Children are God’s best presents

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By Gretchen Varela

Breathing Gratitude

Thursday, June 19, 2014


I WAS a fulfilled yet quite a frustrated mother when I had my first child, Gabe. Yes, I experienced an increased capacity to love and care for the new life that God had entrusted upon me. A kind of fulfillment that cannot compare with anything else in the world, but I was also overwhelmed by the uncertainties that came with being a new mother.

For one thing, he was born prematurely at seven and a half months. During his first months, I had to measure and keep record of his milk intake as well as his output. Being a tiny 3.9-pound newborn baby, I had to make sure that he finished one-ounce of milk every three hours.

I was anxious because I wanted everything to be perfect for Gabe. I took care of him during the first five months because I couldn’t trust anyone to give him the kind of care that I wanted him to have.

Fast forward to three years later. Ella came out at 35 weeks, just a week before being considered full term. She was technically premature but healthy enough to be born without any complications. At 5.4 pounds, she was a healthy baby girl who was generally predisposed to being a happy and contented baby, just like her big brother.

It was fun buying pink dresses, and all the pink stuff for her. I enjoyed wearing her on a sling and bringing her everywhere I went just as I did with Gabe. My family laughs whenever I breastfed her in the most unusual places. The one that tops the list was while riding a tuktuk in Phuket.

I taught her baby sign language at 6 months and at around 8 to 9 months old, she started doing them. I was so amazed that babies could actually be trained at such a young age! It was also so adorable to see her communicate with us in this way. She would say “milk,” “more,” “please,” “thank you,” and “I love you” in sign language and it amused us every time.

Although at first Gabe had difficulty adjusting to the changes when Ella came, he later on started to enjoy having a sister when she began to respond to him.

Ella has been such a blessing to us over the years. Her thoughtfulness has touched and blessed us as she loves to write notes and cards and buy or make little gifts to surprise us with.

When anyone in the house gets sick, she automatically appoints herself as head nurse. One time when I had fever, she sat by my bed the whole day. Every time I woke up from my sleep, she would still be right beside me, ready to give me whatever I needed.

She asks to tag along with me wherever I go. Many times I discourage her from coming along because I think she would get bored and I could get things done faster without her. But whenever I allow her to, she really doesn’t mind waiting for hours just to be with me, and she never complains.

Both Gabe and Ella have turned out to be such great blessings to me. Many times I feel I don’t deserve such love and devotion. That is when I thank God profusely for the precious gift of my children.

I contemplate on these things because we recently celebrated Ella’s 9th birthday. It was a day of simple celebrations but a grand day of gratitude for me. I thank God for choosing me to be the steward of these two amazing people and for His daily protection.

Looking back now, I realized how my life has been filled with much more joy and love since I had them. By giving them to me, God has truly blessed me in the grandest way.

Many times, we parents get so caught up with our daily tasks that we lose focus on the things that matter most. Having our children healthy, by our side and fully alive is something that I remind myself to be thankful for every day.

Published in the Sun.Star Bacolod newspaper on June 19, 2014.

Lifestyle

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