27 January 2012

Thank you, Papa

My dad, Roberto Lorico, passed away on Jan 19, 2012. He was 80 years old. The last five years of his lfe, he lived with dementia, Alzheimer's, and Parkinson's. These years were not easy for my dad.

Sophia and I arrived in Manila the day before my dad died. We were able to see him in the hospital and I had one last opportunity to say goodbye and once again to say thank you. My dad didn't start his life rich but he was ambitious and worked his way up the corporate ladder. His dream was for his children to have successful careers and he worked very hard to make this dream a reality. He was frugal but he sent me and my siblings to the best schools in the city. He taught us how to work hard and manage our money wisely. I now enjoy a comfortable life in one of the best cities in the world because my dad made it possible for this to happen to me. For this, I will always be grateful.

Rest now, Papa. I hope we made you proud.

6 January 2012

17 months

I’ve been a mom for 17 months and this much I now know - motherhood is complicated. I don’t think there is anything that can really prepare you for it. The roller coaster emotional ride can be exhilarating and exhausting, and it is unlike anything I’ve experienced before. The shift in my life was so sudden and dramatic, it took a few months to really sink in how different things were in my new reality. And when it did sink in, I felt shell-shocked. Seventeen months into it, I am still grappling with fully embracing all that has changed in my life and still grieve the loss of my carefree days, those days when it was all just about me. I was chatting with Alex, a colleague who has two young kids, about parenthood the other day and he summed it up pretty well - “there is so much joy in being with these kids…(pause)… but it’s f*cking hard”.

Things I wish people told me before I had a child or when I was pregnant:

1) Yes, your life will be over.

I was in the no-kid camp for a long time and when people asked me why, I would say “because my life would be over”. They would then say “No, no, it will just be different.” This is meant to allay my fear and worry. But really, what would have been more helpful was for them to say yes, it will be over and here are some things you can expect to go through emotionally and here are some things you can do to deal with it.

2) Read relationship/marriage books instead of baby books.

According to Dr. John Gottman, 67% of couples in their study “underwent a precipitous drop in marital satisfaction the first time they became parents.” I knew that having a baby takes a toll on marriages but I didn’t know just how much of a toll until Ed and I had one ourselves. In almost 9 years of marriage, Ed and I have never had to put this much effort into keeping our marriage on track. Recently, a close friend lamented, “Why, if having children is such a natural thing for our species, do marriages take such a big hit when couples start having kids?”. Good question.

3) It will be like Groundhog Day.

When Sophia was two months old, we had brunch with our friends Jenn, Jon, and their son Kai, who was 9 months old then. Jenn and I were exchanging mom stories and talking about what life with a baby is like. She blurted out, “It’s like Groundhog Day”. (Remember the Bill Murray film about a weatherman who lives the same day over and over again?) OMG. Her comment was right on the money! A baby likes having a routine. Once established, though, that routine can feel like you are living the same day over and over again. Ed and I spent a few days in Bellevue after Christmas and as he was washing Sophia’s milk bottles, he said to me, “Different sink, same chore. Different house, same routine.” We just laughed. I mean, really, what else can you do but laugh?

Now that I am a mom, I never ask another mom if she enjoys motherhood. It’s a loaded question! Yes, I enjoy it but I also don’t. Yes, it’s great but it’s also not. Yes, I’m happy but I’m also not.

It’s complicated.