• Jasmine Mendiola

The Prodigal Father: A 30 Day Trial

Its just so hard to explain to everybody. Because everybody deserves an explanation. And inasmuch as I do not have to do the explaining, my side of the story–the most aggravated and hurt of all–only have the best hopes and worst fears to conquer.

Try as I may to amuse myself with how funny I can throw my anger at the object of this writing, the truth is, it rattles me everyday how he can just walk back in OUR life. I gave him a free exit. His re-entrance will cost him, believe me.

But as I have told my most loving and protective sister, it is not my place not to forgive. I am not religious. But I believe in the goodness of the world. And I–unlike how most of us perceive his family in the most judgemental way–was raised with fear of God and the kind of humility that shaped me into the mother that I have become. I have forgiven. And I need to welcome and nurture the circumstances now albeit of selfishness and pride. The fact that this reconciliation has transpired is proof that five years of choosing to be the better person without inflicting pain or vengeance reap benefits.

I consider this an accomplishment. Because it has exceeded all imaginable expectations. None. Everyday is a surprise. A pleasant one at that. But no one knows how long it will last. I am giving it 30 days at least as some friends have suggested.


As of blog time, Mio and I have the same routine and he seems unaffected by the presence of this strange man (if I can call him that already). It gladens my heart that Mio, at the tender age of four had the balls to say “I do not need a dad.” It gives me a sense of fulfillment knowing that to my son, to the person who matters the most, WE did not fail in making his life complete; that he does not have a void in his life; and that he knows he is surrounded by love.

I have all of you to thank for supporting me during the hardest times and celebrating the most glorious days of Mio’s early life. I can only imagine the unearthed wrath the circumstances might have caused–especially to those who have protected us from getting hurt. I am sorry for sharing this burden–and all other burdens I have had. But the right thing to do is to give them a chance to make up for the lost time and stay close.


The enemy has raised his flag and is ready for his beating. This is how he fights his battle. This is how he has proven his worth to be called Mio’s dad. So far…



Background


I gave birth to Mio in April 2004. Few knew who got me pregnant the year before. He was a boyfriend of a few months. But a close friend and a childhood sweetheart as it may be called since 1994. Fear and the lack of maturity have gotten the best of him. And the rest is history.


I called him Christmas 2007 to apologize for being so arrogant and selfish. I always knew in my heart I pushed him away and did not give him a chance to decide if he wanted in. But he did not fight for it either. His indecisiveness would have caused me more problems throughout my pregnancy. I had to be ruthless so that I can brave whatever storm there was for me and my child-to-be. With or without him. So I made my peace after years of intentionally keeping him at a distance (not that he tried to come near anyway) only to no avail.


Day 1 (Oct 8)


Fiamma


The few times I get to encounter him would be unlikely. If you put us in one room he would more often than not turn his back to me or scamper out the door. He was always obviously scared of me or of facing the truth that I carry. That night was different though. A few drinks gave him enough courage to come up to me and apologize. “Jay, sorry sa lahat.” The rest of the evening would have been simply a night of two civilized exes putting the past behind. But the fact that Mio will always be there probably boggled him all night and he bought me drinks while I caught up with his friends and we talked, and we talked and we talked… until he cried. “I’m such a fuck ass, Jay. I’m so sorry. Soon as I get by I meant to help. kahit di mo na malaman pano, siguro his college, tutulong ako.” Or something like that in between sobs. He took me home after dinner and the unimaginable happened.


The fuck ass went up and saw Mio asleep on the bed. I would have captured the scene in a dream sequence if I had the chance but i was too amazed of what was happening. He sat on his bedside and touched Mio’s face. Then he kissed him on the forehead. And he walked out.

I called him back and asked him “now what?” And he walked back in and cried “Di ko alam san ako maguumpisa. Di ko alam anong gagawin ko. Pano mo nagawa? Ang sama-sama ko… sorry talaga Jay”



I was crying myself. But I had to tell him that Mio and I are ok and that modesty aside, we didn’t need him. And I reminded him that I always believed in my heart that he was innately good and that if he ever wanted to be part of his son’s life, I am in no position to say no. Mio sat up wondering why there were two people crying on the carpet. “Who’s there Mom?” And Roman walked up to him and introduced himself. “Hi Mio. I’m Roman. I’m your Daddy.”

And Mio said that he didn’t want one but Roman answered, “I understand Mio. I’ll work on it.”

When he left Mio didn’t go back to sleep. He asked me:


“I don’t want a daddy Mom. I just want you and me.”


“What can I do Mio? He’s here now. I found him.”


“Where did you find him Mom?”


“Somewhere. I told you you had a dad naman tlga right? He’s mom’s old friend.”


“Is he your friend now?”


“I’m not sure babe. We’ll see.”


“His name is Roman? I don’t like Roman.”


“That’s ok. Would you rather call him Mao?”


“Yes. Mao.”


DAY 2 (October 9)


Eat Bulaga! Conti’s. Club Princess. Good Earth. Temple. Piedra.

I thought it was all a dream. But I looked at my camera and there were pictures! I looked at my phone and there was a message:


Jay! I meant every word I said… just got home. I need to tell my family, please give me time. Get ready! 🙂



I doubted it because I heard the same words when I got pregnant. He asked me what time I’d be off from work because he wanted to talk. I couldn’t believe it was happening. I took the day off and asked him if he can just drive me to some errands for work while we talked all day.

Mio was casual when Roman picked me up. It seemed as if he was just one of my other friends. That was quite a relief.

Roman wanted me to get angry but it was just easier to be glad he was finally taking initiative. You know what I mean? I’d lash back to him with rants every now and then but I didn’t hurt him. I told him every resentment I felt, all the bad things that was said… in between his ex girlfriend throwing hysteria everywhere. That’s a different story but like I said, its none of my business although I honestly could have said that Roman owed Mio that day to fix things. Girlfriend issues should be the least of his concerns.

We made it clear at least we weren’t getting back together. Just that he’d find a way to be there for Mio. How he’d do it was a vague matter. All that I counted on was that we’ll take it one day at a time, spend more time together so we can gauge if he really belongs in Mio’s life or even if he actually wants to. I told him that there’s no turning back from this point. He would really have to go through this and stand by it from now on.





I did my work and ate in between. We met up with his friends and we met up with mine. Took a dip into each other’s worlds. We came home to Mio to find him peacefully asleep. He kissed him again one more time before he left.


DAY 3 (October 10)


It was a busy day for me and I thought it should all go back to normal. It turned out to be more dramatic than I expected, having reality kick in and scare me by reminding me that I had pain and anger buried somewhere. And that my loved ones cared about me so much to actually allow me to put Mio through that risk. For another time, Roman assured me “don’t worry na please Jay.” It was as if I could actually believe what he was saying.


DAY 4 (October 11)

At the struck of midnight, he started work like it was his Monday. While I spent all of Friday night making up for the time I used up for work the day before. He’d ask if Mio’s asleep already and if I had plans of going home. I wasn’t about to feel guilty for anything. If for anything, Roman should be ashamed he’d even try to joke around with me although I honestly didn’t mind. Under the impression that I was upset (only because I didn’t want to give him the luxury of knowing that I was already a bit impressed by his concern and comfort) he says:


Jay, sori. I dnt want u to get mad or frustrated with me again. I’ll stop joking around if it upsets you. I knw dat u went through hell and back.. 4 dat i apologize. What i can say is, im hre now n im staying. Tc 🙂



It seemed too good to be true.



Condo. Metrowalk. Rockwell.


The sun was about to rise and I wasn’t done preparing for my bridal fair for that Saturday. I asked him to wake me up so I can get more errands done. Not counting on anything, I put up all alarms. And yet he did call and woke me up. Made sure I was up. He even dropped by with breakfast and coffee, to which I ingratefuly said:


“Anong ginagawa mo dito wala naman ung anak mo?”


“Naawa kc ako syo, dami mo pa gagawn saka wla kang ksma.”


“Ay! Ngayon ka pa naawa sakn after 4 years? Ang galing mo ah!”



Sarap hiritan ni Roman. Kawawang-kawawa. But he takes all things like this with a grain of salt and charges it for what he owes. He took me where I needed to go. On my way down he offers to exchange ipods so we can take a glimpse of maybe what inspires us or our lifestyle.. only he knows. After that he went straight to fix his girlfriend problems.


DAY 5 (October 12)


Rockwell. Manila Polo Club.



He wasn’t done with THE talk until late of Sunday. And because he even bothered to call and ask about his son his ex calls me. I reply with a cold “wala akong pakialam kung magkabalikan kyo or hindi kc issue nyo yan. Like i said, Mio and I get by. The least i want is for either of you to cause me any more trouble. And if mahahassle lng si Mio, makakapatay lng ako so sakanyang-sakanya ka na. Di ka namin kailangan kung ganyan lng.”


Roman, for the first time, put his foot down and said, “wag ka naman mag-desisyon ng ganyan Jay. Nandito nko. Aayusin ko to. Patience lng please. Sorry nasasangkot ka pa pero dapat labas ka na talga dito.”

Impressive. We’ll see.

That night he dares me to ask what I needed. And true enough I needed a car to egress my bridal fair setup and quickly take me to my bride’s touch up. It was a Sunday, so Mio was with me too like how we would spend our Sunday evenings. So the three of us ride his Jazz. Yes, he has a Jazz for a car. Sbi ko nga “kapal ng mukha mo, bilibili ka pa ng kotse!” and then Mio exclaims upon seeing it, “It’s your car Mom.”

R : No, that’s not your Mom’s car.

M : It’s Mommy’s car.

R : Ok.

Wahahaha! Now I have a car and a Manong Tony to boot. (Roman’s complete name is Roman Antonio. And he has vowed to help me around whenever he can. And I quote:)


Np jay.. from now on.. as much as I can na 🙂 ay, thers this song SLOVO-KILLING ME.. everytime I hear it, I remember u.. medyo bagay lyrics sa nangyari satin 🙂

He was referring to one of the songs in his ipod. Look it up if you want. The song that used to remind me of him was something that went like “you’re just too good to be true.. can’t take my eyes off of you..” He sang that to me when we were 17 by the clubhouse swimming pool during a Phase D party. Baduy.


DAY 6 (October 13)

Monday was supposed to be my “back to reality!” day. This was it. I was early for my weekly Total Girl meeting and the whole day was set for office errands. In the middle of traffic I find myself sobbing. I suddenly remembered the hurt of being alone and all the hardships I went through. I still couldn’t believe that the person who turned his back on me is back. And I seriously felt I can get used to him being around. I couldn’t. I had to be strong and stay true to what I said: nothing’s going to change. No expectations. Everything he does is just an addition. But if he leaves again I’m not quite sure how Mio will handle it. Or moreso how I would. This isn’t just any guy, you know? He’s the father of my kid. If this doesn’t work out, how f@#ked up am I, right? But wait. This isn’t about me. The dilemma kicks in while he rests in daylight.

My best friend Shred invites me out apparently for his own reasons. I thought he wanted to give me the pep talk. I wake up Roman at 11pm so he can make it on time his 12mn shift. I need to make sure he works his ass off from now on, right? That’s all there is to it (I’m defensive at this point, blog time October 21) Realizing that our ipods are about to die out, we decide to exchange connectors or chargers. I decided to drop by his office since its on the way Shred’s usual route. Shred gives him the sindak talk and Roman is even thankful that I introduce them one by one. I think he handled it pretty well. He was just being agreeable to everything Shred tells him. That was practice for me. He ought to be prepared to get a lot of those interrogations especially from my parents who he’s been dodging since we were 13. Imagine. Way before, Roman would literally jump off our fence upon hearing our car driving in the garage whenever he’d be at home courting me. What a whimpy dog. (Eventually, the anger kicks in) On my way home I get this message from him:


Jay.. Txt me pag asa condo MO na ikaw. 🙂 tnx 4 droping by.. Tnx rin na isa isa mo silang pnapakilala skin. Tc!

Upon arriving home, I do as he says and get this reply:


Ok Mommy! Good nasa bahay MO na ikaw.. kiss mo ung anak NATIN gudnyt 4 me. tnx.

Gusto ko tumambling.


DAY 7 (October 14)

I asked Roman to commit basic stuff for Mio as suggested by friends. If he fails in those things he himself committed, minus points. I told him he can think about it like how much time he’ll spend, how much or what he’ll financially shoulder… things like those. I also brought up the possibility of me taking a consultancy position in Summit. Same work, pretty much the same pay but no more employment benefits and regular hours. I expressed my concern about not having a stable pay every 15th and 30th anymore and that Mio won’t have his health card coverage anymore. Roman readily commits to make Mio his beneficiary and dependent in his company. As of blog time (October 21) he already has Mio’s documents to be filed and apply for those things. That’s a huge step I think. Quite promising really.

That night was stressful for other reasons. How inconsiderate can other people be right? And to cut the long story short I had to pull some strings just to scare a freak away and stop bothering me. Roman realizes that I am capable of many things, even to hurt him (or blog about him!) but I never did that the entire time he was such an ass. I realize that the goodness in me had the sense to make sure I had enough patience with Mio’s dad for the sole reason that he is his father. If I did anything remotely unlawful to that person, you think my son would appreciate his mother? Or grow up in a world without fear or hate? I had to make sure Mio would not see remorse or anger when the time comes that he comes looking for it. That’s how I make him a better person.


Day 8 (October 15)

Roman goes straight to the condo after his 9am last shift. We surprise Mio in school, had lunch and went to 2 toy stores to find the perfect costume and Mao’s “I’m here now!” present. Roman finds his way around me by telling Mio what he wants and is amazed at Mio’s wits. For example I flip a cigarette upon stepping out of the car, he tells Mio,tt “Mio tell Mommy not to smoke anymore.” And so my son will say so. “Tell Mommy to straight body.” May pet peeves sya. But like what I always say, wala syang karapatan magreklamo.

“I told your Mommy we should go to Toy Kingdom.” He insists to Mio. Probably because I’m a homegrown Summitteer, I prefer Toys R’ Us but apparently, the bacogan (?) toy Mio wants isn’t available there. So we head to Megamall for the huge ass toy store there. It was like my imagination unfolding right before my eyes. I remember making a remark that one of the simple reasons I didn’t want Roman involved in raising Mio was because I might end up taking care of two boys. It was adorable and worrysome at the same time to see Mio and Roman running around the toy store testing toys, pointing at cars and robots… its either boys will be boys or Mio clearly got his knack for cars from his father (still takes getting used to referring to him as that). “Mio look at this toy! You like this?” I remind them that we need to focus on getting Mio a costume first. I even lost them at one point! I turn my back to look for a halloween costume and the next thing I know the two boys are nowhere in sight! I panic and call Mao (I call Roman Mao, did I say that already? That’s my uncool nickname for him when we were 14 just because I thought Roman was too pa-cool like he actually is) and found out they were already all the way in the heroes section.

It was nice to watch Roman helping Mio decide between Flash or Batman. And insisting that Mio tries them on first. It was all him. He even showed Mio a glass display so he can see his reflection against a life-size Batman. His pick for the day. It was even nicer to see Mio really having a good time. Or maybe he always is in a toy store. But its not everyday that Mio probably gets the feeling that this time around, he’s gonna get whatever he wants. Only this time.

Roman asks me if Mio’s the kind of kid who always gets what he wants. I say no. At least not with me. Precisely why I insisted on having the two of us have our own home so I can instill the reality of how difficult it is for us and that he can’t get everything he wants but that his Mom works hard for it and tries to be two people at the same time. I still think I’m that person. Except that I’m quite torn knowing that I can’t really claim to be single parenting now, can I?

Roman was afraid Mio was the kind of kid who cries if he sees something he likes and doesn’t get it. Mio asks for a coloring book and I remind him that we just bought one last week and that he hasn’t even finished coloring it. Conversation over. In between Mio telling stories I’d usually correct his grammar, his tenses… I do that too with Roman to which he tells his son, “we should be careful with how we talk Mio. We have an English teacher right here.” Roman would fidget, “he’s four. Of course he can’t speak English well.” Not an excuse for me. “Exactly! Would you rather I still correct his tenses when he’s as old as you?” Strike three. Hehe

We both got upset when we found out the bacogan toy was already sold out the day before, the same day it was delivered to the stores. So Mio eyes on a guitar and Roman realizes his son isn’t much of a sports fan or a future jock. “Jay, baka maging bading or weird si Mio paglaki.” To which I say, “kasalanan mo yon. Lahat ng pwedeng mangyari kay Mio, pag mali or sablay, kasalanan mo kasi iniwan mo kme ng apat na taon e! Mula ngayon wala na kong pwedeng gawing mali bilang magulang kc inako mo na lahat.” Sobrang sama ko ba?

The guitar was quite expensive and Roman asks if it was the type I’d give on Christmas. I unfortunately had to recall what Joao and I used to give Mio. I said the last gift we got him was more expensive by a thousand. And his birthday gift was around 5k, a bike of some sort. So Roman asks Mio, “is there another toy you like better than this? Coz if you like this the most let’s just ask Santa to get it for you on Christmas to make it even more special.” “It won’t fit in his bag,” Mio wittingly answers. “You are so smart! Your Mom taught you well.” Yes I apparently did. And somehow I’m glad he’s impressed. Even if I know he’s the one who’s supposed to be proving himself. I just felt that Mio and I ought to show him what he missed.


The same night we had another talk over drinks. Its been a week since we started trying to work it out. Thing is, the day before, one of the guys I am… or was… dating asked me what exactly we’re working on. Are we working on Roman being Mio’s dad? The two of us? Or the three of us?

The truth is our original plan was that we weren’t getting back together. After all, he broke up with his girlfriend weeks ago precisely becuase he didn’t want to be in a relationship and this shouldn’t be an exception. I’m supposed to be dating better eligible men worthy of me, right? And I didn’t want him before, why should I want to be with him now? We shouldn’t be rushing into anything or considering it just because its probably the best setup for Mio. But its scary how happy we have been the past few days. I’ll leave it at that for now.

I told Roman that I had to get used to telling Mio about everything he observes or making sure everything he sees makes sense, is good for him and everything he says is said the right way.. or for me to even notice if he’s polite.. my point being, regardless of how nurturing I actually am, parenting wasn’t innate. It can be learned. And so he can learn it too if he really wanted to.

I tell Roman of how smart and how sweet Mio is. And how Mio is soooo loved by everyone and that he’s so lucky to actually have a son such as Mio. I know I shouldn’t be the one telling him that but I just know I have to help him through this somehow. I even told him that I really hope he falls in love with Mio because he is a blessing in every way.

“You can’t expect me to be in love with him right away, you know that right? bumalik ako dahil kay Mio. Pero bumabalik-balik ako dahil syo.”

That just makes things more complicated for me for reasons I can’t understand. You see, its hard to realize that I treated Roman differently from all the wrong men I had in my life. So its quite a problem for me to decifer if I should be the same person I was with the other guys if only to show Roman a different side, or be the same person I was to Roman eversince. And for Roman that would mean, me being arrogant and “high maintenance” as he’d always say. Roman always had to prove himself to me even when we were young because we both knew I was smarter. Or at least it seemed I was. Now, he still can’t deserve me especially because of what he did or failed to do.

This part is even more difficult to consider knowing well that this is about Mio. I’m used to having men come by and work out our dynamics just the two of us before I even introduce the idea of Mio being part of the picture. Only because I never wanted to be an object of pity, charity or to scare them away. This time around, I have to put this guy’s relationship with my son first before ours. I start to feel selfish and wonder, “pano naman ako?” So I decide to keep my dates on the side to clearly define the roles we play in this situation regardless if I actually like these men or not. But deep in my heart, going back to what’s most important to me, I know that Mio needs this person one way or another. There’s no way I’d jeopardize Roman’s initiatives by putting him on the spot. Another thing I know about him is that he is insecure.

And because Roman stands by what he said: “I did what I want for four years. I can’t ask anything from you except what you’re willing to give. Do what you want because I’m here to make it easier for you, not to complicate things for you” — I feel that I should give time and opportunity for the two of them to nurture a relationship void of distraction from other men but these two. I wouldn’t have it any other way if you see how happy I am to do this. And when I’m happy, wouldn’t that make Mio happy? Or the other way around? Point is, what we have now is a good thing.


DAY 9 (October 16)

Home for Trick or Treat. I sleep while Mao and Mio plays with Mio’s new toys from his trick or treat and Mio goes to school without saying goodbye to me like he usually would. Only to find out that Mio told Roman to tell me instead and left me a lollipop to eat after I eat lunch. For my strict compliance daw. I’ve never slept that well since giving birth to Mio. For many reason like making sure our bed isn’t wet, or his diaper isn’t leaking, or he doesn’t cry or suffocate at night, or that he might ask for milk…

These are precisely the things I resent about Roman not being around the first four years. Mio is such a well behaved boy, he’s manageable most of the time. He totally skipped the terrible twos and tantrum threes. All Roman has to say to that is “sorry.” In fact, he mentioned before that he had draft messages on his cellphone wanting to apologize. But at the back of his head he thought, “ano naman magagawa nung sorry ko?” May mind-process din plang nangyayari all that while. Evil ko…


That night was an escalation of wrong things on my part. He had poker plans and I wanted to talk some more. Tsk tsk tsk. But he obliged without complaining and ended up having a few drinks with his friends at Yoohoo. Yoohoo. Kill me now.


DAY 10 (October 17)

Mao spends the night beside Mio, takes me around for work and waits ’til Mio comes home from school before he heads home to sleep before his version of manic Mondays.

His Mom calls to borrow his car to which he apologizes because “he was busy.” (rampant liar in the house. So our top rules are: 1. no lying, honesty; and 2. consistency.) “sorry Mom.”

It baffled me. Aside from the penchant for cars, the ridiculous laugh and the grinding of their teeth while they sleep, Mio apologizes with the exact same tone when we argue! And I pointed that out again. To which Roman replies:


“Jay, na-establish na natin na anak ko si Mio, dba?” Woah. Tambling ulit tyo.

I wittingly lashback, “so ngayon ganon-ganon lng na-establish na natin yon noh. Samantalang noon kulang nalng gumastos ako ng 50,000 para lang ipa-DNA test kyo.”



Roman and I struggle with personal feelings. But we decide to go back to the basics. I’m Mom. He’s Dad. I HAVE TO STICK TO MY BATTLE PLAN!

That night my parents drop by to pick up Mio like they always do on Friday nights so he can spend the weekend in Filinvest with them. They love him that much. Two of my good friends needed me the same night. Both godparents of Mio and aware of the recent events. Awkward. I felt really bad having to lie to my parents or do this behind their back. But I was not ready to break their hearts. I didn’t know how they will take it. If for anything, I vaguely remember my Dad saying I should never speak to Roman. And both of them getting annoyed that I even told him I was pregnant in the first place knowing he wouldn’t own up to it. It was a family matter altogether. But I trust that my parents are the source of all goodness. There was no way I can be capable of grace more than them.

Jean told me that during one prayer session, she learned that we do not merit the Kingdom of God through good deeds. It is through God’s grace. The difference of forgiveness, mercy and grace is that we receive the former two when we ask for it. Grace on the other hand is given even if we do not deserve it. So I apparently am a graceful person in spite of how wreckless and unrefined a lady I am. I would want to be as modest as possible but I couldn’t help marvel at the goodness of God and how I can rightfully claim becoming an instrument of love. Mio is truly a gift in many ways more than this.


DAY 11 (October 18)

I have a busy day with two makeup appointments in the morning and to attend a friend’s wedding. Roman remains attentive to our needs. He is confused with how busy I can be and relaxed another day. Di daw nya alam pano sya sisingit or san nya ilulugar yung sarili nya sa setup naming mag-ina. That day just overwhelms me with reinforced love from friends who have loved Mio unconditionally. I realized that day that Mio and I, or simply just I, will be just fine and there’s no need to worry in spite or Roman’s uncanny consistent reassurance. I do not need that from him, right?


DAY 12 (October 19)

I work on a Sunday like hopefully always would (more racket, more money for Mio). Roman wanted me to wake him up around 4pm so that… surprise surprise! We can go to mass together and confess. Yes. He meant to confess his sins and all his shortcomings, he didn’t know how to begin. So we did. It was quite a blessing.

The priest’s sermon went something so institutional except for his last message, that God calls us to be consistent, honest and transparent. Sbi ni Roman, “nananadya ata tong pareng to eh.”


DAY 13 (October 20)

Roman let me go to bed early so I woke up pretty early that day and was productive as a bee. I had a sumptuous lunch at Bubba Gump for the launch of their new menu items over Total Girl’s weekly meeting and we all had a beautiful Total Girl’s dayout. I checked on Mio as usually would throughout the day and was happy to know that he was having a wonderful day at home. It breaks my heart though that I had to teach Mio how to lie. You see, I had to instruct Mio not to mention Mao or anything about him to my parents. It was partly guilt carring me throughout that day. It was Mundi’s birthday too. Roman and I argue that day about his commitment to Mio.

Uneventful actually. Just emotionally ridden.


DAY 14 (October 21)

I think this is the day I blogged the rest of this blog and I was obviously just stunned and going through the day on auto-pilot.


DAY 15 (October 22)

It is once again Roman’s version of a Friday night. He got off work at 9am and took a nap. I was working all day at a shoot I think.

Roman was to pick up Mio from our house in secret while my parents thought I did. Of course Mio’s yaya was all in this. It was quite hilarious how Roman described his agitation, the furry of opening the car doors, carrying Mio to his seat and loading the bags. We texted the same time, I asked “wish ko kasama mo na ung anak natin.” To which he candidly replied, “Eagle 1, the package is safe!”

Humor is indeed the best way to illustrate a near-tragedy. For the first time I could have exclaimed, “hahahaha!”

I arrive to the condo to find the two of them playing. I said I still had to get some clothes for a shoot and drop by the office to check some pages. So the three of us drive to Galle to do all those and get Mio a haircut. Mio gets to pick where we eat because neither of us would like to decide even about the simplest matter or where to eat! Mio picks a Japanese restaurant to his delight.

You see, neither of us would like to make a decision when we’re with Mio. I’d be polite to ask his opinion, he’d step aside and tell me he doesn’t have a right. I didn’t want to be too imposing. It’s so hard. It feels like I’m walking on egg shells knowing fully well that he’s here partly because of me and that Roman doesn’t work well under pressure. It feels as if I’m the one who’s supposed to put my best foot forward and show him that he’s so damn lucky to have Mio. He is and knows that. But I shouldn’t have any care about how we two are just as long as he keeps it up with Mio. Right?

Another delightful day with these two boys. Roman keeps telling me we have something good going on. But how good, I cannot tell. Mio is so happy its beginning to be friggin’ annoying. But I cannot complain about that. For now it seems though that the sexy stuff are all covered. How about the basics? Let me ask him about that.





them two walking to the condo from my office

DAY 16 (October 23)

Thursday. Roman’s version of a Saturday. He falls asleep the entire day. I call him in between and ask if he’s coming over because Mio was asking. Apparently I shouldn’t be talking to a person who is 80% asleep. Mio fell asleep waiting. Or I could be exaggerating coz really its not a matter of life and death. But still I had to tell him: “Back to basics. Don’t say you’ll do something if you won’t.” Glitch.

DAY 17 (October 24)

Friday is Roman’s version of chillax Sunday. So he decides to stay home. I, on the other hand was having a very busy day packing clothes, rushing to a shoot and meeting a deadline simultaneously. To top it off, my usual scene in the condo would be doing all these at the same time while having Mio bugging-slash-making papansin. “Mom look at my drawing! Mom will you please do this? Mom! Mom look!!”

My constant struggle as a single parent was that I had to be two people at the same time. The harworking yet stay-at-home parent; the nurturing yet stern parent; the all-around parent. Was it too much for me to ask for Roman to spend the time he can with Mio, yaman din lamang at nandito na sya, so that I can do my own thing?

I gave him a lecture upon realizing that IT’S NOT ABOUT ME! And regardless whether or not I told him I wouldn’t expect Mio, it was my responsibility to demand on Mio’s behalf. Not for my comfort but for Mio. Roman takes it in stride but doesn’t bend. He was supposed to see us the day after anyway. I like how Roman puts his foot down now more than ever. He can take the drama and the chaos. And he delights Mio. But again, what now? He explains why he tells me everything he does and everything he intends to buy for himself. Apparently, needless for me to say, its because he knows that everything he does now will affect Mio. Even if right now, he would like to stay unaffected by other people, his selfish and immature decisions have Mio in consideration. Sarap batukan dba? Pero pwede na un for now considering we don’t have expectations. :T Right now, I just have to make it clear that regardless of what I do, how I deal with him should have nothing to do with Mio. But knowing fully well he comes back partly coz of me tears me apart. I shouldn’t care if he walks away on me. Just not on Mio.

I did not wake him up inspite of staying in the office until 7am and knowing well he gets off at 9am and is supposed to pick us up by 12nn. It was a test.

DAY 18 (Ocober 25)

I woke up to a nudge, “Mom wake up now.” Putek. Si Roman! Mom na ang tawag sakin. Apparently he’s been in the house around 10am playing with Mio while he let me sleep upon realizing I only slept for 4 hours. Its time to go to work.

I was sticking to my new game plan. None about me. All about Mio.

Again, Mio picks the place and he picks what restaurant on Boni High? Clawdaddy. Get it? Hahaha. Mio ordered salad, I ordered pasta for me and Yaya Lyn and Roman ordered crabs for a hefty 2,500. No complains. Everything’s on him when we’re with him. Kulang pa daw yon 🙂 in fairness.

The Havaianas event was relaxed and fun. We played a few games so we can get Mio a prize but we colored under a tent on the grass most of the drizzly afternoon. There were ETC cameras and photographers taking our pictures. And I’d introduce Roman to people as Mio’s dad as he would introduce me to the very few friends we’d come across to as “his kid’s Mom.”

I think at this point I have to accept that I can never raise Mio in a normal family setup. And that eventually Roman and I would find other people for ourselves and Mio will have to have two separate families. The thought alone horrifies me. I can’t even begin imagining having to share holidays and birthdays and not having Mio all to myself and my family. Nooooooooo!!!!!








On our way home I tell Roman how happy we all are for Mio and how I wished him ill in the past. I told him I swore Mio will grow up to be so successful and someday Roman will find himself old and alone and will want Mio to be there for him.

Sbi nya, it won’t happen to him because God is good. But if ever it did, he deserves it. Buti alam mo! Sbi ko. Hehe.

Roman takes us home and drops us off at Jean’s house to avoid speculations. “we have to stop doing this,” he said. And with a heavy heart, while Mio fondly tells his Anmom and Andad what he had for lunch, how fun it was to play games while surprisingly being consistent not to mention Mao, I sigh and tell my parents the innevitable.

J : “Mom, Dad, if the time comes na Mio’s Dad would like to participate in his life. How would you feel?” D : “Hindi pwede. Hanggang sa buhay ako.” M : “Ngayon pa malipas ang apat na taon. Dapat nga dba hindi mo na sinabing buntis ka? Wala silang karapatan. Iniimagine ko nga pag kumatok dito yon, sasampalin ko ng malakas!”

I gulp in fear.

M : “Bakit? Kinakausap mo pa ba yon?”

So I tell them what’s going on and wish they’d understand. To my surprise they did. Without being too emotional actually but with much resistance. I would understand.

At one point I coach Mio that he can tell them about Mao and they have this conversation with their apo: M & D: Who’s Mao? Mio : My Daddy. D : How about me? Mio : You’re my Dada. M : Do you want your daddy around? Mio : Yes. I like playing with him. M : How does he look like? Mio : He’s nice. He wears glasses. Square ones like yours. And he doesn’t have hair. He gave me a guitar and played games and colored with me.

For now, I’m just glad I’m out in the open and Roman has an open arena now to prove how serious he is. He’s quite relieved my parents refuse to talk to him or see him. For now, at least the wound is open. There’s no more damage that can be done but a lot of healing. I told Roman he’d have to explain anyway. Not just to them but to everybody who have loved us and took care of us. I am glad. For now, I just am. 🙂

DAY 19 (October 26) As of actual blog time, now that I’ve finally come out in the open, I recall a YM conversation with Roman where he inquires on everything that happened to us, as much as I can remember. It was overwhelming for him to hear of how i fondly recall all the help I got while I was pregnant, all the friends who drove me to check ups, the Sanggu people betting on Mio’s gender and giving me the pot money, the admin letting me march, all three baby showers and all the gifts I received then providing me with everything I need…. although the pain resonates as I enumerate all the lonely nights, all the annoying things about raising Mio on my own, all the men in my life who have hurt me in my endless pursuit of happiness, thinking that my happiness will make Mio happy and complete… of this, Roman apologizes and claims that it was all his fault. That I wouldn’t have gone through all that if he didn’t leave. He even asked if Joao loved Mio. I nostalgically said yes, party relieved that we’re not together anymore (can you imagine how harder this would be if we were?!)

I reflect on these and realize that my false hopes were irrelevant now that I’ve proven Mio is happy after all with me alone. I also become more grateful that I went through all of that if only to realize all the more how SO MANY people truly deeply care for me and Mio. When you think about it, I had to go through all of that to make me the kind of person I am now ready to forgive, to accept and to trust that the Lord has sent Roman to Mio at this point in his life for reasons only He would know. Had this happened the conventional way, I don’t think we would have these much blessings, right? Roman would be less of half-hearted and I wouldn’t be who I am now.

If tomorrow Roman decides to quip, please kill him for me instead. Otherwise, I’d be so fucking stupid already, right? 🙂

DAY 20 (October 27) 10 days to go and this entry should be closed. There are still questions unanswered yet there are so many things already said.

Although today was uneventful for Roman & Mio, it felt like the whole world was watching. Literally. And because so many people have extended their concerns and their well wishes, there are so many thoughts going on in my head.

Mio’s still on vacation so I let him stay with his grandparents in Filinvest (my parents, not Roman’s even though they are in Filinvest I still cannot fathom to call them Mio’s grandparents yet). Roman still lives on the same street so I recommended that he visit Mio since my parents already know they see each other anyway and no one’s home. I get the most surprising reply: “Sorry Jay but I’d rather not.” May smiley face pa yon. I think I felt my ears burn up and I easily consumed 200 pesos worth of cellphone credits just talking to Jean and Ely about it. Although I KNOW that Roman meant something else, the impression that message gave was further insinuated by doubts lurking at the back of my head. I entertained the thought that Roman is once again assuming that Mio is optional for him; that being a parent is something he will do when he likes and when it’s convenient. I have bursts of bitterness consuming me of how I never had that choice, of how I had to be ready in nine months and never had to consider otherwise. I remain politely sarcastic:

“I’m pretty sure you meant something else, like maybe you’re not ready so you can’t I’d understand that. Because your reply appears to be a jetlag to your sincere initiatives, treating Mio as an option, as if he’s your son only when it’s convenient for you. Oh! It has been for the last 5 years. Lovely.” May smiley face din. For the past 3 weeks, Roman has been impressively patient with my mood swings (what with this emotional rollercoaster ride to top off my penchant for drama) or my anxiety. I found myself ashamed upon reading the first part of his reply until I reached the end and read the unexpected:

“ok, a more detailed explanation. Jay, that’s your home.. Your dad and mom lives there.. I respect that, parang ang bastos lng dba? Behind their back pa. I will spend time with Mio at the right place and the right time. I know I’ve been selfish for a long time… What do you want me to do about it? Kill myself? Would you be happy if I did that? Have a nice day.” Putangina the nerve dba?! I would have admitted to getting ahead of myself and being inconsiderate about that matter but I don’t think I deserved to be talked to that way. I reply with an annoying “Ewan ko syo!” after much deliberation with a friend of what answer would be most appropriate. To which he quickly takes back with:

“Jay.. Sori. I have no right to act like that. I’m just tired from work. It was a bad day. I hope your day will be better. Sori ulet. Pls wag ka magalit :(“ Yon. I thought the battle of the sarcastic co-parents were to begin. Phew. He called when I didn’t text back soon and said that I didn’t have to tell him what and how to do everything. That scared me because I wasn’t sure if he really knew what he was doing. He wouldn’t even read this blog or any of what I’ve written the past years. How would he know how to deal with me, the situation his son has ever known? Roman however claims that he knows me too well. Right from the beginning…

Roman amazingly remembers where exactly we met when we were 13. He remembers the places we went to during the summer before we went to college. He remembers I’m a leftie and an insomniac. He even remembers I like coffee but never knew how to make one for myself. He always points out how we were so against him smoking before, as he was probably the first in the barkada to smoke at our tender age. He reminds me of it whenever he’d try to talk me out of a stick.

I once told him that the reason I probably never admitted to liking him back was because I felt like a trophy. He said I wasn’t all that and that I was a wifey. That’s why he liked me in the first place. His family would probably like me for him if the circumstances were different. I couldn’t say the same thing about mine.

Now that most of my family (all actually, even those in the West Coast and Viginia–fine, more like Singapore, LA and New York. “West Coast and Virginia” just sounds better in writing. Hehe) is somewhat involved (or at least in the know), the prevailing concern besides the betrayal and mixed emotions they have is their unwavering love for my Daddy and Mommy.

The biggest fear a parent can actually have for their daughter is for her to get pregnant and be abandoned by some irresponsible boy. That’s exactly what happened. (If there’s anything bad that this reconciliation has brought, it would clearly be the memories of all the pain and anger already buried. Inasmuch as I’d rather keep it six feet underground, the staunch smell of decayed scabs resurface.) I remember how my Mom cried, “anong pagkukulang natin Daddy? San tyo nagkamali?” And I had to assure them inspite of my insecurity that the things I go through have nothing to do with how they raised me. I own up to every compromising situation I put myself in. Perhaps so I can take credit for the ways I conquer them as well. My Dad even had the heart to ask me the day after my confession “Anak, kung may gusto kang pabili o kainin sabihin mo lng ha.” I never deserved how well my parents treated me then. And they never deserved the pain and shame I put them through.

What comes to mind right now is that parents and children never deserve each other. Yet God gives us each other anyway probably so we can surrender to the kind of love He would like us to live by, like how He did. Unconditional without questions or doubts. No choices. Just acceptance. I am glad to have this epiphany. And hope that Roman will realize this on his own when he does fall in love with Mio. I’m sure he cannot resist. Receiving a gift such as Mio has only brought so many more blessings to me. I still do not think Roman or his family deserve the same blessings. They do not deserve Mio no matter how rationally I instill in my head that they are entitled to him though.

What his family knows or have said, I do not know for sure. While waiting for the elevator door one time, Roman and I were joking about what if our Ates saw us in Rockwell, or if his Mom saw him in the car with us along Commonwealth… and then he said, “matutuwa si Mommy kay Mio pag nakita nya sya. Ganyang-ganyan ako nung bata, mahiyain. Maalala nya ko.” Of course Roman would be the first to defend his family, that they never influenced his decision aside from the natural fear he had of them. His Dad would look at Mio closely in Church before and when I told him that he recalled the only thing his father told him when they found out about our pregnancy: “Matanda ka na, alam mo na kung anong ginagawa mo at ung hindi mo ginagawa.” Still. I named Mio Mio precisely because he is mine. Although I have openned up my heart to welcome Roman in our life, I don’t think I can be ready to allow Mio to be a part of his. Mio is mine forever. If only for this, I cannot stop praying for Roman to prove that he deserves Mio. But truthfully, Roman doesn’t need to prove anything because he is Mio’s father whether we like it or not. He just has to be himself. Because the way I know Roman is just as clear as how he knows me. He is innately good and sweet. He is vulnerable and sometimes weak. But he is good. Even if he says otherwise, I’ve always known he is.


DAY 21 (October 28)



Uneventful and quite sad to realize that I miss Mio so bad and can’t help wonder: Does Roman think of Mio now as much as I do? Considering they see each other once a week for four weeks now, you think?

HELLO!!!! OF COURSE NOT!!!

I tried to instill 2 things today to 2 people:

1) I don’t want Roman being complacent about the little commitments he made for Mio especially now that with my family on the look out, he seems to have less opportunities of doing so. In other words, I would really want his initiative to come through even if it means him having to stand up for himself and probably ruin whatever sanity is left of my parents;

2) As much as I love my parents and respect them, for the same reasons that I moved out of their house, I don’t want them getting used to running OUR life–my unit family, me & Mio–only because I am Mio’s parent, the one responsible for him and the one in-charge of his life until he is old enough to be. That’s why I tend to be too rash about what I say or maybe too mindless on how I say it.

Point is, my neck hurts with all that’s being thrown at me right now. I’m SO caught in between. When will it end? Or will it ever? I started reading Twilight tonight before bedtime and caught a phrase on the Preface that probably served as my answer:

When life offers you a dream so far beyond any of your expectations, it is unreasonable to grieve when it comes to an end.


DAY 22 (October 29)



Uneventful. Mindless. Unattentive. Wreckless. No more words to describe this plateau but scary.

I picked up Mio today from Filinvest. Just me, myself and I.


DAY 23 (October 30)



If I talk about today, I’d be talking about myself. Only myself and a load of charity work; being a skilled worker; and my semi-epilogue to a well-loved job.

It won’t be about the issue at hand, precisely the cause of this ever-updated blog. And that should speak well of how the 30 days is turning out to be.

Nothing.


DAY 24 (October 31)



Yesterday eases in on today as I haven’t had a decent sleep trying to (photo)finish work in time to leave for Baguio/ San Jose, Nueva Ecija with my family. And it’s not pretty.

Roman was supposed to go somewhere down south with his friends yesterday. They ended way up north where we’re supposed to be. How am I supposed to feel about that? I’m not supposed to entertain my feelings. Allow me to rephrase that. How am I supposed to think this through?

Its hard being in the middle of all this all by myself. I can perfectly handle the problems of single-parenting single-handedly. Problems, questioning and denied feelings (my family’s I mean) are all in a different category or problems I cannot solve on my own.

I AM STRONG. BUT THAT DOESN’T MEAN I CAN DO EVERYTHING.

He tried to see Mio at the Manor, IN TOTAL FAIRNESS. To my sister’s dismay. To my parents’ possible wrath, which fortunately will not transpire as they didn’t know he was in the same vicinity. He did. I am quite confused if I should be impressed or suspicious.

Moving on. Since I’m in Baguio, I was delighted to see good friends like Pau and Chavi of Sessi0nroad in their hometown. Unfortunately, it was only today that I found out their papa died 2 or 3 years ago. That’s how long I was out of the loop, my gosh. I told Haze, my officemate and their sister too and she shared her blog with me. I found this in one of the comments:


“sure there are times when we think of the unfortunate instances when our fathers failed us, when they hurt our beloved mothers and our siblings, but it takes time, even after their departure, for us to realize how much we owe them. not just for bearing us and bringing us forth into this world, but more importantly for teaching us life lessons we’d always cherish.


smile haze, tito is watching over you.” – Tuesday Vargas on Hazel Romawac’s album on her papa’s wake 2 years ago

I’m back to being torn and clueless. What are the possible life lessons Mio can learn from Roman, cge nga?! What not to do in life. Boo. 😦


DAY 25 (November 1)



5 days to go and I’m literally done with this literature. Still in Baguio with my family. My Kuya finally gave me the talk and posed a few questions worth considering:


Anong mabuting maidudulot nya kay Mio eh ok na si Mio satin?


Ano nanaman ang sasabihin tungkol syo ng pamilya nya kung nung umpisa palang eh pinagdudahan na at ayaw tanggapin yan?



Among others. Words only a Kuya can say. I am officially turning off my feelings if I can do that. Because I am more efficient as a mother to Mio without having to consider or wait on anyone else. If God willing, He will do the rest. Clearly, the fate of this matter is beyond my capacity. I pray night and day and lift this up to the Lord because I am getting really tired of feeling and thinking this out ALL BY MYSELF.

5 more friggin’ days. Willl I get to write the phrase “THE END” at the end of this post?


DAY 26 (November 2)



On my way home from Baguio, Roman awaits for our return so he can fulfill his commitment of seeing Mio at least once a week and my family is on the prey. He calls using a different number because for some insane reason, I refuse to answer his calls (not even because my parents might be suspicious). And true enough, my mom asks who’s on the other end of the line and I shrug without an answer.

Roman meets us at the condo instead, brought us dinner and put Mio to bed. I clarify some gaps from the uneventful week and I probably have selective memory right now because I do not remember or refuse to recall how the conversation went. All I remember is this conversation with Mio while Roman fulfills friendly duties in between Mio time and yet another round of drinks for co-parenting’s sake (that’s what I call it, not hanging out, not dating):

J : Are you happy when Mao’s here or do you still like it better just you and me?

M : I like it when its you and me and Mao.

Kill me now.

Roman returns after an hour or so to pick me up while Mio is asleep. I told him Mio’s quite feverish and that I gave him medicine right before he dozed off. (that wasn’t very responsible noh? We left our son asleep, burning up while we got a round of drinks. Bad parents.) I wish to quote Roman on a memorable statement he made which I am not allowed to use as retaliation in the future so I might as well not dwell on it. But that’s what girls do. That’s what I do. So I’m dwelling on it on my own because at the back of my head, I’m glad he thinks like that (back of my HEAD, feeling glad… doesn’t make sense, right?) So I shouldn’t.

At the end of the day what’s important are these:

1. That we both agree to give the best to Mio;

2. That he respects my family and refuses to act or say anything if only to avoid confrontation and more frustration to them;

3. That he remains honest and faithful to his promise TO MIO;

4. That I do what is necessary for myself and Mio;

5. That I continue to encourage him to be a good father; and

6. That whatever I do now should have nothing to do with him.

Amen.


DAY 27 (November 3)



While Roman does his poker thing with the boys, I lie beside Mio worried why he’s still burning up. When dawn breaks I call on Roman to say that I’m worried because Mio is complaining of a headache and “owee tummy.” Relieved that “the daddy” is just as worried, I push all my appointments to bring Mio to the doctor to rule out the possibility of anything more serious than fatigue from the trip. Roman accompanies us which I tell my family (as I usually would regardless who was with us) and I got a hell of a response. It upsets me you know, having to manage everyone’s feelings on top of mine. Athough I understand that it’s too much to ask from my loved ones to accept what’s going on, I just wish everyone would try to understand that aside from the fact that I am having a hard time as it is, I am not the issue. This is about Mio and what’s good for him and that I’m trying very hard to raise him in the kind of environment closest to how God would have wanted it to be. I just wish it would be so easy to forget the pain and the anger so that everyone can just let us let Roman get his second chance and be the father he never was. I cried while waiting in the hospital nursing this pain on top of my anxiety over Mio’s condition. I don’t know what hurts more actually. I just hope its not making Mio worse than he seems.

Although parents are expected to take care of their kids regardless of how tired they are and how busy life simply is, I give points to Roman for accompanying us to the hospital and offering to shoulder his check up and his medicine inspite of losing in poker and not having slept almost 24 hours. I should be quip to say that he ought to do that but for a “new” parent it seems surreal to have him around helping me today. For that, clap clap clap.


DAY 28 (November 4)



Mio’s still sick and I’m worried to death. I’m taking him tomorrow to the hospital for a blood test and Roman is quite concerned too. In relation to this blog that ends in 2 days, that’s quite an accomplishment and I’d have to say I never lifted a finger for him to reach this point. I had a rough month worrying about it but Roman seems to be on top of his game more than I am. It doesn’t help that although I manage to squeeze in midnight snack with a 40something guy who seems fond of me, I can’t seem to find it in my heart to adore him as much. I don’t know which I should be worried about: dumping the 40something guy per se or the reasons why I feel that way. No connection to this. I insist.


DAY 29 (November 5)


Roman picks us up after his work and we go straight to the hospital for Mio’s blood test. I was a bit relieved that finally, I am doing this with someone with me. Its hard to wait for someone to inflict pain on your son. Knowing someone’s there to share it with me at least in theory comforts me.

Its surreal to find someone sharing methods of how to take care of Mio. I always took offense (taken with a grain of salt of course) when my parents or other people point out what I’m doing wrong or not doing in relation to raising Mio. But his input–whether correct or imposing–the fact that there is, is worth considering. “pinapalaro mo kc kaya nabibinat… dapat tuloy-tuloy ung tempra kahit walang lagnat, di naman mao-overdose yan sa paracetamol…” For the first time, sabi ko, “putek mas marunong ka pa sakin ngayon?” But that is quite impressive, don’t you think?

Today he made me realize that all I asked on the first day was for him to care. And compared to how it was before the first day of the 30 days, he has come a long way. Not much to make up for four years but it is a long way. It might even be enough.


DAY 30 (November 6)


Unfortunately it is not the last day of this blog, as 31 days should be more exact. But as of blog time (November 8, exactly a month since he first came) there is not much going on except for him asking how Mio is getting better every 20 hours. There is no telling how things will be from here on but like what I said on Day 1… I can only hope for the best and expect the worst.

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