how to make a bunch of entrees. Now, all I need to do is put the week’s menu on the fridge, give Joy grocery money, and eat when the food’s cooked. The house has also never been so spic and span, and now that my semester is thisclose to being done, all I have to concentrate on is Riley, Baby #2, writing, editing, and staying in touch with Rob.

I’m privileged. I know that and I own it. But I swear, if anyone calls me spoiled, they’ll have my foot up their ass.