BATU, Indonesia. Photo by Jes Aznar

Monday, March 23, 2009

Dr. Ludan, the doctors' doctor.

At the doctor's clinic this morning, a mother's face is a picture of worry and anxiety. Her two-year old son's organ is swollen and she doesn't have the slightest clue why or what to do.

The other mother is a bit worried, too but not as anxious as the other one. Her son has a minor eye irritation and she's wondering what it could be.

As for me, I was beyond worried. Was in so much pain just thinking about how my little girl cried last night when she tried to urinate. She was grimacing in pain so much that all I could do was hide in the bathroom and cry, too. I wish I knew what to do. I wish I knew how to comfort her. I wish my embrace was enough to take away her extreme difficulty.

I panicked. I almost rushed her to the emergency room last night. Then I calmed down. I thought that the family's ever-reliable and passionate Dr. Art Ludan would be the better option. He would know what to do. He would always be ready with an answer.

And as always, as I had expected, yes he did have a solution to my little girl's problem.

I'm lucky that Doctor Ludan -- also the pediatrician of my childhood -- hasn't retired yet. Mothers don't always know what to do. But doctors like him, do. Thank you very much.

Monday, March 16, 2009

the only answer

I remember that early morning, not so long ago. I held this little being, so tiny and fragile. For the first time after carrying her for nine months, I finally saw her. Her big round eyes stared piercingly at me. They’re the biggest I’ve seen – so much bigger than mine, so much rounder than the giant crimson sun setting in Manila Bay. Oh so perfect. I touched her thick black hair – as black as an owl’s dark eyes. Her face is clean now. The flood of my blood as I brought her out of this world, has been washed away by the doctors and nurses. Her mouth, so tiny and amazing, moves into a perfect pout. She has her father’s lips, I remember thinking then.

I held her close to my breast, wanting to feed her but not having the slightest clue how. There inside the nursery, I remember being filled with courage and fear. Amid the wailing of other babies in the room, I think quietly of this life I am holding.

Will I ever be able to be the mother that she needs? Will I ever have the courage to mold her into that human being who will never stop to struggle for what is best for her and for society?

She is a big girl now, growing so fast. Later, when she is in her twenties or thirties, I know I will not be able to smell and embrace her much. She will not stay long. She will be in the arms of others, more important than I am. I know the child’s laughter will be gone. She will be busy with her own life. And maybe, just maybe, I will be alone, restless and worried, waiting for her to come home at night.

In the morning, she will say “good morning Nanay Iris!” (She will be able to pronounce my name by then). And leave again for another busy day. Perhaps, she’s off to practice for a piano recital. Or she’s off to a writing workshop. Or she’ll be gone for a fact-finding mission. Or she will shoot the day’s events with her camera’s lens and shutters. Or maybe, she’ll be giving some art lessons to some kids. Wait, maybe she’ll be dancing the time away.

She will smile when she steps out of the door. I will look at her dimples and see her father’s smile. And I will understand perfectly that she has a place in this world. I can take the pain. She had to be born. The world needs this woman.

And then I know, it’s perfectly fine. I will be fine.

Sunday, March 15, 2009

What is REAL?

"What is REAL?" asked the Rabbit one day, when they were lying side by side near the nursery fender, before Nana came to tidy the room. "Does it mean having things that buzz inside you and a stick-out handle?"

"REAL isn't how you are made," said the Skin Horse. "It's a thing that happens to you. When a child loves you for a long, long time, not just to play with, but REALLY loves you, then you become REAL."

"Does it hurt?" asked the Rabbit.

"Sometimes," said the Skin Horse, for he was always truthful. "When you are REAL you don't mind being HURT."

"Does it happen all at once, like being wound up," he asked, "or bit by bit?"

"It doesn't happen all at once," said the Skin Horse. "You BECOME. It takes a long time. That's why it doesn't happen often to people who break easily, or have sharp edges, or who have to be carefully kept. Generally, by the time you are REAL, most of your hair has been loved off, and your eyes drop out and you get loose in your joints and very shabby.

But these things don't matter at all, because once you are REAL you can't be ugly, except to people who don't understand."

- (excerpt) Margery Williams' The Velveteen Rabbit story

Monday, March 9, 2009

Don't Think Twice, It's all Right

It ain’t no use to sit and wonder why, babe.
It don't matter any how.
An’ it ain’t no use to sit and wonder why, babe.
If you don't know by now.
When your rooster crows at the break of dawn,
Look out your window and I’ll be gone.
You’re the reason I’m trav’lin’ on,
But, don’t think twice, it’s all right.

It ain’t no use in turnin’ on your light, babe.
A light I never knowed.
It ain’t no use in turnin’ on your light, babe.
I’m on the dark side of the road.
Still, I wish there was somethin’ you would do or say,
To try and make me change my mind and stay.
We never did too much talkin’ anyway,
So, don’t think twice, it’s all right.

I'm walking down that long, lonesome road, babe.
Where I'm bound, I can't tell.
But goodbye is too good a word, gal,
So I'll just say, "faretheewell."
Mmm, I ain’t sayin’ you treated me unkind,
You could have done better but I don’t mind.
You just sorta wasted my precious time.
a-Don’t think twice, it’s all right.

It ain’t no use in callin’ out my name, gal,
Like you never did before.
It ain’t no use in callin’ out my name, gal,
I can’t hear you any more.
I’m a-thinkin’ and a-wond’rin’ all the way down the road,
I once loved a woman, a child I'm told.
I gave her my heart but she wanted my soul.
Don’t think twice, it’s all right

Bob Dylan

Sunday, March 1, 2009

disturbing the kingdom of the dead

Tagged along with a real lensman to the War Memorial at The Fort. This is what I came out with, using a Canon 400D. For once, I stepped out of the "reportage box." And surprise, surprise I enjoyed it very much. Looking at the world through the lens and shutters of a camera is always, always a brilliant experience.