My “doubled eyelid surgery” secret
I love my eyes today, because they were “pugtu”/“namumugtu” when I woke up. See, I’ve always coveted deep, soulful eyes. Unfortunately for me, I have regular almond-shaped eyes. Buuuut, when I cry at night—as in mega cry me a river—I wake up with more obvious eyelids. It’s like I underwent a double eyelid surgery overnight!
Anyway, bakit ba ako umiyak? Last night I was rereading Rage of Angels by Sidney Sheldon (I first read it when I was in high school), and there was this part there when the heroine’s 7-year-old son died. It has been established in the book how the heroine—a career mom (like me!)—doted on her smart, handsome son who says the funniest things (like Raviv!) So of course, mega relate ako. I could easily slip into the shoes of the heroine. Mga linyang, “Jennifer had sat at his side, studying the face of her young son, filled with a love that was so strong it choked her”—pak na pak! So when it was carefully described how she dressed up her dead son for his wake, I was no longer able to hold back sobs. Usually whenever I encounter stories like this, all I have to do is look at Raviv, hug him, and swear to myself that I will do even the impossible just to ensure my son is always safe. Or when he’s awake, I would cup his cherubic face, look him in the eyes and tell him to always remember that I love him so so so much.
But at that moment, my Raviv was miles and miles away. We were separated by Php4,000 worth of airfare. Although I know that my parents would ensure his safety, I was devoid of the comfort that personally seeing him sleeping peacefully—after checking his heartbeat and breathing—brings. And so I cried and cried and cried. The following morning, voila! Para na akong nagparetoke ng mata. Hehe.
On a more serious note though, I’m reminded of the time when it dawned on me that letting go is the hardest when you are a mom.
I first realised it during Raviv’s 4th week at his first toddler school. He was 1 year and 7 months old then. Parents were only allowed to accompany their kids in the classrooms up to the second week of classes. At that time, Raviv goes to school only twice a week. So on his 5th day at school, I stayed in the classroom for five minutes then I left. He cried and cried. But I wanted him to be strong and independent, so I left. After about a few minutes, I peeked into his classroom and saw that he stopped crying. I was happy. The same thing happened on his 6th day at school (on his 3rd week at school). On the first day of his 4th week at school, I prepared myself for another meltdown as I walked him to his classroom. But when his teacher opened the door, he just went inside without another word. For a few seconds I was immobilized, for I was in shock. When it dawned on me that my son was already more than willing to enter a secure, happy world without me, I wanted to cry. I wanted to cry because I got my wish: that he would let go.
The second time it hit me really hard was when our family had a staycation at Hidden Valley. Our villa had a really cozy attic with spiral stairs leading to it. Raviv loved it so much, and we were telling him to sleep there. We dared him to sleep there by himself because Randy and I would be sleeping in the main room. After his evening bath, he went there with his Tatay’s iPad while Randy watched the TV and I read my ebook. We were expecting him to just go down when he’s already sleepy. But hours had passed and we realised there was no more sound coming from the iPad. I checked: Raviv was fast asleep. I couldn’t believe it, because ever since he was born he co-slept with us, and I complained about it so many times (Because ang likot n’ya! When he has bad dreams he would kick and punch me in his sleep! And Randy and I couldn’t have couple-y moments even when we were in the mood!) I continued reading, but when I tried to sleep I couldn’t. I tried harder, but still I couldn’t. Then it hit me: I couldn’t sleep without my son’s chubby, tiny body beside me. I needed his face to be the last thing I see before I close my eyes. I soo wanted to carry him from the attic down to our bed, but I knew I couldn’t. Or if I wake him up, kawawa naman.
But finally I slept.
I went to the attic and lay beside Raviv’s small, cramped bed. It was such a peaceful sleep.
That night, I realised that again, I wanted to cry because I got my wish: that he would let go.
The most OA creatures ever…
…are moms. As in. Aside from my letting go MOM-ents, I remember how I would fuss over the most mundane things as long as my son is involved. Everytime they have a school presentation, feeling ko nagpe-perform sa Broadway ang anak ko. Even when it comes to his clothes—I would take time mixing and matching his everyday outfits at his toddler school. When he is sick, my mind would imagine the craziest diseases ever. ‘Yun pala sipon lang. And when someone snubs my son, he or she immediately out of my list of favourite people no matter how our relationship was before Raviv.
I remember last December when my parents and Yoona and Thea were here for the holidays. We brought the kids to Enchanted Kingdom. They were on this airplane ride there, and when it was time to alight, Raviv couldn’t. The seatbelt was stuck, and Raviv couldn’t leave the “plane”. His two cousins were already lining up for the next ride, while Enchanted Kingdom staff were trying to jimmy the seatbelt lock. To no avail. Minutes passed, and Raviv started to panic. He was trying to slide from the seatbelt, but he couldn’t. Masikip eh. Then he started to quietly cry.
To be honest, it wasn’t really scary because the seatbelt could be cut anytime. But Raviv was probably thinking he’ll be stuck there forever that’s why he got really scared. So I started to tear up as well. And then when even the EK man who has the keys failed to remove Raviv’s seatbelt, Randy and I demanded them to cut the seatbelt already. We couldn’t bear another second to see our son panicking.
A mother’s love
Although I kept on hearing over and over again how honourable, how unfathomable a mother’s love is, I was still very surprised to realize just how much I love my son. Sabi nga ni Sidney Sheldon, “a love that was so strong, it choked her.” Ganyan. I’m a big woman, but my whole body seems kulang to contain all the love I have for my son. Honestly I don’t know where all that love comes from, and it’s getting bigger and bigger. Baka kaya ako tumataba?!? LOL.
But seriously, when I was asked by someone to describe just how much I love my son, I thought hard and long. It’s difficult to explain, and it has also been described in so many ways. And then I came up with an answer. I said:
“If our house caught fire and I got out safely but my son was left behind, I would return to the house without batting an eyelash. Not because I’ll hope that we’ll both be rescued. If everyone tells me that I shouldn’t go inside because I’ll just surely die and can’t save Raviv anyway, I wouldn’t care. Because I am willing to risk my life just so my son would see me coming to him. I’m willing to risk my life if that would mean that in the scariest moment in my son’s life, he’ll feel safe because I will envelop him in my embrace. Even if he feels that just for a few seconds before he dies, it’s worth it.”
That is a mother’s love.
Before I park, let me share with you a touching video about OA moms, brought to us by Safeguard. 🙂
Happy Mother’s Day to all loving moms! Mabuhay tayo!