Holidays with Isay

PARDON the long absence.

There’s been a lot of activity lately in the office and in between raising a child and running to different meetings, it was difficult to wedge in blogging hours into the schedule. Every real available break would be spent resting. I guess it comes with age, this need to pause and slow down after every stretch of living life at breakneck speed.

And it’s not like there’s a lot of available rest hours, not when you have a tiny bundle of smiles grabbing at your shirt and eager for playtime.

Resist that.

Plus, even when the little one decides to sleep, you can’t join her. Not now. Not until she’s old enough to realize it isn’t wise to roll over to the edge of the bed.


It’s tough enough as it is to nurse an anxiety disorder while raising a child. It’s tougher when that child, one day, gets from the middle of the bed to the edge in the wink of an eye and knocks off the pillows you use as barriers to keep her safe. A worrisome realization hits you that the days of baby-proofing have officially started.

The wife and I have started surfing for ideal bed rails for when she begins to actually crawl around.

So far she’s like the moon. She gravitates toward a larger mass in bed.

December-January represented a huge growth spurt of sorts for Isay. Not physically, because she hasn’t really popped into a bigger size just yet. Physiologically, though, you notice a lot of changes. She can see at greater distances. She recognizes faces and responds consistently to her name being called. Mentally, she is starting to be really inquisitive. She can hold her gaze on objects that fascinate her longer than she used to.

Over the holidays, she finally met my mom, her Lala. My mom flew in purposely to get to see Isay in person and I really appreciated the gesture. I’ve always wanted Isay to be close to her extended family. We live closer to the wife’s family so every short break we have, we travel to Nueva Ecija so Isay can spend time with her maternal grandparents. She’s met her maternal cousin, aunts, uncles and great grandmother. From my side, my tita Nana, my mom’s sister had been the only one to meet her early on.

Then my sister, Peaches, flew in for her christening along with daughter and Inclet One (my siblings and cousins have a group called Cuzns Inc., our kids are called Inclets) Cheska. Isay also met my dad during baptism but I was really most eager for her to meet my mom because my mom was among the first people we broke the news of my wife’s pregnancy to.

first visitors

That it happened over the holidays—Isay’s first Christmas!—made it even more special.

Christmas 2016, Gapan, Nueva Ecija

Along with my mom, my other aunt, Bembem, also flew in to spend Christmas with her daughters in Cebu. But she dropped by the house to also meet Isay. So, all good, all good.

We milked every hour of my mom’s short stay here. We road-tripped to Baguio City to celebrate New Year’s Day there. We rented a house big enough to hold two families and we went crazy over the fact that there was a fireplace. The landlady was cool enough to spare us scraps of wood so we could do the whole “by the fireplace” thing. Of course, my mom, having lived in New York most of her life, wasn’t among the excited ones.

Too bad we didn’t get to roast chestnuts

Isay managed to hold up despite the cold. And it did get really cold at times. And she’s slowly getting used to traveling. Which is good, because we plan to do a lot of that with her as she grows up. We want to expose her to different places and people and cultures so she can look at the world with a broader understanding.

Isay and Lala. Baguio, 2016.
Baguio 2016
Strawberry Fields, forever.

People say we should cherish these moments because children grow up so fast. Isay is probably not going to remember these much, except that she’ll get to see them in pictures when she’s big. There’s no way to tell exactly what it meant for her to be celebrating New Year’s in Baguio City and walking through a huge farm land while her cousins and relatives plucked fresh strawberries.

To me, though, it meant the world. These are the days when you can cradle her in your arms and she won’t protest, when she would even complain if you set her down somewhere. And those are the moments that drive me nuts in a good way. In time, when she comes across this blog and reads it, she’ll understand just how much it meant to to me to be spending a holiday season with such a lovely human being in my arms.

The feeling is beyond description. It almost as if a cherished dream keeps coming true over and over.

The best Christmas season one could ever wish for.

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