Friday, November 24, 2017

I Don't Really Miss My Son...

... that much!

R is now halfway through his 6-week cultural and language trip. I don't miss him the way I thought I would. Before he left, I thought I would be inconsolable and in misery. He is my fave son, after all! But it's almost four weeks, and I'm fine - because I know he's fine

We don't get to talk to him everyday, or whenever we want. The calls are scheduled down to the last minute. Just twice a week. In between those days, no news is good news.

credits to his team mentor, Mr. Moreno, for all the trip photos

In the middle of the day, he would suddenly appear in my thoughts and I'd wonder what he's upto at that particular moment. Then I would wait until the next call day before I can ask him.

Is his allergic rhinitis acting up? (he's been dutifully changing his own bed sheets weekly. They are taking turns cleaning up the room)  

Is he drinking enough water to keep hydrated? (his mentor posted an IG story where he showed all of the boys lined up, finishing the contents of their water bottle before calling it a night. I conclude it's a daily thing.) 

Is he wearing warm clothes? (he ran 5k wearing just a shirt! No jacket! But he said he didn't' feel cold daw) 

Is he eating well? Did his palate adjust well to the new cuisine? (he seemed to have gain some weight. Or maybe because his body is happily adjusting to his new routine of no daily swim training)

photo via Neil Moreno

I don't feel as heartbroken (as I initially expected)  that he's away on a trip. I just feel excited for him, I know this trip is a time for learning about a new culture, a second language, getting along with people and more importantly, it's also a time to understand himself better.

everyone was in high spirits during the 2am send-off

I usually start thinking about him right after we say our good-byes over the phone during our designated call days. I notice I get anxious if he mentions a health concern.

During his first week there, he mentioned that the mosquito repellent I sent him wasn't working. It was a mixture of citronella + VCO, and the low temperature made the VCO solid, he couldn't pump it out. As a result, the mosquitos feasted on him. When we hung up, I couldn't put myself at ease, I was thinking dengue, malaria, Japanese encephalitis.... hypochondriac mommy brain on overload. My husband was laughing at me, "Relax. Ano ka ba? I'm sure your son is old enough to handle mosquito bites on his own."

But with no mention of health concerns, I'm good.

My husband just commented tonight as we were having grilled liempo for dinner that it is during times like this that he notices R's absence the most... because there's more ulam to go around. There's one less carnivore to share food with. Hahaha!

Definitely, I know my son is having the time of his life. He is roommates with his good friends and all the boys are enjoying so much freedom. They go on day trips, overnight trips, stay in hotels, climb up mountains, ride on rafts. So many new things to do and adventures to experience!
photo via Neil Moreno

photo via Neil Moreno

He tells us that his roommates make him laugh, but sometimes a not-so-neat roommate annoys everyone with the mess. But then he assures us after a while, everything is back to normal and everyone is good. Just like how brothers should be.

Everytime he calls, he shares what he remembers. But more often, he forgets the details. But we know from the sound of his voice that he is enjoying.
photo via Neil Moreno

There are times when we video call, everyone in the room says hi to us. He shows us his bed, where he studies (pero niligpit nya muna konti bago niya kinunan ng picture. hahaha!), the bathroom. There was one time, in the middle of a call, he asked to be excused so he can finish his laundry.

Just a few days ago, he was so happy to share with us that he went to an Adidas store and since he was very mindful of the way he was spending his weekly allowance, he was able to have enough money in his wallet to buy a really nice Adidas jacket in his fave camo print. He sounded really pleased with himself and confident in the choice he made.

He's come a long way from that anxious little boy. There's still an amount of uncertainty in him, but for the most part he's found confidence in who he is in God. In this trip, he is becoming his own person. Just as it should be.

Sometimes, during our conversations, I have to pause and ask myself, "does he even miss home?" I then try harder to listen to the nuances in his voice, to ascertain if I can uncover a tone that's longing for home. But I barely hear any.  Which is how it should be.

I think when you're busy missing people who are not with you, then you end up missing on whatever is happening right in front of you.

During our last call, he ended the convo thirty minutes before our designated call time was up (call time lasts about one hour and a half each).  He wanted to finish his homework early and just chill on his bed for a while daw.

We alternate video-calling, voice calling and chatting depends on the quality of the dorm wifi

I was sad for a while that he wanted to end the call so soon, but then I realized I should be more concerned if he were clingy. He is learning how to have a life away from us, even for just a few weeks. He is slowly becoming his own person. This is exactly how it should be.

It makes me wistful to realize he's really growing up, but I take pleasure because I think of the saying that goes" parents have only two lasting things to give their children: Roots to grow and wings to fly."