Here’s an ABS-CBN Insider interview of J. Angelo, a stay-at-home dad and a professional blogger (Problogger) whom I met in the iBlog summit 2.
It was dinner time. Only Butch and I sat by the dinner table. “We’re alone.” My husband sighed. “This is a preview of our empty nest” . My two daughters moved in to their dormitory yesterday. Of course, they will be home during the weekends or on wednesday for my daughter studying in UP. It seems my husband is more emotional than me when it comes to the children . Like I wrote in a previous entry, Butch is my co-homemaker and acts more motherly than me sometimes. Well, I teased “we need to live together in harmony now that we’re alone most of the time.“. He nodded “We have all the time to be ourselves but it’s lonely without the children“. He continued to mope. What we felt is normal. We’ve heard of empty nest syndrome as college students when we left our parents for dorm living. We both came from large families and the empty nest didn’t occur overnight. We had no idea what it was like until both of our children left for semi-independent dorm living. After reading my daughter’s declaration of semi-independent living, I wonder how my husband will take it after she leaves us after graduation. So what is empty nest syndrome?
Empty nest syndrome refers to the grief that many parents feel when their children move out of home. This condition is typically more common in women, who are more likely to have had the role of primary career. Unlike the grief experienced when (for example) a loved one dies, the grief of empty nest syndrome often goes unrecognised, because an adult child moving out of home is seen as a normal, healthy event. Upset parents may find few sources of support or sympathy. In many cases, [tag]empty nest syndrome[/tag] is compounded by other difficult life events or significant changes happening around the same time, such as retirement or menopause. Source
My husband is quite a character. I thought I knew him so well. After all, we were steadies for 7 years. Living together revealed an unknown facet of his personality. He likes to market in the palengke (wet market) and do the grocery. Not only that, he is very nurturing and more motherly than me. A fussy father er mother. He loves washing the dishes and even doing the laundry (when the laundrywoman is not available). This was quite a surprise revelation and a minor irritant at first. He can even iron clothes. I can cook, bake, organize and clean the house but I don’t relish the idea of laundry or ironing chores. When the kids were sick with asthma, he stays up all night and monitors their breathing, and give their medication. I grew up in a family where dad was the sole breadwinner and left household chores with the females. My 3 brothers were spoiled by their sisters and my mom.
I was at the pet shop of Makati Cinema Square, looking for an anti-flea medication for the pets at home when I spotted these kitties. How adorable. This Birman kitten mewed as I approached the cage. So cute. Then did a cutesy pose. He looks like a cross between a Siamese cat and a Persian cat. I looked at the price. Birman Cat, No papers, 10,000 pesos ($196.00). 10,000 pesos, really? I exclaimed. The salesman said it costs 36,000 pesos ($705.00) if the cat came with papers but he could gives me 1000 pesos off the asking price. Our Siamese cat came without papers and cost only 2,000 pesos over 7 years ago. But this is a Birman Cat. Unlike the Siamese cat, Birman cats are affectionate and soft-spoken. Lauren’s Siamese pet can be such a loud mouth. I really want to buy a pet cat of my own or even adopt an ordinary cat. See, the existing pets at home are owned by the 2 girls. They refuse to be petted by me whenever the girls are around. The kitties clamber up to my chair only when the 2 girls are at school
I don’t think my husband will approve of a third cat at home. He’s asthamtic. But out of his love for the girls, he allowed them to have pets. In fact, he surprised me by buying “The Everything Cat Book“. It’s enjoyable to read and contains a lot of information I never knew in caring for cats. He knows I love these furry balls.
But a cat book is different from having a third cat. Mother’s day is coming soon, as Lauren quipped. Hmm?!
Creatively-challenged me had a great time at our monthly Compassionate Friends meeting. Instead of our usual sharing sessions, we turned it into a family activity involving [tag]art therapy[/tag]. Cathy arranged a special session with Color Me Mine Philippines just for our group.
For this meeting, I also invited my daughter, Lauren. My other daughter had a singing performance so she begged off. Lauren brought her boyfriend along to the meeting with us (We allow a bereaved family member to bring a friend to the first meeting ).
She giggled as she sat down:
“Wouldn’t it be funny if someone will approach us and ask how we lost a loved one?“.
“Why are you sending her away?”
Oh dear. Am I a bad mother? I thought. My husband called out from the dining room as I was busy fixing the food for my second daughter in the kitchen. M planned to move in to her friend’s apartment near the UP campus. See, she’s taking summer classes coupled with daily singing rehearsals. I tell you, her schedule is crazy. Classes start at 7:00 AM and her rehearsals end at 10:00 PM. Driving from Makati to Quezon City was out of the question. It’s not the gasoline expense . My time is wasted because of our stupid traffic jams. I can do more productive work like fixing the house or letting my business grow instead of getting stuck in traffic. But no…our traffic is so bad that 3 hours of my daily life is wasted down the drain just driving to and fro Makati and Quezon City. Hiring a driver is out of the question. I can’t afford it. Besides, drivers need to rest too.
You know how tiring it is for me to drive back and forth. I said. She needs to be semi-independent. When I was her age, I had no mother to take care of me. I had to mother myself.
(View enlarged book cover) Alma Miclat, a friend and co-founder of The Compassionate Friends finally gave me the date for the book launch of their book, “Beyond the Great Wall”. It’s a family journal written by award winning writer, Mario Miclat, his wife, Alma and daughters, Maningning and Banaue. Maningning died a few months after my son’s death in 2000. Unlike me, Alma transformed her grief by starting the Maningning Foundation, whose mission is to recognize, nurture and promote Asian, especially Filipino artists 28 years and below through awards and creative programs. I hope you drop by the book launch to meet Mario and Alma Miclat and eventually buy their book. The book promises to be an interesting read . For 15 years, Alma’s family lived in the shadows of the Great Wall.
Here is the press release: