I remember snow on the bare branches of the trees that lined the building back in 2002. I walked down the hospital corridors with Jack by my side for support. Mike’s working the video cam, stopping with me every few minutes as each contraction gripped my big bowling ball belly.
She came in the late afternoon of the 28th, my girl. All nine point six pounds of pure baby love with flared pink nostrils, pretty long fingers and chest heaving up and down as she breathed fast. Even at birth, I knew and felt she was spirited and all-sprite. My feisty one.
Oona Gabriella Zaynab was my first natural, drug-free birth. Sol, our eldest, was unnecessarily C-sectioned out of me in Manila (Makati Med) two years earlier. 😦
She had the sweetest, biggest and earliest smile, this one. As it turns out, my sweetheart would have baby eczema, a very itchy and uncomfortable and sleep-depriving affliction, both for her and for me.
This was one of my best happy fake smiles during that time. This was the beginning of post-partum nightmare for me. The was the beginning of the process of getting broken. Open.
|Family, here in Toronto and back home in Manila, came to the rescue. Shown here with my sister, Joey, when we visited and the beginning of a slow healing process for me.|
|My dearest Oona, your love for swings, for fun…for life itself showed me the way out. You taught me this in your very special way, the Oonabella way.|
|“Mommy, Sol seid I smel like poo. He even seid I am a baby. Sol smells. I love you Mommy. I hate Sol.” ~ Oona|
And even in your hate – which we older folks know is really fierce love between siblings masked as rivalry – you make me love you more. Because you are real. Everything about you is real and raw and you.
You know what you want and you let everyone know it.
You saw this hairstyle in a flyer on a Thursday and got this haircut from Veronica the very next day.
You loved your Lucky Charms in the mornings and hated having your thick, unruly, buhaghag hair brushed before school by anyone. Yes, even if I asked your hero and Babalove to do it.
|Oona Soaring, 2006|
|Oona Soaring, 2008|
|Oona Soaring, 2010|
On this ninth year of your lush life, your sparkling existence, my sparkling child, I wish you nothing but more of YOU. If there’s just one thing I want you to remember, it is this: