Babyhood is SO short. I am reminded all the time. People feel compelled to remind me, too. Like, constantly. I believe every parent comes to this realization pretty quickly and all on their own anyway. What might be easy to forget (especially if you're not really into kids - not everyone has to want/like kids) is that who they become once they are done being these cute, little creatures is... FAMILY. I look forward to those next stages with excitement and humility. I couldn't imagine a baby for many years. I hesitated to want to tackle parenthood on my own (side note: bravo to single parents!). But when Rudy and I got together, I thought: it would be nice to have family around. It's the reason we women put our bodies through the trauma of pregnancy and birth. Both physically, mentally and emotionally. But I'm humbled and grateful to have had the chance. Changes are happening fast with Rumi. Daily. I'm in awe. I'm focused on every amazing moment of his babyhood.
A big change descended upon my life recently. I fell in love. I got engaged. Although I've never really felt compelled to write publicly about my personal life, I've had things on my mind that need to be expressed. Here it goes.
Being loved by Rudy sometimes makes my heart want to burst – in the best way possible. It was a big, wonderful surprise for us both. We redefined what dating meant to each other. Being a free agent (for the most part) all these years has been ... entertaining. Needless to say, I’ve had a full life. It’s been quite an adventure. I found someone great who was busy having his own multifaceted, interesting journey. And for many reasons, joining forces just made complete sense. What finding love didn’t do is suddenly validate me nor made me more ‘whole.’ I find the notion that women are these sad, incomplete beings without a partner terribly insulting. But let's face it, society hasn’t evolved all that much. But we don't need partners to have children or survive anymore. It's 2014! I also didn't cross some imaginary finish line by getting engaged. It isn’t some kind of noble achievement. The way I see it is stars just aligned, love found me. I think it is FANTASTIC. It is worth celebrating. But I'm not suddenly more dignified because of it. Anything that alludes to this just gets under my skin.
When I told my mom that Rudy expressed that he wishes we met in our twenties instead of now, her immediate reaction was “Oh, but you’re both SO much more interesting now!” I thought: Wow, SHE’S RIGHT! I love her for that. I love my parents for never, ever making me feel like being single made me somehow feckless or lacking. They didn't try to dictate how my story should unfold. My story was my own.
I have always been an idealist. I’m not what most would consider a traditionalist. At 18, I didn’t want the (obligatory) big debutant ball – or a ‘debut’ as Filipinos call it. I traveled instead. I was never going to be someone who settled. I found it difficult to imagine having a child before I was with Rudy. In my world, there are no requirements – only choices. Being a free agent makes you self-sufficient and resilient. Of course, I wanted love. Along the way, there was trial and error. There was fear. There were a few near disasters. Dating in New York was occasionally fun. But It often felt like I was on a bad reality dating show. The idea of ‘settling’ terrified me more than flying solo. I’ve been accused of being too picky, too independent (seriously?) and just ‘too much.’ Eventually, I realized that people were simply projecting their own inadequacies and/or religious righteousness on me.
I knew I wanted and deserved more. I wanted the kind of love that took my breath away. Unfettered by artificial societal pressure. Something that would let my whole being shine, exactly as I am. And it would be undeniable. That is Rudy for me. He inherently understood all this. His choices aren’t shaped by convention. He is vastly different from anyone I've had the experience of knowing. It's a grown up relationship. We're not a couple of 20-somethings still in the midst of angst-filled self-discovery. We’ve lived some. We also just have this joy together. And maybe I needed to leave New York to be ready for it. I’m glad no one else got it exactly right until this precise moment. To me, this was the best kind of surprise there is. <3
“To love and be loved is to feel the sun from both sides.” - David Viscott
I held out for the real thing. It happened at precisely the right moment for us both. Rudy completely changed the game for me in the love department. It was as unexpected as it is wonderful. I've never felt so loved and at peace.
My sweet little puppy is EIGHT years old today. I love her to pieces. I think she deserves a doggie cupcake, don't you?
I drew a lot of strength, joy and inspiration from all those who were so good to me this year. Thank you for your encouragement, support, generosity, laughter and kindness. I hope you all know who you are.
Amazing pond experience aside, last Sunday was really about the food. Two great chefs came together: one Panamanian (Rossy) and the other Portuguese (Paula). Together they lovingly prepared one fabulous "Portumanian" feast. Just looking at these photos makes me hungry all over again.
Here was the menu for the day:
Empanaditas de Pollo
Chicken stuffed mini Pastry Pockets
Lime marinated Mixed Seafood
Mariscos al Ajillo
Shrimp & Scallops in Butter & Olive Oil Garlic Sauce
with Grilled Fennel & Smoked Tomatoes
Arroz con Guandu y Coco
Coconut & Pigeon Pea Rice
Ensalada de Palmito y Vegetales
Hearts of Palm & Vegetable Salad
Escabeche de Pescado
Crema de Mango, Gengibre & Lima
Mango Ginger & Lime Mousse
Rissois de Camarão
Shrimp in pastry
Bolinhos de Bacalau
Codfish Puff Balls
Cataplana de Amêijoas
Clams in Cataplana
Asas de Galinha PiriPiri
Chicken Wings in Piri Piri Sauce
Roast Drunken Pork
Chocolate Cake with Baked Custard
& Dulce de Leche
Bolos de Mel
Portuguese Honey Cakes
Thank you to Rossy and Paula for preparing such a gorgeous, delicious meal. And big hugs to our lovely host, Rossy Earle (above) for a beautiful day. I can't wait for the next one!!
This was on my friends' wedding programme in Brooklyn a couple of weeks ago. I thought it was so lovely and worth sharing. It's a good reminder for the days when you find reasons not to believe.
Have a great week!