Monday, July 10, 2006
counting our blessings
when you come from the philippines, the grocery in USA is like disneyland. the chicken and eggs are super big, the meats are clean and lean, there are butter subtitutes that taste like butter and double-churned fat-free, sugar-free ice cream that tastes like regular. even filipino food here tastes better. plus, food is cheap, specially chicken. thus, i have about 40 chicken recipes to counter, "chicken again?"
i count chicken as a blessing because in the philippines, it could be noodles for many.
in counting my blessings, i realized perspective, not actuality, is the key. for in manila, native chicken can be "free range," after eating good filipino food, someone washes the dishes, and we miss ube and mango ice cream flavors.
my friend challenged me to be grateful for 10 things a day. easy at first, but i had to come up with new ones (without repeating) every day. i find that this attitude is exciting because there are actually new blessings everytime.
my biggest blessings may very well be my biggest challenge--my kids, all 5 of them. i am thankful that i get the chance not just to parent them, but to parent them the best way i can. i am blessed that we are all together, starting a new chapter in our lives. i marvel at how they trusted our decision as a family and how they rise to the occasion of migrating, adjusting and feeling their way around here.
to see them grow into fine young men is exhilirating to me as i slowly learn that they have their own personalities that they are trying to exert. that i helped them carve themselves is more satifying than looking at my printed by-line in the paper. i have to hurry up and work on accepting that one of them has a foot out the door--and i must not weigh him down as he spreads his wings.
to know them by the smell of their hair--one smells milky, the other one like flowers, the other one a bit earthy; the older ones almost manly with the faint smell of handsome deodorant only discernable when i ask for a hug.
to watch my youngest one as she naps, i memorized the color of her milky skin and spy
that she has baby hair on her back, so i will remember her exactly this way when i am looking out the window from my rocking chair. . .
that my husband is a good soul, and that he is healthy is the B in my blessings. that we both get to play badminton is a privilege. i look forward to many adventures with him when we are 50. meantime, i am glad that i made this move with him.
that we are closer as a family because we have to depend on each other is precious. we like staying home and hanging out. the boys clean the cars and mow the grass in the week-ends. the little girls play house with the balikbayan box. we started a small tradition of brunch day on saturdays--french toast, bacon, and rice. i am sure we will look back at this experience fondly one day.
that i can work from home and watch all of this happen--what a gift!i have taken care not be sucked into the american rat race, and cared more about just being than being something. that our garden blesses us with organic vegetables and lends me peace of mind is amazing. that we have TFC (the filipino channel) so we can watch wowowee and the pinoy soaps, for phone cards (14 cents/min) to call my dad and my lola, and the internet that makes keeping in touch way easier, and this blog. . . how did we live without these in the 80's?
that we are nursing new friendships with generous souls who like to help us out. it's wonderful that when you ask for assistance, the Lord leads you towards what you need, and the exact people/signs/books that can help you. bookstores have been a lifeline for me here because they are so huge and varied, they have comforted me in many ways.
that i get to know my mom more and that she is doing so well after her kidney transplant. that my brothers and i are in touch and actually miss each other.
to yaya syrel--because without her, this would not have been possible. it's a running joke when i told ricky, umuwi na siya huwag lang si yaya syrel. but it's not a joke that without yaya syrel, my perspective would shift widly!
how funny that inspite of a tight budget in the USA, i am surprised that my perspective of our blessings have nothing to do with material stuff, nor location. so maybe we are on the right track. . .
watch out for midlife, she can be a temptress, prompting one to ask, "is there all there is?"
what is your biggest blessing?