Thursday, August 10, 2017

Dear Garret

Dear Garret,

Last month two 2nd graders told me you were handsome. Of course you are. I often wonder if things were different what mischief you would be up to in school. How many trips to the guidance office you would take. How many girlfriends you will have. How many hearts you will break. I wonder and wonder. But then I catch myself. I tell myself to stop wondering. Because there are no answers for that. There are, however, answers for this, what we have right now, who you are right now. Perhaps the only mischief you are up to are the ones only your Mama knows. Your Mama who is also your guidance counselor and teacher rolled into one. We know full well how that plays out, don't we? Perhaps the only woman in your life will be me. And the only heart you will break is mine. Until the end of time. And you know what, my dear boy? That is okay. That is perfectly okay. It took me quite some time to come to this. But I think I may have finally come to terms with this part of our journey. I am sorry it has taken so long. And maybe there will be many more days I will still wonder. Forgive me. But know this: I love you. I love you. I love you. In all my wonderings and endless what ifs, I love you.

You are turning out to be a fine, handsome young man. Yes you are indeed. Allow me one last wondering in this letter. I wonder if you remember how I read to you over and over when you were three years old lines from a book. It said, "I love you forever, I like you for always, as long as I'm living, my baby you'll be." It rings true for you. I hope you do remember.

I love you, my baby.

Love always,


Dear Morgan

Dear Morgan,

When you laugh it is as if the hundred thousand angels in heaven are laughing with you

When you cry,  clouds are your friends,  their tears spilling over in torrential rain, crying with you

When you wrap your arms around my waist, hug me tight and we hold hands swinging round and round, I know what dancing with the stars must feel like

When you gaze at me, cup my face with your hands, and murmur words you and I can only understand, I know for a moment what heaven looks like

There are still many times I ask "Why?" And what if? And what is the meaning of all this. Then I remember a gift is a gift. And you, my dear boy, you and your kuya are the most precious of all.

I love you, I love you, I love you, remember that.

Mama Bea

Tuesday, July 25, 2017

This is Your Life

Your two boys

The little one with the handsome nose
who sings beautifully, purely

The bigger one with round cheeks,
who laughs and the whole world disappears

The little one who marches in the living room
skipping almost soaring, fingers covering ears, smiling

The bigger one who does not say anything
yet says a million things in the way he holds your hand

The bigger one who swings in the hammock
holding his piece of bread, iced water on the floor

The little one who says I love you, words held precious
The bigger one who shows I love you, arms wrapped around you

The little one who is turning into a young man who will still sing
soon he will grow tall, not far away, always close by

The bigger one who will grow bigger, rounder,
in the size of his body, in the size of his heart embracing your own

And you,
You, Mother, Mama, Nanay
you will love them all the days of your life

No other life but this. No greater joy than this.

Your two boys, the little one, the bigger one.
Them, they, you. You.

"Be happy for this moment. This moment is your life. " - Omar Khayyam

Sunday, July 23, 2017

Full Circle


Garret is 1 year old.

We decided to start a family early.  When I reach my 40's,  my child will be 16 years old by then. I want him to he to get to know me while I would still be at the prime of health. And we would know each other not only as Mother and child. But deeply as Mother and child. I would tell him millions of stories. I would tell him why I parent him the way I do, why I love him the way I do. So many things I plan to tell him.

I figure when  my child and I would come to an understanding of whatever the Universe  endowed us with through telling our stories and listening and knowing one another, I will have come full circle.


Morgan is born.
Garret is diagnosed. Autism Spectrum Disorder, the doctor said.


Morgan is diagnosed. Autism Spectrum Disorder, the doctor said.

2012, 2013, 2014, 2015, 2016. 

Therapists and teachers come and go. It is clear how far we have come, clearer how far we needed to go.


Garret is 12. Morgan is 9.
It dawns on me. I will not have grandchildren. As of the moment I do not know what that means. Or I refuse to face its definition. At least for now. 


I turn 37 this October. Obviously,  the Universe had other things in mind. Acceptance is an everyday thing as in embracing our truth one day at a time.

I do not have the conversations I imagined many times I'd have with my boys. Our story-telling, listening and knowing are of a different kind.

I, however, see the conversations that are not happening between "normal" parents and children.

I get frustrated wishing parents would see what they have. I tell myself, "If it were me..." then stop right there because I am not in their shoes. I am in my own. It is not up to me.


There is wisdom here somewhere.

Maybe it is that while I do not get to have the kind of conversations, the story-telling, listening and the knowing I imagined myself to have with my boys, I get to live every moment, fully present, paying attention to and relishing all the details of our life, celebrating every little miracle.

Perhaps it is that I get to be the parent they need, not the parent I want to be.

Maybe it is that I get to love them simply but fiercely, no questions asked.

Maybe this is what it means to know each other deeply as Mother and child.

Maybe this is the understanding the boys and I will come to arrive at.
And then, maybe this is what coming full circle truly means. 

Sunday, June 18, 2017


Watercolor paper, finger paint, brushes, big crayons and a couple of photos, chocolate cake from a local snack house, a hundred kisses and numerous thoughts fill this Father's Day.

When we decide to have children, what are our motivations? To extend our family's lineage? To ensure the longevity of our family's name? To live out our dreams, the ones we never had a chance to fulfill? To chart a different life from the ones we had? To make right what is not? To prove something to someone? Or to manifest the ultimate definition of love? To birth joy? To be happy? To seek truth? To forge meaning and purpose in our lives?

Garret is now 12 years old. Morgan is 9. I am turning 37 this year. If there is anything I have learned in over a decade of loving our boys and embracing their truth, it is that parenting hits you hard in the gut. You realize it is never about you, never was, never will be.  It is never about you living your unfulfilled dreams. It is never about you rebelling against the dictates of anybody. It is never about you proving anything to anyone. 

Parenting is always, always about them, our children. Parenting is a gift from the Universe to us that we may hold in the palms of our hands joy, not joy. Feel pain, desperation, struggle. Taste triumph. Experience healing. Feel love. Be love. Be blessed by grace, manifest grace. 

Parenting, whether we are fathers, mothers or caregivers, is a gift from the Universe to us so we may know what it truly is to behold the miracle of life.  

Happy Father's Day to the Papa of my boys. As you always say, "To be worthy of them." Yes, indeed to always be worthy of them.  

Tuesday, April 18, 2017

The Roles We Play

We lay in bed. Garret on my right, Morgan on my left. The room is dark. A curtain is drawn. A ray of light from the slats of bamboo seep through. Morgan laughs, murmurs. Garret hums, sings. I am quiet, lost in my own thoughts. 

"When we talk, she looks at me and she listens, " the mother said. She was talking about her little girl.  Her child will be in preschool this June.

"That's great!" I said. "Let's try to lengthen those 'talk times' you have with your child." I explained to her how she need not read a story from a book to spend time with her. She needed only to engage her child in conversation about whatever she wants to talk about. Take what happened in her day, for example. Just 30 minutes a day, I told her. Just try it for a week, I  continued to encourage her. 

My day job consists of talking to parents of neuro-typical or "normal" children, telling them to spend time with their child. My task, one of many is  to "remind" them of what needs to be done to further their child's growth in school. But really, when I think about it, I see myself simply as a parent having a dialogue with other parents.

The irony of my life does not elude me, I always say. Then again, the irony of my life becomes the role I play, the calling I have been born to heed to in this life.

And while I acknowledge this, at night when I come home and see my boys,  when we lay in bed, Garret on my right, Morgan on my left, and the room is dark, when a ray of light from the slats of bamboo seep through, when Morgan murmurs and laugh, when Garret sings and hums and I am quiet, lost in my own thoughts, there is a tug in my heart. And I allow myself to feel the tug, the hurt. What hurt? The hurt that I have to tell parents what they have. The hurt that I don't get to decide for them. The hurt that I only get to show them what they do have. The hurt that no matter what gift I know I have been blessed with in the persons of my two boys who have autism, I still long to have what they have, the gift of conversation with my boys.

They said, over time, it gets better. Or that I get better with this living with autism. Maybe, maybe not. One thing is true though, I have been called to bespeak a role. A role just like any other parent in this world-- Love. Love is the calling I have been born to heed to.  And what clearer form of love than to converse, to give attention and to be present. 

"Everything changed the day I figured out there was exactly enough time for the important things in m life." -Brian Andreas

Thursday, March 23, 2017


So much of how we speak are
Eyes, ears
Lips, nose

Hands, fingers
Belly, knees
Legs, feet

Water hoses and hoses of it
Paper strips
Pink things
Sighs, cries, laughter

Lined-up legos
Creased brows
Hums, drums

Gentle, tender
Light, quiet
Joyous shrieks
Snores, breaths
Face tilts
Teddy bears
Deep sleep.

So much of how we speak,

So much of how we love,
No words,

Just these.

"But we loved with a love that was more than love." - Edgar Allan Poe