January 26 for the past 30 years always called for some sort of celebration. It is the day that I met my ex-boyfriend at the Shopping Center in UP Diliman. Yes, my college sweetheart and now my partner for life. I can’t believe we have been together for so long. My daughters cannot imagine that we were steadies at an age much younger than they are now. He was 18 and I was only 20. Was it just yesterday that I fell in love with his “bad-boy looks”?

I rumple my husband’s gray hair and tease him that he hasn’t really gained that much weight. I have gained 40 more pounds yet Butch manages to lift my spirits up even at my most “ugly moments”. I cannot tell if he is just flattering me or he means it. I have gotten used to his flowery words for the past 31 years.

Time has mellowed both of us.

The thing is we learned along the way. We learned to compromise, to lower our pride, to be committed to our love and most importantly, to love ourselves first. Everyday we show love in words and in action. We continue to be romantic, and often whisper to each other ““I love you”. When we have our bad days, we just keep our distance.

Today, after 3 children, a death of our son, white hair, lines and creases and flabby tummies to boot, our love is stronger than it ever was …

So as we celebrate our day, we greet our Chinese brothers and sisters around the world as they welcome the Year of the Earth Ox. May it truly bring a “dutiful, family-oriented, and dependable year.”

Kung Hei Fat Choi!

About Noemi Lardizabal-Dado

You may contact Noemi (noemidado @ gmail.com) for speaking and consultancy services in the following areas: Parenting in the Digital Age (includes pro-active parenting on cyber-bullying and bullying) ; Social Business ; Reinventing One’s Life; and social media engagement. Our parenting workshop is called "Prep to Prime (P2P): Parenting in the Digital Age (An Un­Workshop)" P2P Un­Workshops are conducted by two golden women in their prime, Noemi and Jane, who have a century’s worth of experience between them. They are both accomplished professionals who chose to become homemakers. This 180­degree turn also put them on a different life course which includes blogging, social media engagement and citizen advocacy. They call their un­workshops Prep to Prime or P2P, for short, to emphasize the breadth of their parenting experience. They tackle different aspects and issues of parenting ­­ from managing pregnancies, prepping for the school years of children, dealing with househelp, managing the household budget, to maximizing one’s prime life and staying healthy through the senior years.

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