About Tina V. Reyes

I dance in syncopated beats & live a life with no regrets.

For My Son

Aside

Dear Lucas,

Everyday I wake up and fall asleep staring at your beautiful face plastered across my telephone screen. In the very wee hours of the morning in between trips to the bathroom, I find myself struggling to get up but looking forward to getting back to bed where I have a clear view of your picture, framed by my bedside. Everyday you make me happy.

Two weeks ago I told you that I made a very important decision. Today I realized why I made that decision, and hopefully when you are older, you will understand. In fact I think you already do, because each time I said something, you gave me a brave kick that seemed to say “right on!”. Today I am more strongly convinced I am ready for you — to love you, to take care of you, to protect you, to give you the best of myself.

As frightened as I am, I am looking forward to the next two weeks when I finally get to hold you and tell you what a blessing you have been in my life — despite all the odds. When that day comes, everything that happened in the past will stay there and will no longer matter. You and I will start anew. Just us two. I know you will fill my life with the light it needs to guide us in our journey together.

You, my son, are my one true great love.

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Love,

Mom

Crafts & Stuff & Pregnancy Pet Peeves

Growing up watching all those movies/shows with pregnant women who weep, throw tantrums, crave for the weirdest food in the middle of the night, and do and think all sorts of crazy things, I thought they were all just exaggerating. I never realized that being pregnant really DOES make you weep, throw tantrums, crave for the weirdest food in the middle of the night, and do and think all sorts of crazy things.

30 weeks preggers

I am now on my 30th-31st week of pregnancy; technically I can give birth now, but my son should ideally pop in about 8-9 weeks’ time. As my other pregnant friend puts it, we’ve come to the “single-digit countdown”. Things become more real from here on out.

Other things that have become more real are my pet peeves. I’m sure other moms-to-be (first time or “veterans”) share the same sentiments for some of them. Others things I can let pass, others — like these ones — I cannot.

1)     Going for the belly. Ugh, my biggest pet peeve! People should realize that this is encroaching on private property! Some people even go as far rubbing it for luck. Respect a pregnant woman’s private space. If you absolutely cannot help yourself, at least ask permission if she will let you feel her bump.

2)     Eat this. Don’t eat that. Back off. She knows what she can and cannot eat. If she’s not in the mood to eat the pregnancy superfood in front of her, she won’t. If she feels she’s entitled to the dessert in front of her, let her eat it. Even people on a diet are entitled to a cheat day. It is no different with a pregnant woman.

3)     Forcing your beliefs down her throat. Remember, each pregnant woman is different. Some will believe age-old traditions, others will not. Sure, there’s no harm in sharing your beliefs, but insisting that she follow them is just torture. Back off a little. Pregnancy is stressful and overwhelming enough without you pressuring her.

4)     Mocking her child’s name. It’s her child. Not yours.

5)     Asking too many questions. Being pregnant outside of a legally binding or common law marriage does stir a lot of intrigue. What about the father? Is he excited? Are you going to live together? Where will you live? Whose last name will the baby take?  STFU. If the mother-to-be does not volunteer information, it means she doesn’t want to talk about it, or she thinks you have no business asking her. Either way, you are in no position to be digging into such personal matters unless you are her (immediate) family, or a person she feels could help her figure things out. Even then you’ll have to restrain yourself & just wait until she opens the floor to talk about it. Rule of thumb: don’t ask, don’t tell.

6)     In the context of information shared or not shared by the mother-to-be, judging the other parent (i.e., her baby’s father) is an absolute no-no. Remember, pregnancy stress is much like grief (for the most part) – you cannot possibly put yourself in el preggo’s position enough to understand what’s going on in her relationship. As in asking too many questions, you are in no position to be criticizing her partner. And a note to other pregnant women dealing with relationship stresses – do not speak ill of your partner/your baby’s father. EVER.

7)     Questioning & judging her decisions. She’s the pregnant one. Not you. And last but not the least —

8)     Raining on her parade. These are exciting times. Let her be excited.

Speaking of excitement…allow me to get a little “bipolar” and switch to a happier mood. I have been so addicted to Pinterest lately, that every night before I go to bed, I make a list of all the DIY projects I’d like to do for Lucas. And today, I did these.

Lucas’ rockstar onesie. Also dyed my favorite (white) eyelet sundress & now it looks vibrant & new!

Spray-bleached stencil onesie.

Both projects up close

If you’re like me whose tendency is to blow up following each “encounter of the strange kind” with my pregnancy pet peeves, you can choose to channel all the pent up emotion to crafting and cleaning. Or you can simply sleep it off. Works either way.

It will be Friday in a few minutes, and although I’d like to say TGIF (I looked away as I typed that), I won’t because it’s making me hungry for Chicken Alfredo and Oreo Mudslide. So good night and good morning!

The final countdown

On August 28, I entered the homestretch of my pregnancy, so needless to say, a countdown to D-Day has also started anew. So excited am I at the birth of my son, Lucas, that even while still inside my womb, I have already hoped to live vicariously through him. I will let the photos do the talking.

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Yep, that’s a very young party boy in the making.

I don’t know what got into me, except that I know there’s not a lot of choices for little boys — especially here in the Philippines. Everything is either to stereotypically blue, or just simply not appealing. A fun and inexpensive way to dress up basic merchandise would be — make sure you’re sitting — heatpressing! For less than $3 (the PhP equivalent), you can buy a cotton onesie and pay for printing and labor for your baby’s uber cool new day wear. Not bad, right?

 

In other news, I am now on my 29th-30th week, and I have, like in the first trimester, fallen into the trap of quick exhaustion. All I want to do is sleep all day. Standing is exhausting. Sitting is exhausting. Add to that the calisthenics my son enjoys doing several times a day.

 

But one “nice” development is that I’ve regained my once-lost ability to even look at chicken…I can now safely say that I enjoy it again the way I used to. But on another note — I have become more and more absent-minded!

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Driving home from work that day, I realized I had this dress on backwards all day!

I have about 7-8 weeks to go before it’s safe to deliver. I’d ideally like to go for the full 40-week stretch, but my only hope is that Lucas doesn’t come out before he has to. Everyday I tell him that I can’t wait to finally hold him, but that there’s still so much getting ready to do so he has to stay in there a little while longer. I hope he listens!

 

Happy weekend, everyone! 

 

 

November 2012

A little over 10 years ago, I developed a love for kids with the birth of my youngest sister, Juno. She became the center of our lives the minute she was born.

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Juno with Ate Tina & Ate Karla (fresh from the shower!)

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Juno goofing around with Dad one weekday after work.

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Juno with Ate Ada & Ate Erika – the 3 bunsoys

It was also around the same time that I found out that things will never be as easy for me as it is for others.

I was 19 then. I had the world at my fingertips and the rest of my life ahead of me.

Fast forward to 2012…I find myself in what I would consider both a personally controversial and physically stressful pregnancy. Controversial because I now make it to the statistical cut of single moms, and physically stressful because my reproductive health problems from over 10 years ago have continued to manifest from the minute my doctor confirmed my pregnancy at 4 weeks. Week after week, it was one new problem after another. From a threatened abortion, to a threatened miscarriage, to 4-week bedrests without bathroom privileges, to a bout with food poisoning. To other physical and emotional factors thrown in the mix of what is already a very difficult period.

Part of this controversial period is the obvious scrutiny and judgment. As bad as it felt to know that the people you expect to be behind you are the first ones to bail on you & make you feel what a big mistake you’re making; as heartbreaking as it was to know that your happiness about this blessing is only secondary to theirs, I had to swallow it all. I knew that as complicated as our “relationship” was, we were doing this whole parenthood thing for a bigger reason — this is the single most significant miracle we could ever hope to witness. I wouldn’t have had it any other way.

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Our little one at 13 weeks.

So much has happened from that fateful day at the doctor’s clinic in March until today…about 84 days before D-Day. Each time I look back on everything we’ve been through, I grow only in gratitude knowing for sure who I can count on.

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Broken but together in all the right places.

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The best girlfriends anyone could ask for.

I also grow more and more in love with that no-longer-unidentified floating object inside my womb.

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It’s a boy!

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This one I can at least make out. Hello baby love…you look handsome.

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Honestly…I fail to see how this is the genitalia.

It is 28 August 2012. I am 28 weeks pregnant with my first (and only?) child — a son I have decided to name Lucas. In 12 more weeks, we will get to hold him and tell him that he is everything to us his name means — Light.  I cannot wait.

Regret Nothing

When you’re older and (hopefully) much wiser, you begin to think back on your life, especially within the recent 5-year period. The things you’ve done, the friends you’ve made, the bridges you’ve burned, and the journeys you’re yet to make.

I can only speak for myself when I say that my life has been full of regrettable decisions, which I can say I have somehow “forced” myself to live with to justify the artificial “correctness” of the same.

Dictionaries define the word regret in many different ways, but you will always find the words mourn, loss, miss, and sorry in practically every entry. To say that I have mourned the loss of or feel sorry for the decisions I’ve made would be a little more than accurate. Like: I regret having been in such sorry relationships. I regret having moved from a professional environment where I was perfectly happy, causing me to lose my professional spunk. I regret having given of myself to fair-weather friends. In short, there’s a long list of things that I regret having done. And in the same respect — not done.

But when the feeling lasts only until you’ve managed to pick yourself up, is that still considered regret? I’d like to think not.

August 13, 2010 remains to be a significant date for me. I decided to walk away from one such sorry relationship, whose core foundations were lies and betrayal. I remember it was Friday the 13th and on a whim, I drove to P&P in Bel-Air to get a very outward expression about the new life I decided I was going to live. A life with no regrets.

Haud Desideria is Latin for "No regrets". Thanks, Myke Sambajon.

It’s been over a year since that (freaky) Friday, and I still struggle with myself sometimes. I make decisions with a lingering question whether this is something I am bound to regret. I also ask myself — is there supposed to be a conscious effort to live a life with no regrets? Am I really ready and/or able to live a life with no regrets?

I guess you can say that I’m one among countless others who tries to chalk everything up to experience. I’d also be one among many who will tell you that it’s not accepting defeat if you do. Knowing that I’m responsible for making my life a chaotic mess must mean that I am in control. In the short time that I’ve been trying, I’ve learned that going full speed ahead on life without regrets starts from learning to take things in stride.

At my age, I cannot tell you that I’ve been through hell and back. In fact, I think I’ve lived a semi-charmed life. What I can tell you though, is that it hasn’t always been pretty. Nor has it always been easy. I’ve had my share of the rough and tumble, and I like it. I like that I can burst my own bubble and tell myself to get my head out of the clouds. I like that I can give myself the gift of getting up and ridding my life of what I don’t need. I like that I’ve learned to roll with the punches.

My father is a very wise man of 52. He has and always will be the biggest voice of reason in my life. On my high school graduation, he imparted the most valuable lesson that my 17-year old heart absorbed more than my 5-year old brain did. “While it is important to better yourself and learn new concepts, it’s not as important as learning how to learn”.

To me, “learning how to learn” is exactly what “taking things in stride” means. When you “take things in stride”, you arm yourself with the power to deal with your troubles responsibly. You arm yourself with the ironic assurance that uncertainty is never a bad thing. In fact, it means you’re not stupid. You give yourself the opportunity to grow in spirit. You give yourself the gift of grace.

I have the answers to my questions. Is there supposed to be a conscious effort to live a life with no regrets? Yes. Am I really ready to live a life with no regrets? We’ll see. For now, I’m just learning how to learn.

Ignorance Is Bliss & Home Is Where The Heart Is

For the first time since college, I can honestly say that I have no idea what direction my life is taking, and I’m loving every second of the uncertainty. Or ignorance, if you would.

Since over a month back, I’ve simply been trying to “pick up the pieces”. When this all started, I was so afraid of the unknown — which is odd because if you asked me to choose between the devil & the deep blue sea, I’d easily pick the deep blue sea. I was so afraid of not having a grand plan for bouncing back. And with all the fear, I was afraid to let myself fall in the trap of depression.

I moved back into our family home around the same time. I have yet to get to the unpacking of everything I brought back home, but my room is back to its “I could die here” comfort — the sound of my sisters bickering right outside my door as they prepare for school; the dogs excitedly barking and scratching the lanai door as Helen comes out with their breakfast; the mocha & chestnut-colored walls that hold Judy & Mickey in all their monochrome glory; even our neighbor’s daily dose of Chris-Tsuper has become music to my ears.

I’ve also always been one to make plans and make sure they materialize, but since unemployment kicked in, I’ve found planning to be an effort of tremendous futility. For one, plans of late never make it past the 5-day incubation period. Second, I’ve come to a point in my life where I start to “desire” for things to just fall into place as naturally as they should. It’s not such a bad thing…

My good friend that I fondly call Scooter asked me a few days ago how the “suffocation” of home made me move back. The easy answer is that it’s the practical thing to do when you’re unemployed. Plus, there’s a strange feeling of bliss the minute I see our front door. The feeling envelops me so warmly, I couldn’t think of a better place to unburden myself, and let go of all my worries. At home, there’s no need to “escape”.

And home makes it easier to not have a plan, and still be just alright.  

 

Doogie-fied!

I spent about three weeks downloading four seasons of Doogie Howser, MD, only to find out that stowed somewhere inside my DVD barrell were 3 discs of all 94 episodes, spanning 1989 to 1993.

Doogie Howser was a craze in the late 80s. I remember watching it after dinner every Friday night on Channel 2, and I always got so excited just hearing the first few bars of the theme song. So in a fit of nostalgia, I “Doogie’d” myself to sleep early this morning, and continued the “Doogie-fying” the rest of the day. In fact, I’m still on it now. I don’t know about you, but I know that didn’t sound right.

It was cute to watch a pubescent Neil Patrick Harris save lives as the kid doctor from Eastman Medical Center. And as annoying as his voice and baggy clothes were, it was especially cuter to watch Vinnie Del Pino (Max Casella) knock Doogie Howser off his high horse. I happen to think that his character is the wisest, most clever, most passionate, and oftentimes, most morally upright.

I enjoyed watching the two best friends grow up, but by the time they got to the second season, the show somehow lost its appeal to me.

  1. They synthesized the theme song;
  2. Doogie & Vinnie moved in together but their co-existence was short-lived;
  3. Wanda’s voice became smaller with each minute she spent in art school. I mean if you’re angry, be ANGRY, not ingenue;
  4. Vinnie grew increasingly grumpy and obsessed with sex, but also quite pretentious since entering film school;
  5. Janine became more obviously dumb;
  6. Nurse Curly Spaulding’s hair got shorter and shorter in an effort to keep up with the turn of the decade;
  7. Paebo Bryson and James Ingram were often artists in an episode’s soundtrack;
  8. Doogie Howser started dating older women and became an obvious manifestation of Barney Stinson; and worst of all
  9. His nightly personal journals were becoming less and less genuine. They seemed to have come straight out of a bad screenplay.

It’s sad because as much as I enjoyed watching the full episodes, nothing was more enjoyable for me than watching Doogie Howser type away in his HP computer, which he switched on by clicking a small button on the right side of his screen. And he used the same computer throughout the four seasons — proof that some things remain the same throughout time.

Of the 90 something episodes of Doogie Howser, M.D., my favorite was when Doogie misconstrued an invitation for insemination to be an invitation for sex. With a much older woman. Who wanted Doogie’s genes. He wrote on his journal:

October 7, 1989… Today I made my first adult decision. I decided to stay a kid a little while longer.

We all develop a certain form of maturity as we age. I use the words develop and form because maturity is not for everyone past the age of 18, and because the word maturity in itself is ambiguous. I’d like to believe that I’ve developed my own form of maturity, especially in the last 5 years. It’s an often cynical but open-minded approach to reality, and as “worldly” as I am, I’m surprised I can still be quite idealistic.

It’s funny how you don’t have to be 10 to be a kid. I turned 28 this year, and I’m feeling the clamor of breaking loose more and more each day. Let’s make this simple. I want to indulge in my version of simple joys. I want to do foolish (not stupid) things in the name of fun. I want to get wasted everyday, from 4pm onwards for as long as I physically can. I want to sit on the sand in my bikini and play playlist wars with my best friends. I want to be carefree and be carefree with someone. And with everything I want to do, I believe everyone has a few delusions. And that it’s a wonderful thing to take these delusions seriously. They make you adult.

So I think I’m going to stay a kid a little while longer…this kid.

Circa 2005