Monday, April 7, 2008

About you,Isabel

One day, should my daughter be able to read my blogs, I'd like her to know the following about herself:

1. You were originally supposed to be named Amanda, but dad didn't think it would sound good with our last name so, it was changed to my next choice which was Isabel.

2. That your nickname, Beau, was derived from a character played by Michelle Pffifer in the 80's fantasy film Ladyhawk. She was named Isabeau, the french version of Isabel (which is a spanish name). Your dad and I made a compromise - you are to be named Isabel (as Isabeau sounded too foreign) but will be called Beau.

3. That your other nickname "Cibelli" was actually coined by your Lola Myra.

4. You were born practically bald but your head was so perfectly round that you were cute anyway.

5. You started sitting up by yourself at 5 months, which was way advanced, and started walking by yourself at 12 1/2 months.

6. Your first semi-solid meal was plain lugaw with a pinch of salt - which you kinda liked.

7. Your 1st nanny cut off your eyelashes while you were sleeping, which pissed the hell out of your dad and me, so we fired her on the same day.

8. That it was unusual that you actually liked green olives, ampalaya and black coffee.

9. You had "sore eyes" for a week when you were 7 months old that you passed on to me and your dad, so you had to go live with Lola Aring & Lola Dey for 10 days.

10. You loved the sprinkler in Tali and you would cry everytime we had to tell you it's time to stop playing with it.

11. Your favorite tv show was the Backyardigans, Dora The Explorer and Elmo's world.

12. You didn't like the car seat at first, but now, you've grown to like it.

13. You love ice cream, any kind. But most especially Cold Rock's Mint Chocolate Chip with Violet Crumble (mommy's favorite).

14. Your first word was "papa".

15. Your favorite viand is tinolang manok, your favorite pasta is pesto and vongole.

16. You never liked juices, but you loved to drink water.

17. Lola Myra gave you your first haircut when you were a little more than a year old.

18. You're a petite little baby, but mama's hoping you'll catch up.

19. You've had allergic rhinitis since you were 9 months old.

20. You'll be forever our pretty little baby Cibelli.

Saturday, April 5, 2008

Lola Flory

I already miss her. I do.

When I was much much younger, my mom's mom (my maternal grandmother) used to stay with us in our house. Looking back, I must admit I was not able to reach out and enjoy her company as much I should have. To me, she was just there, this lady with gray hair, sagging face and a slow walk. She wasn't the sweet lady type, in fact, she would reprimand me and shout at me whenever I was being naughty as all kids would sometimes be. She passed away when I was in Med school, after being hospitalized for nearly a year. I did not even cry during her funeral, maybe because she was already sick for a long time and the family was prepared to loose her.

The 1st time I met my husband's grandmother, I was smitten. I remember we had just started dating and he brought me to his house to meet his family. I remember sitting right opposite her, she welcomed me with a smile and invited me to sit down. She started to talk but horror of horrors, I could not understand a word she was saying! It was almost a whisper and her voice was cracking - almost robot like. Everytime she'd start talking I would just nod my head and smile. Sometimes Quitos (my then boyfriend now my husband) would "interpret" it for me, so I could answer back - she was asking me a question pala! Anyway, to cut the long story short, we got married, and I got to know my Lola Flory even better.

I always looked forward to her calls - the most memorable of which came around 1 month before she passed. She had a cataract surgery a couple of months ago, and she would always call the house giving us updates on what her doctor said and asking us if that was ok. You see, my husband and I are both doctors, and she valued our advice more than any of the other doctors she went to. Unfortunately, she had an eye infection post-surgery that just won't go away. One morning, the phone rang, I answered it and it was her. "Anna'" she said, "can I ask you a silly question?" "Yes lola, of course" I answered. "How often do you shampoo your hair?" Hmmm.. This is a new one, I thought. I wonder what this question would lead to. So I said "Lola, I shampoo everyday, but if I'm just home, maybe every other day." "Ah, ok. Coz my doctor told me to shampoo more often because it might be contributing to my eye infection" So I asked her, "Why Lola? How often do you shampoo your hair?" And she gives out a small laugh and I could hear her hestitation until she told me "once a week!" I laughed and said "oh Lola, you should shampoo more often, it's a tropical country. Your scalp can get very oily and stuff will grow on your head" and I could hear her laughing "Is that so?", I said "Yes Lola". She thanked me and we put the phone down. After 3 minutes, the phone rang again, and I knew it was her so I picked it up "Anna," she said. "What shampoo do you use?" "Lola, I use Dove. But You can use something milder, like a baby shampoo." "Oh, ok. I'll do that" she said.

I did not hear from her for a couple of weeks until Holy week came along and we were invited to their house for a small dinner. She made my favorite mashed potatoes (the recipe of which she ws able to pass on to me and my sis-in-law, Celine) and we had a nice time just chatting and watching Cibel (my daughter) do her tricks. The week after holy week, Quitos got a call saying that Lola wasn't feeling well, so we went to their house in Sanlo and checked on her. She said she was feeling tired all the time and weak. We checked her BP and told her not to worry because she was fine. A couple of days later, we brought her to the Emergency Room. After reassurance from the doctors and after a couple of tests that all turned out to be normal, she was sent home.
The next morning, Lolo calls and says that she is having a hard time breathing. We go check on her and was alarmed on how dyspneic she was.

She sat down, catching her breath, she wrapped her arms around my waist and asked me "Anna, am I dying?", I didn't know what to say so I just reassured her and said "No, Lola, you're not dying! But you know what? We're gonna take you back to the hospital to see whats wrong with you." SHe just nodded her head and said "God's will."

She had a directive for no extraordinary means, which basically meant no resuscitation will be done on her if and when the time comes. She passed away at 9:15 am, the morning of March 31st 2008. I cried and cried and cried.

We cremated her after 3 days, just as she wished. And I keep hearing her voice in my head, and I keep expecting to get a call from her. And I'm still crying, and I am still missing.

What a wonderful lady who devoted her life to caring for her loved ones. She will be truly missed.

I love you, Lola.

Saturday, March 29, 2008

An Early Night

Last night, I went out with a couple of friends for dinner at a posh restaurant in Makati. It was a quaint little resto, where the price for a three course meal will easily feed a family of 5 for a week. As soon as I stepped in, I could smell the expensive perfume lingering in the air which was, I surmised, coming from the table at the far side, where 3 middle aged women with diamonds bigger than my eyes were dining. I was ushered to our table, exchanged pleasantries with my friends and was offered a bag holder by the waiter.( first time ever). He immediately proceeded to hand out the menu for the night while reciting the "specialty for the night" - items not on the menu but are willing to serve to special parties. Wine was served and we proceeded with the meal, while we were doing our catching up and talking about what we did for the holy week.

I was actually fine until I was asked if I wanted to go with them to Italy for a week. Hmmm.... Let's see. I don't really run in those kinds of circles. Like to whisk off to some European country for a week to sample some wine. Of course I declined the offer, saying I really don't have the time and I don't want to leave my daughter behind. How about a weekend in Singapore? I said yes, maybe, because my best friend is based there and maybe we can stay with her so we don't have to stay in a hotel. Ok they said, let's plan it. Now, the night really started to slip from me when they started "itemizing" the brands of shoes and clothes they had on. I'm thinking, what is so relevant about that? Now, this part of the conversation made me feel queasy, something about putting a prime on labels did not sit well with me. All of a sudden, I thought of my daughter, and I started to panic. How do you raise a child in such a materialistic world, where people work their assess off to be able to pay for a designer bag that we all know costs more than it should just because it has the freaking logo. I'd rather she grow up to appreciate the simple things in life. Of course I'd like to give her the best things, but I think I need to reinforce how the expensive things are not necessarily the best.

Needless to say, I excused myself from going to another bar for some drinks with them. I felt the sudden need to be with my Cibel, I wanted to wrap my arms around her like a protective shell, as if it would protect her from the "outside world". I want her to appreciate people because of what they are, and not for what they own. I was in bed with my daughter at 11pm, I texted my husband to let him know that I was home already as he was out too, with his friends. He texted back and asked why I had an early night - I said it the conversations were getting ridiculous. As I was about to sleep I looked at Cibel and thought, I'd rather be here. I'd really, really rather be here.

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Anna the blogger

Hmmm. Never thought I'd actually do this, but what the hell. It's the age of technology and I might as well be a part of it. First of all, I never considered myself important enough to write down my thoughts and actually think that there are people who would care enough to know what I'm thinking. I'm an under-the-radar kind of person. Contrary to belief, I actually shrink and shrivel in fright everytime my name gets mentioned public-ly, meaning, over the microphone in some meeting or some program. I'd really rather be in the background, listening to what others have to say. Secondly, I fear that starting a blog would open me to everyone else's scrutiny and judgement. "Ang baduy naman, or "ano ba 'to nonsense, eh ano ngayon if you had a bad day?" or the very common "who cares?" And then I realized, well, I'm not really doing this for anyone else, I'm actually doing it for myself. It kinda reminds me of the date books turned into scrapbooks I used to have back in highschool. So, here I am, anna the doctor, anna the mommy, now anna the blogger. Thanks Lu!!