Saturday, August 29, 2009

Mommy in Boots Takes Stock of Her Treasures

It was not as painful as I had thought it would be. Turning 40, that is.

As matter of fact, I wouldn't have it any other way.

So not true, of course! I could do without the fine facial lines beginning to show around the eyes, without the veins that pop out on my temple when I'm under stress and without those 3 strands of grey hair I found lurking just above my ear. (OK, fine, there were probably 5 of them!)

But all these put aside, truth be told, I really wouldn't have it any other way. There are so many wonderful things happening in my life which I sincerely suspect would not have been as appreciated, as wondrous, as rich circa pre-40. Turning 40 is a great opportunity to take stock of the REAL treasures in your life.

Two of these treasures are my 2 kids. My daughter is 12 and my boy is nearing 2. Big age gap there with a story that merits its own blog page. My motherhood style is something I always poke fun at. I was never the housewifey-wearing an apron-baking cookies in the kitchen- tutoring her kids with such tenderness-and with glass of milk on the side kind of mom.
The only times I'm in the kitchen would be weekends when I make my inspection, with Yayay (again, another character worthy of a blog all her own!) and Ate holding their breaths as they await my verdict and praying hard to the heavens that I wouldn't see shampoo or lotion bottles where they shouldn't be or else out they go to the trash bin. Just the bottles, not Yayay and Ate.
I only get to cook during special holidays like Christmas or New Year and on these occasions, I only come out to the kitchen once everything is all prepared, cut, diced, chopped, drained. I just take my place in front of the stove like Bobby Flay doing a Throwdown and put everything together with my magic touch. With Yayay watching over me with such obvious admiration at the depth of my culinary skills ( doing a Giada and mouthing words like julienne, braise and nicoise help create this illusion, of course). And Ate ready to wipe the sweat off my brow at the slightest signal. Ok, that last one's a joke. Ate just hands me the towel, I do the wiping myself.
The last time I tutored my daughter was eons ago. The "harrowing" sessions came to an end when the court decided I have none of the necessary teaching skills and patience to carry it out and issued a restraining order against me every quarterly exam. Seriously, when she was in Grade 4, it happened that everytime the quarterly tests came up, I would either be out for a work-related trip or in the thick of preparations for a work event. So, my husband and I thought of getting a tutor just to help her review for the exams. But, the tutors bored her to tears and so weren't helpful at all. The few times I did get to review her were so emotionally charged we made Knots Landing look like an episode of Dora the Explorer. Finally, she and I made a truce that I should leave her alone and trust her to do her own studying. With bits and pieces of advice and threats here and there, to this day, she has never brought home a line of 7 in her report card.
Anyway, while I may not necessarily win the Nobel Prize for Motherhood in the 21st Century, I get the feeling that from what I've learned and unlearned along the way (and there were plenty!), I seem to be on track as a mom. My daughter and I enjoy a mom-daughter relationship that so many friends say is pretty cool. An officemate described it as the Pinoy version of Gilmore Girls, which is funny because I remember watching it and praying that I'd have that kind of a relationship with my daughter, too. Without my knowing it, God has answered that prayer, I believe.
My baby boy can only say so many words right now but he can write such an essay on how much he loves me when he squeals in delight at the sound of my car horn honking when I get home or when he grabs my face to capture my attention away from his Ate.

Yes, turning 40 is not bad at all with treasures like these. Two wonderful human beings who think you're the greatest mother on earth. At any age, that's what truly counts.
Well, that minus the fine lines and wrinkles and grey hair, perhaps?