I turn 37 today.
I have nothing but gratitude.
Thanks be to God.
However, life wasn’t always as sweet. Two years ago, I was at the brink of a major depression. Every possible major life change happened. Death of a loved one. Diagnosis of a life defining disability. Migration. Job loss. Pregnancy. Isolation. First winter.
You name it, we had it.
Our stars completely misaligned. Murphy’s Law in full throttle.
Midlife crisis hit me at 35.
I never thought it could happen to me. But it did.
If only I knew these things then…
1. Children will make you or break you. The clincher is your sense of humor. It will be the epidural of your life. Don’t take everything too seriously specially yourself. Learn from your father.
2. Your children will gradually put on their on their own clothes, feed themselves, clear their plates. Help you back. This will fill you with great satisfaction.
3. Children will benefit more from your cheerfulness and calmness. They want tons of affection and affirmation. Listen to them like there is nothing else in the world bothering you.
4. Your older kids will help you more and more in the house. You will be constantly amazed.
5. Yelling or spanking your children is never effective. Patience is the answer to almost everything. You want to instill love not fear.
6. You cannot delegate raising your children to helpers. Their needs can only be uniquely met by their parents.
7. Children will eventually settle down during mass times. You will stop dreading going to church with them.
8. You will stop rushing sending and picking up your children from schools. You will discover the greatness of homeschooling.
9. You will enjoy being with your children and they will enjoy being with you.
10. Your husband is on your side. Absolutely pointless using him as a scapegoat. The more you suffer together, the lovelier your marriage will be. He will lead you out of depression.
11. Always feed your husband first when he comes from the office. He needs a nice dinner, not a task list. Indeed, the way through a man’s heart is through his stomach.
12. Avoid nagging or showing long faces. Never helped anyone in a relationship. Momentary relief in exchange for a long-term headache. So not worth it.
13. You and Elmer will go out on weekly dates again. You will fall in love over and over again.
14. Your parents are your parents for life. Honor them. Love them. Even if you never really got along well. You will regret not showering them with affection while they were alive.
15. Parents are your most neglected loved ones but they sacrificed the most for you.
16. Your father will give you life the second time around by giving up a comfortable retirement in the Phils to help you sort out your life and yourself.
17. Call and cry to your friends. Viber is free. You need to speak to someone. They always have something comforting to say. They don’t want you miserable.
18. You will miss your siblings and friends badly. There is nothing like them. But you will meet new, although fewer, moms who are going through similar struggles.
19. You can still go out and have fun even in the middle of winter. Life doesn’t stop just because outside temperature is close to freezing point. Invest in winter clothes.
20. Spring is divine.
21. Melbourne has a fantastic coffee/cafe culture. It is just a matter of time before you discover it.
22. You will adore Melbourne city. You will fall in love with country Victoria.
23. No one will die if the house wasn’t cleaned in a day or two. Neither is it the end of the world if a child missed to brush his teeth in a day.
24. Household work is not a lowly job. Stop looking down at it. Our Lady was a simple housewife who found the greatest joy in doing exactly what you are doing.
25. If you are exhausted, don’t force it. Listen to your body. It needs a nap. Rest is good. Entrust your children to their guardian angels.
26. You will attend a retreat again. The children will be alright.
27. You will start a blog which will share the story of your life.
28. You will be a better cook than your most experienced helper even though you never really cooked in your past life. Necessity makes you creative. Baking will be therapeutic.
29. You will have time to devour books again.
30. You will sleep through the night again.
31. You will take postgraduate studies.
32. You can learn to drive at 35 and drive through the freeway with 4 squabbling kids as background music.
33. You will be able to put on make up again. You will feel good about it. Can knock off at least two years off your age. Thanks Megs for the makeup.
34. Never judge anyone. Depression can happen to the best of us. Parents with special needs children are under high level of stress most of the time. People need compassion not criticism. All we need is love.
35. God will become your neighbor. You will own your dream house which is just a stone throw away from the church.
36. Pause and pray.
37. Everything is grace. God loves me so much that He will turn every bitterness of life to my own good, to my great advantage. He will make life sweeter. You will find happiness at home.