Friday, May 4, 2018

Moms and Toilets


I go to the bathroom to pee.

Now, because I live with two males, naturally the toilet seat is up.

But before I even put the seat down, I notice a few pee marks and become overtaken by the compulsion to wipe this abomination first.

I reach for the toilet paper and find there's one sad, lame sheet left.

I walk to the cabinet to grab a fresh roll, replace the old one, tear a few sheets, wet them slightly with water from the sink and wipe the toilet hurriedly.

Then I drop the toilet seat and get ready.

Finally, then and only then, can I sit down to pee.

This, my friends, explains UTI prevalence among mothers. You're welcome CDC!




*The above information is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. All content, including text, images and information on this page is for humor and entertainment purposes only.

Thursday, April 19, 2018

A Life Lesson Wrapped in a Car Crash


*Not the actual car crash



There was no traffic, just a lazy, mid-Sunday afternoon. We were starving and decided to drive to one of our son's favorite local pizza places.  My husband was focused on the road, when unexpectedly I saw a flash of something ahead of us. I saw it was a utility pole and it seemed as if something had exploded, a transformer blew perhaps, I thought. I saw the pole shake and assumed it was because of the explosion at the top. As we drove closer and could see better, my husband suddenly said, "Oh my God, there's a car!"

Right then, I realized an accident had just happened. The pole shaking wasn't caused by the transformer exploding but rather the car hitting the utility pole!

Two vehicles in front of us stopped toward the side of the road, as we did as well. I saw three people rush to the driver's side of the wrecked vehicle to try to help out. My husband turned our hazard lights on, left our vehicle to walk closer to the car that crashed, while I grabbed my phone to call 911. While waiting for my call to go through, I saw a teenage girl, with her Mom closer to the crash site, also on her phone and I assumed she was also on a 911 call like myself. Everyone had a distressed look on their faces, with a woman clutching her hands and closing her eyes, obviously in prayer. 

It was all so surreal to me at that point. I had never before witnessed a vehicular accident right after it happened and only prayed whoever was inside would survive. The front of the car was wrecked and it was obvious that the car had hit the utility pole and spun a 180. My husband and I made sure there were no live wires dangling on the ground and decided it was better to stand back. There were already four people trying to help and comfort the driver, without moving him. It was best not to move him. Eventually, we heard that the driver seemed seriously injured, had a broken arm with a bone sticking out, and per my husband's estimation, the man was probably in his 60's.

After about 10 minutes after I hung up from my 911 call, two police cars arrived and then shortly after, a fire truck and an ambulance came rushing to the scene. A woman claimed she had witnessed the actual accident and so the police officer requested that she stay while the rest of us leave the scene. 

I still don't know what happened. It was 3:30 in the afternoon. It wasn't dark, the roads were wide open. Could the man have had a stroke? Could he have fallen asleep? Did he try to avoid something? Did he lose his breaks? Was he distracted? None of us witnesses and bystanders knew, and most importantly, it did not matter.

That's what struck me most. None of the extraneous circumstances mattered. Everyone knew that the right thing to do was stop and try to help in whatever capacity, even if that meant simply being there to let the driver know he wasn't alone and that medical help was arriving soon. If the car was in any danger of exploding—and it was in everybody's mind given the impact—everyone of us who stood there knew we were prepared to pull the driver out of his vehicle to keep him alive. 

It was moving to witness such a level of concern from strangers and to feel the spirit of humanity in action. The injured driver's background did not matter...

His skin color did not matter. Nor did his political views, moral beliefs, life choices, achievements, socioeconomic class, sexual orientation, or anything that make any of us assign judgement or assumptions about others. All everyone saw was a human being who needed help and that was enough. 

There are so many things dividing us right now. If we let it, it really will tear us apart and destroy our humanity and that sacred part of us; that part that remains pure and innately connected to others. But if we just try harder at stripping ourselves of our prejudices and simply focus on kindness and our common humanity, it's easier to see that all of us are really just struggling and none of us can survive alone. Trust your heart. It will never waste time overthinking when you need to jump out and help someone in need. 




Tuesday, April 10, 2018

A Relationship Lesson From Electronics



Whenever I have electronic woes, my husband has one priceless advice that works like a charm every single time. It doesn't matter if it's my tablet screen suddenly becoming temperamental that it won't rotate when I rotate the device; my mobile phone's camera not working; or our Amazon Fire t.v. refusing to respond to commands...

Shut it down. Restart. Reboot.

This advice  has worked wonders for both my sanity and my devices, saving me from nervous breakdowns, and from said devices meeting their demise by inexplicably flying across the room and hitting the wall. 

Breathe. Power down. Restart. 

What I've realized is that the same principle can be applied when it comes to our social lives. Human relationships are complex and exhausting. It's inevitable that we sometimes encounter people who we have thresholds for. Or maybe our introversion gets the best of us and we just generally need to take a step back and recharge. It's also quite common that we sometimes have relationships where things can't seem to go your way but rather than just quit altogether, you  might realize that all you need is a brief respite to gain a fresh perspective. 

Whatever it may be, I'm a believer in powering down and rebooting. Sometimes, that may be all you need to make things work properly again. Just as our machines or electronics get heated up, run out of memory, or get stuck in a loop, human beings too don't make sense all the time, get exhausted, or stubborn and impatient. Sometimes, someone just needs to power it down, let it rest, and then restart. Give it a try!


Friday, March 23, 2018

The Challenge of Trusting Our Children

My 10-year-old has been getting into the habit of uttering these two words to me lately: Trust me.

Whenever he wants to do something that he knows I'm predisposed to disagree with, he will say those words with his serious, assuring tone. Trust me.

"Noah, why don't you do your Reading homework now so that you can sleep early tonight?"

He'd say something like, "Don't worry, Mama. I just need to finish this round for now (a video game) and can still do all that before bedtime. Trust me."

Or anytime he senses I'm nervous about him being out, or him doing something that falls under my 'dangerous' category (which is most likely not really dangerous), he'd say those words. Trust me

Yesterday, he insisted on walking to school with his best friend. Since best friend lives about half a mile away, we compromised and agreed I'd drop him off at his friend's house and from there, they could walk to school together. Then the list of reminders: don't be oblivious, keep walking, and then send me a short text message as soon as you get to school. 

After about 30 minutes, I started wondering why he hadn't texted me yet. And then this...(P.S. the media file he sent me was a photo showing me that he and his friend stopped at a spot to 'hang out')...





I laughed with the 'they didn't get abducted' bit, as he justified how his two friends used to hang out exactly at that spot where they were, of course further illustrating my son's familiarity with my paranoia.

Did you notice how he said 'trust me' twice during our exchange?

Trusting someone, if you think about it, translates to mainly two things: trusting that the person is 'able' (trusting in his abilities), and trusting that person's judgment or nature. 

The ability component can further be broken down into two aspects. To trust someone is to trust that they know what they're doing and that they'll know what to do when something goes wrong, or that they can cope with the situation or mitigate a problem.

The nature or judgment component of trusting someone is about trusting that they won't do anything bad or that you can trust their moral compass or their capacity for discernment. 

Trust, as we all know, is built or earned. It's not something randomly deserved or haphazardly granted. 

If that is the case, there is only one way for anyone to know if someone can be trusted and that is by giving it slowly. You have to let go little by little in order to see if someone is worthy of your trust. You can't be like a job opening to new graduates requiring prior job experience in the field. If no one is willing to hire a newbie, how can said newbie ever get the experience required by everyone else?

How can someone show they can be trusted if they've never been let go before; if they've never been allowed to be in situations to prove their trustworthiness?

It's never easy for parents to let go of their children. And we can't say it's not them we don't trust, but everyone else around them. That's a crappy excuse because it still points to you not trusting your child's ability and discernment to deal with others. There really isn't any excuse. It's either you are willing to let go and trust, or you're not. 

My son is 10. I am realizing more and more each day that I have no other choice than to keep extending the leash and loosen the reins. Objectively speaking, he has given no prior indication of being irresponsible, undisciplined, and reckless. I know he can be trusted. I'm just not sure if I can trust myself as all this unfolds. Would I be able to calm my fears and honor this inevitable process? Will my heart be strong enough to let go?

I think that is the real crux of the matter. 







Friday, March 16, 2018

Watching Your Baby Grow: Excitement or Fear?



Fear and Excitement...Excitement and Fear...I've been vacillating between these two for a while now, and more often than before as I'm struck deeply by the realization that my only child is inching towards the teen years. 

Today, he's on a field trip to this interactive simulated town where students get hands on learning on how it is to be workers, entrepreneurs  and simply how it feels to be part of the economy. These kids had to learn financial literacy and apply for jobs in the week preceding this field trip so they all have roles to play and be equipped once they get to their 'town'. My son ended up being CEO of the UPS store. 

Excitement and Fear...I wonder how he'll be once he starts with his first real job. I'm happy he's slowly learning about the economy and the idea of applying for a position, managing employees and customers, depositing your earnings to the bank, getting health insurance and feeling exhausted at the end of a work day. When he's old enough to get a real job in the real world, will he handle his finances well? Will he find work that he enjoys and can be proud of? Will he have the grit required to keep showing up and exhibit good work ethic? 

Last night, our family attended an orientation for rising 6th graders at the Middle School he'll be transferring to next school year. I felt like pinching myself the whole two hours we were there. 

Fear and Excitement...How can we be already here? Wasn't he just in pre-school yesterday? How is it that he will now have his own locker, choose a major and a minor and have the liberty to join any club he fancies or feels he's good at? Wasn't it just last week when our lives were simply all about Nickelodeon, snack time, nap time and build-my-Lego-ship time? Is he ready? Will he succeed the way I want him to? Is his self-esteem strong enough to survive greater challenges in the academe? Will he be able to forge deep and lasting friendships?

Fairly recently, he decided to start his own YouTube channel. He asked for our help in setting him up. We gave him a small filming space in our upstairs storage room. His Dad set up his computer, camera and created a sturdy frame out of PVC pipes on which we can hang curtains so that he has a decent backdrop. Then he started creating his own content, taught himself to edit and posted the videos himself. 

Excitement and Fear...t's amazing how fast he learns and how admirable it is that he did what he said he wanted to do. He didn't overthink and simply ran away with something he truly enjoys. But I hope he doesn't get discouraged even though he doesn't have a huge audience. I hope he doesn't give up so easily. I pray to God he doesn't get bullied online. I pray he understands his responsibility now that he has a social media platform. I pray he always finds the wisdom, even at his young age, to speak and behave with respect and integrity. 

This boy of 10 years has also been honest enough to admit that he now has a crush. I have been neutral about it, neither discouraging nor encouraging, but always reminding him that he is still too young to take these things seriously. 

Fear and Excitement...I'm eager to see what kind of person will capture his heart. Will he choose well? Will he find true love and be able to keep it? How will my 'baby' fare once he comes face-to-face with heartbreak? It's only a matter of time. Will he know how to survive it? Will he welcome it, knowing that he will only come out stronger and wiser? I can't wait to pass on to him what I know, although I'm afraid it might never be enough. 

Any parent knows what I'm going through. We watch these human beings who are our external hearts walk their own paths, and there is no stopping time. We do our best giving them what we have, hoping they'll be equipped for the world and be the best versions of our dreams. They have our hearts and our souls and yet they are different from us. That difference is not always easy to accept. The possibility of failure, as well as pain, are always looming in the background, causing us sleepless nights and infinite anxiety.

Fear and Excitement will continue to flow in our veins for as long as we are parents. They might feel the same at times but we must be discerning because one holds a person back, while the other sets free; one stunts the spirit, the other tends to nurture evolution.

Our children will break, fail, hurt and suffer. It's all on them to make their own choices and live through the consequences. And as their parents, it's on us to cheer them on, keep the faith, and keep loving them deeply so that we can always stay excited about the miracles they can blossom into.





Monday, March 5, 2018

Love is in the Details


Love in its early stages evokes only good feelings, making us giddy, ecstatic, energized. And perhaps it has to be that way so that it's enticing enough for us to pursue. Though any step towards Love takes courage, you can't deny that the thought of being able to possess the giddiness and a feeling of inspiration all but propel us even more to take the plunge.

But as we get more acquainted with Love, we realize that there is a lot of work involved. And it is hard work, don't let anyone fool you into thinking otherwise. It requires devotion and grit. It's not a mere feeling or thought but something that becomes infused into your identity. 

Love is in the details. 

It's in the way you talk, your tone, the kindness you show; the compassion and empathy your convey through your words; the assurance you give someone in times of doubt or insecurity; the words of comfort when the other person's in pain; the encouragement you offer when faith hides in the shadows.

It's in your touch. It's the relief and healing you offer just by holding the other close. Love finds its way out of your pores as you embrace your child and stroke their hair, or wounded flesh and sore muscles. The simplicity of the gesture offers unparalleled comfort. 

It's in your waking up in the morning to prepare meals for your family, or your surrender to the drudgery to earn a living.

It's in the quick phone calls to ask how the other is doing and in the never forgetting to say 'Take care, I love you' before you hang up. 

It's in the way your face lights up when you see the other person. It's in your smile or the peace in your eyes. 

Love cannot be denied, nor can you mistake something for love when you feel deep down it isn't. The lie cannot be sustained, the cruelty will show, the disdain and disrespect always eventually bleed out. The beauty of life is that you could never lose with love. The only way to really know it, is to keep experiencing it. And no matter how imperfect, Love is Love, and it never fails to change you. 






Friday, February 16, 2018

This is About Guns

There's been another mas shooting this week, at a school...again...dead kids...again. Can you blame me if this consumes me? Because I am consumed with anger, frustration, sadness, pain, and refuse to believe that all we can do is send out our 'thoughts and prayers'. I know there is power in prayer but we no longer have the luxury to think this insanity can all just go away and be magically solved for us just by thinking and praying. 

We need to let our voices be heard. Let your representatives hear you as you say our country needs stricter gun control laws. 

Because this is about guns. THIS IS ABOUT GUNS

If you are not willing to admit that, then you are lying, in denial, stupid or plain evil.

Over and over, incidents of mass shootings in this country happened because someone who is angry, or unstable, had access to assault rifles. Civilians have no need for assault rifles. These weapons have no other purpose than to kill. 

They're not for hunting, not for recreation, not for mere self-defense. They are meant to kill the most number of people with the least effort within a small time frame.

THIS IS ABOUT GUNS AND THE NEED FOR STRICTER GUN CONTROL LAWS. 

Make your voice count. 

Vote for the right people during elections. Inform yourselves as to who have sold their souls to the NRA and have no desire for REAL change to happen. 

In the meantime, I leave you with these.....


How Japan Solves Gun Violence:



When Your Officials Can't Offer More Than 'Thoughts & Prayers'



NRA's Top Ten Funded Officials:



Millions of Dollars from the NRA to your Representatives:

Friday, February 2, 2018

Worlds Through Words





Words have consequences

If you’ve ever doubted the power of words, imagine being illiterate, or visiting a foreign country where you don’t speak the language or where the characters used are not ones you’re versed in. Imagine riding a train or a bus and then realizing that none of the signs make sense to you, leaving you feeling lost. 

Words and our ability to wield and receive them appropriately give us power in our everyday lives. They’re easy to take for granted and yet once misused or completely gone can leave us tragically broken.  

I don’t like wasting words. Though I understand that at times we need ‘fillers’ to get by in this world—'Hi'; ‘How’s it going’; ‘Have a nice day’—there’s a part of me that will always question their worth. You see, I love intentional words. Needless to say, my passion lies in meaningful conversations, rendering me somewhat inept at small talk. Maybe it's because I love how words, when meant and pregnant with truth, have the capacity to genuinely move you and even cause your body to respond.  They can make your heart beat fast, tighten your stomach, cause you to blush. You could get chills, make you choke, or weak in the knees.  

Think of your experience when someone you desired said 'I love you' to you, or maybe you uttered the same to someone who has always felt unlovable. Think of the gift of assurance given when someone says 'I choose YOU' and the possibilities opened by that declaration.

Imagine the fears calmed and banished just with a simple 'Mommy's here' uttered to a helpless child. And what about 'I forgive you' or 'I believe in you' and the spirits they heal?

Have you ever been in the presence of ‘Goodbye’ between two souls who mean the world to each other? Only immeasurable sorrow and a palpable void are left after the realization that no more words can be shared between them.

I know too well how potent words are since I am one whose most significant relationships rely mainly on words. As an adult migrant, most of my family and some treasured friends are not physically with me. We lay out words to bridge our gap, convey emotions and reveal truths. I’m painfully familiar with how utterances can make or break my universe, turn my mood into a frantic pendulum.

I have felt much of words' consequences and my consciousness has been shaped much too often by mere words that I would never deny their power. Where action or physicality is not possible, words—whether spoken or written— become sufficient verbs to me.

Words can be so many different things to different people, but one thing is certain: Meaningful words make it possible for our individual worlds to collide. What we say can serve as keys we offer to others so they may gain insight into who we are, the life we've lived and even who we aspire to be. If we truly value ourselves and others, it will show in our words. It will also show in how much we listen and appreciate those other worlds we have the privilege of colliding with. Savor words, and while there is time, collide as much as you can with the worlds most precious to you.






*This piece was originally published on Catharsis under the title Crashing Into You (June 2011), and has now been slightly revised. 

Friday, January 26, 2018

Do You Repeat Yourself a Lot? This Technique Might Help!



I've stumbled upon a mind-blowing, stress reducing, and truly life-changing communication technique! This may prove especially useful when communicating with the males in your family, and though that might seem sexist, the reality is that this was borne out of my frustrations communicating with my husband and son. 

Here's what a normal conversation used to look like in our home:

Me: Do you need me to pick up your prescription after I run my errands later?
Husband (responding almost instantaneously):  What?
Me: Do you need me to pick up your prescription after I run my errands later?

And here's a common one with my son:

Me: Have you watered the plants yet?
Son(responding almost instantaneously)What?
Me: Have you watered the plants yet?

After years of operating this way, I finally got sick of repeating myself and feeling like my boys have become selectively hearing-impaired. It's exasperating!

One day, in my exasperation, I summoned my inner Dalai Lama and found the value of pausing...waiting...silence. I decided it was time to give up my 'echo'.

Our conversations then started looking more like this: 

Me: Do you need me to pick up your prescription after I run my errands later? / 
      Have you watered the plants yet?

Husband/Son (responding almost instantaneously):  What?

Me: (PAUSE...SILENCE....WAIT)....

Husband: Oh, no, it's ok. I already picked it up last night. 
Son: Not yet, Mama. I'll do it now.


I felt victorious over their selective impairment and I confirmed that it was all because they've gotten so used to my willingness to repeat myself that it's become a knee-jerk reaction for them to say 'What?'. Instead of truly listening to me, they've found it's just easier to ask for my echo, which would always inevitably come.

But now, I just wait for them to catch up. I give it a 3-5 minute pause and 98% of the time, they respond accordingly without me having to expend unnecessary energy in repeating myself. Of course there have been those very rare moments when they honestly didn't hear or understand me and that's perfectly fine. But at least now, I'm feeling like I'm approaching them with more patience as I wait for them to process and realize on their own what I just said. They're not stupid, nor deaf. Actually, I'm doing them a favor now by treating them like the smart males that they are, fully capable of comprehension and piecing together what they've just heard, even though they THINK they didn't hear. I'm giving them more credit than they give themselves! (Yes boys, you're welcome!)

I know this is part male brain wiring, part getting used to tuning me out. I can't change the former, so now I'm just training them to tune me back in. Once I find a way to train my boys how to read my mind so that things just get done automatically, I promise to let you know!


Let me know if this happens to you too, and even with female members of the family! I suspect this is not gender-specific, but a condition triggered in others by mothers.
 🤦🏻‍♀️