This nursy plays dirty and does it with pain...

Saturday, April 28, 2007

On Womanhood

A woman has the sole purpose in her existence and that is to procreate. Most of her body functions are geared towards that of procreation which is the process that permits two living beings to produce a third one that is different from each of them. Womanhood is the period in a female's life after she has transitioned from girlhood, at least physically, having passed the age of menarche - which is the beginning of the menstrual function, usually happens around age 12 but may start as early as age 9.

In terms of biology, the female sex organs are involved in the reproductive system, whereas the secondary characteristics are involved in nurturing children or, in some cultures, attracting a mate. Most women go through menarche and are then able to become pregnant and bear children. Women generally reach menopause in their late 40s or early 50s, at which point their ovaries cease producing estrogen and they can no longer become pregnant. There are rarely symptoms of the decline in fertility that begins in a woman’s twenties or even of the plummeting of fertility ten years before menopause.

A misconception: “Fertility starts to decline in a woman’s late 30s and most women can have children naturally in their 40s.”

Reality: Fertility begins to decline gradually in a woman’s late 20s and goes into a free-fall around age 40. By age 42, a woman has less than a ten percent chance of getting pregnant without donor eggs, and many fertility clinics discourage women over 43 from attempting to get pregnant with their own eggs.

So for any woman over 35, hoping to get pregnant, should meet with a fertility doctor for an evaluation “sooner rather than later". Certainly after six months of timed trying, it’s time to investigate.” With an average age of 38, many women “are going to have egg-quality issues,” which lead not only to problems getting pregnant, but also to increased miscarriage rates and potential genetic abnormalities.

At birth, a woman has all the eggs she will ever have. As an egg ages, it is more likely to develop a chromosomal abnormality. A fertilized egg with abnormal chromosomes is the single most common cause of miscarriage: at least half of all miscarriages are due to abnormal chromosomes. A woman in her 20s has only a 12-15% chance of having a miscarriage each time she becomes pregnant. On the other hand, a woman in her 40s faces a 50% risk of miscarriage.

To a large extent, women suffer from the same illnesses as men. However, there are some diseases that primarily affect women, such as lupus. Also, there are some sex-related illnesses that are found exclusively in women, such as breast cancer, cervical cancer, or ovarian cancer.
One of the most common anomalies in women's reproductive system is polycystic ovary syndrome, which I have for sometime now.

Polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) is an inherited condition that affects the ovaries. Changing hormone levels result in many tiny cysts developing in the ovaries. Eggs may not be released regularly. Many women with PCOS have no symptoms, like me. Most, however, will have irregular periods or no periods at all. Often women with PCOS find it hard to get pregnant. Acne and excessive body hair (hirsutism) may develop as a result of increased testosterone levels. Women with PCOS often gain, and find it hard to lose, weight.

When I turned 40, I suddenly gained weight. I never had weight problem before. For a while the weight gain did not bother me. I just watched what I ate and increased my activities. Instead of shedding off the weight though, it accumulated in exaggerated manner. I then consulted with my primary doctor and my OB-GYN and we started the battery of tests and procedures, to make sure that nothing serious was going on. What came out of that, simply put -- I was turning into a boy... my hormonal circuitry went berserk. Years of stress, depression, poor diet, lack of rest, lack of sleep, physical over exertion lead to that. I was producing too high of testosterone and my estrogen was basically nil and my progesterone was not even enough for any female function. The doctors called my situation, "hormonal crisis" related to that PCOS that we discovered.

With that discovery, the next step was battery of medical regimen. Nothing worked. Variety of hormonal pills, injections of many kinds were tried but couldn't trouble shoot the malfunction in my female circuitry. None of the birth control pills worked. I did not tolerate any of them, my blood pressure sky rocketed to a very dangerous level that would have caused me to have a stroke. So for a while I was getting those nasty very painful hormonal injections. In the span of three years, I was under the supervision of a dietitian, a physical trainer and my doctors... nothing was progressing...

The precise cause remains uncertain. Women with PCOS have raised levels of the hormone insulin that stimulates the ovaries to produce too much testosterone. Around five to ten per cent of women have the syndrome. It develops in teenage years with the onset of period. Being overweight increases the risk of developing symptoms so women are advised to maintain an ideal weight. In my case, it was the caused of the weight gain.

When treating PCOS, weight reduction may be all that's needed to correct the hormonal imbalance. This will restore ovulation and fertility. Hormone therapy is used to regulate periods. Newer treatments including a drug that counteracts insulin resistance. There is also research into ovarian surgery which is still being studied.

Two years ago was when finally my female circuitry woke up and realigned and balanced itself. The weight finally came down with the combination of vitamins and occasional hormone shot (I will not go through my treatment because it is a very personalized one) and diet and exercise. I am almost there... I am just glad to be a girl again... hehehe!!!

Another common anomaly in women is endometriosis. The name comes from the word "endometrium," which is the tissue that lines the uterus. During a woman's regular menstrual cycle, this tissue builds up and is shed if she does not become pregnant. Women with endometriosis develop tissue that looks and acts like endometrial tissue outside the uterus, usually on other reproductive organs inside the pelvis or in the abdominal cavity. Each month, this misplaced tissue responds to the hormonal changes of the menstrual cycle by building up and breaking down just as the endometrium does, resulting in internal bleeding.

Unlike menstrual fluid from the uterus which is shed by the body, blood from the misplaced tissue has nowhere to go, resulting in the tissues surrounding the endometriosis becoming inflamed or swollen. This process can produce scar tissue around the area which may develop into lesions or growths. In some cases, particularly when an ovary is involved, the blood can become embedded in the tissue where it is located, forming blood blisters that may become surrounded by a fibrous cyst.

Symptoms of endometriosis may include: pain, especially excessive menstrual cramps which may be felt in the abdomen or lower back pain during intercourse, abnormal or heavy menstrual flow, infertility, fatigue, painful urination during menstrual periods, painful bowel movements during menstrual periods, other gastrointestinal problems (i.e., diarrhea, constipation, and/or nausea). It is important to note that the amount of pain a woman experiences is not necessarily related to the severity of the disease - some women with severe endometriosis may experience no pain, while others with a milder form of the disease may have severe pain or other symptoms.

Endometriosis is considered one of the three major causes of female infertility. In mild to moderate cases, the infertility may be just temporary. In these cases, surgery to remove adhesion, cysts, and scar tissue can restore fertility. In other cases (a very small percentage), women may remain infertile.

The only way to diagnose endometriosis is through a laparoscopy, which allows the physician to determine if there are endometrial growths by using a laparoscope (tube with lens and light). Today, laser surgery is becoming a more common method for removing these growths in mild to moderate cases.

In general, treatment for endometriosis may include: simple tips that can help ease the pain of endometriosis include rest, relaxation, and meditation; warm baths; prevent constipation; regular exercise; use of hot water bottle or heating pad on your abdomen
"watchful waiting" - to observe the course of the disease. Pain medication - such as ibuprofen or other over-the-counter analgesics, hormone therapy, including: Gonadotropin-releasing hormone agonist (GnRH agonist), which stops ovarian hormone production, creating a sort of "medical menopause" Danazol, a synthetic derivative of testosterone (a male hormone) oral contraceptives, with combined estrogen and progestin (a synthetic form of progesterone) hormones, prevent ovulation and reduce menstrual flow, progesterone alone.

What can I say ... sometimes it is just hard to be a woman!!!

Friday, April 27, 2007

A Pinay talk on Filipina...

Filipinos are the inhabitants of the Southern Asian country, the Philippines. The word also refers to the people of Philippine descent, irregardless of citizenship. During the colonial era, the term "Filipino" originally referred to Spaniards born in the Philippines, also known as insulares, criollos or espaƱol filipino. This distinguished them from Spaniards born in Europe who were known as peninsulares. By the mid to late nineteenth century, however, the term "Filipino" had begun to refer to the indigenous population of the Philippines.

Today, Filipino is also used to signify the nationality and citizenship of one who is from the Philippines. Colloquially, Filipinos may refer to themselves as Pinoy (feminine: Pinay), which is formed by taking the last four letters of Pilipino and adding the diminutive suffix -y. The word was coined by expatriate Filipino Americans during the 1920s and was later adopted by Filipinos in the Philippines.

In this talk, the subject will be the pinay ... such as yours truly. A Filipina can have a Spanish, Malaysian, Chinese and even American blood in her. And in my case, Spanish blood from my father's side of the family. Most Filipinas speak excellent English because English is the country's second language.

A preconceived notion is that Filipinas are submissive. I can tell you right off that is not true. Well, there might be submissive Filipinas but then there are submissive women in all of the other cultures. Filipinas are generally non-confrontational. She hesitates to challenge her partner in front of other people to save him from embarrassment and that is mistaken for submissiveness. On the contrary, Filipinas are very sophisticated in their ways to get their partners to do what they want them to do.

Many western men who marry a Filipina wife, swear they make the best wives in the world. Some reasons given: loyal, loving and faithful forever. The Filipina heart is sweet, loving, faithful, romantic, loyal and everlasting in their love but it has to be won and that could be challenging for the hopeful man but once won that lucky hunky (my word for man) is showered with all her love.

These loving creatures want nothing more in life than to please their partners. All of them are virgins until married and sex before marriage is absolutely unheard of! Once they are married, all Filipinas instantly become sexual dynamos who have insatiable appetites for sex in any form. ... but only with their partners. "Filipinas are loyal sexual servants who want only one thing: to please her partner!" That should give these hopeful men something to think about... hehehe!!!

Another fact about Filipinas is their way of letting the partner know that there is something that is bothering her or something offended her. This very distinct behavior is known as ... tampo. Tampo is the result of mild dissatisfaction, not of actual anger. The behavior is a cultural norm in the Philippines and a westerner should not be overly concerned the first time he encounters it. Tampo is a very useful tool, because it allows a Filipina to show her displeasure about something. Remember, confrontation is generally unacceptable in Filipino society, so disagreement or displeasure must be expressed indirectly. So when tampo shows up, just let her simmer down and approach her later on. What is it? That sudden bout of silence of a Filipina.

Then there are those Filipinas that migrated out of their countries and embraced the western world... the westernized Filipinas, such as myself. These Filipinas have adapted and adopted the western world but yet retain the innate qualities of being a Filipina, preserving most of the beliefs and traditions they have learned growing up in their native country. These Filipinas seem to be the stronger ones for they have lived through many challenges from their native country to their adopted country intermingling the eastern and western ways of living while preserving the qualities that make them ... Filipinas/Pinays ... unique...

Tuesday, April 24, 2007

Filipino Palate

I am sure at some point you have asked, "how could he eat that?" Isn't it amazing what people eat? Through food we explore one's culture. What we consume, how we acquire it, who prepares it, who’s at the table, and who eats first is a form of communication that is rich with meaning. Food goes beyond nourishment alone. It symbolizes life. It reflects family. And portrays the culture. Food is a history in itself that enables us to see the evolution of culture through food and vise versa.

Philippines, a Southern Asian country, colonized two times and liberated two times, comprised of 7,170 islands is rich in food cultural history having the influences of both the East and the West. Rice continues to be the main food being eaten three times a day. Rice is always the main dish and the rest of the food on the table becomes the mere condiments.

Filipino cooking is simple. Food is cooked by roasting, steaming or boiling. Surrounded by bodies of water, fish and sea food are the main "condiments" eaten with rice. Filipinos prefer the sour and salty flavors which shows on the many dishes they prepare. And this is influenced by the tropical fruits and vegetables that are in abundance in the country which are largely of the citrus family. The salty part comes from the ethnic sauces such as the fish sauce (patis), shrimp paste (bagoong), and soy sauce (of Chinese influence).

When I am discovered to be a Filipino by new acquaintances, I am always asked about 3 dishes - ALWAYS!!! PANCIT, ADOBO and LUMPIA. LECHE FLAN at times. so here is a treat for the non- Filipino readers and visitors. The recipes for these sought after Filipino dishes... Enjoy!!!

PANCIT: One version...

Minced garlic
Minced onion
Cooking oil ((3-4 tbsp.)
Shredded cabbage
Sliced carrots
Sliced celery
Diced chicken (boneless breast)
Peeled and halved shrimp
Sliced mushrooms
Sliced water chestnuts
Rice Stick noodles (available in Chinese section)
1/2 c. soy sauce1 can chicken broth

Saute onion and garlic in oil until transparent. Add chicken and stir until brown. Add vegetables; saute 2-3 minutes. Add shrimp. Add soy sauce and broth; simmer 1 minute. Add rice stick noodles. Cover, simmer until noodles are not brittle, 3-4 minutes. If needed add more broth or soy sauce to taste.

LUMPIA (Filipinos' spring rolls)

1 tablespoon vegetable oil
1 pound ground pork
2 cloves garlic, crushed
1/2 cup chopped onion
1/2 cup minced carrots
1/2 cup chopped green onions
1/2 cup thinly sliced green cabbage
1 teaspoon ground black pepper
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon soy sauce
30 lumpia wrappers
2 cups vegetable oil for frying

Place a wok or large skillet over high heat, and pour in 1 tablespoon vegetable oil. Cook pork, stirring frequently, until no pink is showing. Remove pork from pan and set aside. Drain grease from pan, leaving a thin coating. Cook garlic and onion in the same pan for 2 minutes. Stir in the cooked pork, carrots, green onions, and cabbage. Season with pepper, salt, garlic powder, and soy sauce. Remove from heat, and set aside until cool enough to handle.

Place three heaping tablespoons of the filling diagonally near one corner of each wrapper, leaving a 1 1/2 inch space at both ends. Fold the side along the length of the filling over the filling, tuck in both ends, and roll neatly. Keep the roll tight as you assemble. Moisten the other side of the wrapper with water to seal the edge. Cover the rolls with plastic wrap to retain moisture.

Heat a heavy skillet over medium heat, add oil to 1/2 inch depth, and heat for 5 minutes. Slide 3 or 4 lumpia into the oil. Fry the rolls for 1 to 2 minutes, until all sides are golden brown. Drain on paper towels. Serve immediately.

ADOBO (CHICKEN - Filipino version)

1 whole chicken (cut into eighths)
1 whole garlic (chopped)olive oil or vegetable/corn oil
1 tsp ground black pepper
4 whole black pepper cloves
3 dried bay leaves
1 cup soy sauce
1 cup vinegar**7up/sprite**

Heat oil and add all of the garlic, and cook until garlic is lightly browned. Add chicken and saute until the chicken is beginning to tenderize. Add ground black pepper, whole black pepper cloves, soy sauce, and vinegar, and let simmer for 25-35 mins or until chicken is done. Make sure to add more vinegar or soy sauce until it suits your taste (should be a bit tangy). When chicken is tender, add some 7 up if you want a sweeter taste, and let simmer for 5 more mins.
Serve over rice.

LECHE FLAN (Filipino version)

1 cup sugar
3/4 cup water

12 egg yolks
1 can (13 oz.) evaporated
1 cancondensed sweetened milk
1 tbsp. vanilla

In a large bowl, combine all custard ingredients. Stir lightly when mixing to prevent bubbles or foam from forming. Strain slowly while pouring caramel lined flan mold. Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Cover mold with tin foil. Put molds into a bigger tray filled with water. Bake in oven for one hour or until mixture is firm. cool before unmolding on a platter.

Put sugar and water in a saucepan. Caramelize in medium heat until sugar is dissolved. Pour into flan molds or custard cups, tilting the mold to make sure the whole surface (about less than 1 cm) is covered. The more caramel you pour into the molds the sweeter the leche flan.
Put molds in a bigger tray/ baking pan filled with water. Bake in oven for one hour or until mixture is firm. Cool before unmolding on a platter.

Monday, April 16, 2007

L O V I N G - a heart talk

Okay, this is my download time. This is going to be one candid talk and show you what my heart is like. I hope you'd share yours as well.

I can't claim to be an expert in relationships because I don't have a lot of experiences on it. But I think what I have experienced is enough to give out a few opinions about it... man, woman, man and woman, man and woman and relationship. Being poor, my growing up years were spent getting my education and helping out my "single parent" mother in taking care of our household and two younger brothers. There was not a lot of socializing until I went to college and even then I only had six close girlfriends that I ran around with throughout college. Yes, I did have some boys and some men that tried to be my special someone but I was just not into that and like I said, the lack of time diverted my attention away from relationship issues.

I was half way my junior year in college when my mother decided that it was time that I had a boyfriend and told me that she sent out my picture and bio-data to Cherry Blossoms, yep, the famous "mail-order-bride" company. Shortly after that I was getting all kinds of mails from all over the world. And after a short while, I was really getting tons and tons of letters, almost overwhelming. So my roommates at the dormitory helped me sort these men out. I can't even remember how and what. All I remember was we sure had a lot of laughter from it. I sure had many funny, frustrating, disgusting, overwhelming experiences from the men that had come to meet me in person.

One incident was when I was already a senior, in my calculus class, I was paged to come to the registrar's office. In there I met this towering German man who came to see me. Armed with my 6 chaperons (my girlfriends) to dinner we went. Across the dinner table he loudly proclaimed: "I have the money you want and you have the body I want." I wanted to disappear. When he requested to be alone with me was when he lost his chance on me, innocent me got spooked. I hid from him until he left the country.

Another incident, when I graduated college, I decided that I was old enough to go on a date without any chaperon, so bravely I met an Australian in Manila Bay, close to my college. We sat at the pier and talked and arranged a date for the following day. He took me to the bus stop and kissed me on the lips gently... I ran so fast and didn't look back. When I was sitting down in the bus and recollecting the incident, I felt so stupid... it was just a kiss!!! And that was the end of him because I hid the next day and the following days when he came to the dormitory, again, I was spooked.

It was about a handful of men that I "chose" to correspond with, only two that I was considering to get serious with. A man from San Diego, California was actually who I was more serious with, serious enough that plans of a wedding and children and life together were being discussed. Then we lost contact for 3 months. There came the man from Illinois, the second one that sounded nice enough and serious enough but no talk of any seriousness. But then he showed up and "impressed" me with his mild mannered, gentleman ways and talks of great promising togetherness, agreeing to every dream I had of what kind of family I wanted. Before the end of his three week visit, we became engaged. I let the man in San Diego knew about this and he begged me to undo the engagement but I am one of those even then that stand by my word and my word and promise I already gave, to the man from Illinois, my future husband.

It took less than 3 months to get my fiancee visa, back then it was much easier to use this kind of visa. So I married the man I thought would be my teacher and my partner for life. And on my honeymoon night I felt the feeling of doomed for the marriage. We had some big time argument. I cried and left him and sat on the beach all night crying my eyes out, wanting to go back home to the Philippines or fly back to my family in the Bay Area. He found me and we had a talk. Our marriage life from then on was a task which lasted 19 years. Separated twice and yet I was determined to make a go at it. Like I said, I stand by my decision and live through the consequences, attempting to make a better of it. Or at least make something positive out of a negative event. Two years of marriage when my only child was conceived and I was blamed for the pregnancy and made me feel bad for the first three months of the process. He finally figured out that I was going to keep the baby whether he was part of it or not. He understood and did his part as a provider and a good father later on. Our husband and wife side of the marriage was one sided. He was happy and content and I was falling into deep depression. Hatred towards him was starting to set in. I did not like that at all.

I was very scared because I was told in many occasion that I would not be able to support myself and much more with a child. Many threats of divorce, many nights of cries, many fights, many attempts to get him to see that there was a problem in the marriage, many letters outpouring my frustrations, my desires and my woes. Finally my visits to a psychologist to learn about me and about the marriage and to see the light and hope. And thank goodness for Zoloft, an antidepressant, I was able to crawl out of the pit of depression. But then althrough this, I had that itty bitty hope that I would wake up one morning and he would kiss me and hug me and say ... "alright, you are right, we are going to work on this marriage. I promise".

That itty bitty hope did not come into play until the day I was moving out, finally he realized that I somehow developed some guts to move onward. He was surprised that I was able to buy a house, arranged everything with the moving. By that time, I finished my degree in nursing and was starting to earn a decent money. And by this time, my healing process was going on as well.That was in 1997.

2000 I entered into an agreement with a great friend. It was an agreement that most people would probably say stupidity on my part but I did it anyway to save a great, honest man from sinking deeper in his quagmire because of series of bad lucks and unfortunate events. I only believed in him because I knew him all along (it was actually his ex-wife that I was more a friend with) and knew the truth. I figured that it was something I can do for someone that have been trying to be positive and trying so hard to make better of his life and yet kept being stomped on. I gave him two years but it went longer because we found out his metastatic cancer. He needed my health insurance coverage. Amazingly, he found a job because he did have a master's degree and prestigious positions and many accomplishments before his life turned upside down. So he was able to catch up with his obligations - 2 children and an evil ex-wife. His positivity I think was delaying the progress of his poor prognosis. Along came the abdominal aortic aneurysm. An elective surgery to correct it killed him because of an incompetent doctor, not the cancer. Imagine that, even at the end of his life he did not get a break in life.

The agreement we had, I had to break, because he fell in love with me. If only things with him were different... maybe!!! He always made me cry when he would call me his Angel... he would say it with genuine love, honesty and pure sincerity.

Then I met a man who I thought was IT!!! After many years without someone, I bravely did a "leap of faith" and handed him my heart in all its honesty and sincerity and openness and he disappointed me. I could not believe that there would be a person such as him. He lived in lies and deception. I was relieved that I discovered the truth about his real world...

Thursday, April 12, 2007

A talk about education and learning...

From the second we came out in this world, our learning process starts. From that time on, we continue to learn. I think that every second of our existence is devoted to learning, consciously or subconsciously. I figure, what we have learned from the past made us what we are today. I look at learning as two ways... the formal and informal or the scholastic and practical.

The formal way in the process of learning starts when we are about 4 years old, when we were introduced to the social gathering of children in a place called "school". That process of learning continues on until we decide to stop for some any 'ole reason.

I understand that education, college degree in this matter, can help you achieve a more secured future? But then there are many successful people in the world that don't have college education. So how important is it really? I remember my son talking to me shortly after graduating high school. He said, Mom why don't you just give me $10,000.00 as an investment and I will just be a professional poker player... To which I sternly answered... Son, why don't you finish college and we will talk then about giving you the ten thousand and be whatever you want. That was the first and last time I heard about that.

I have come across some scholastically educated people who are unable to use any common sense. And I know and I have met some intelligent people with minimal scholastic achievement. My mother is one. She can talk to anyone about world current events and about many books that she had read. The other one was my dear friend Elise, who came to America as one of those post-war French brides. With minimal education but great hard work and determination, she became a successful rancher. She was able to live very comfortably towards the end of her life. My baby brother is very successful in his chosen field with minimal college education.
I personally like going to school. That probably sounds strange to some people but it is the truth about me. I actually enjoy being in school. I don't mind being in that atmosphere. I came to the US with a college degree which I finish in 3 1/2 years. When I couldn't find any success in that college degree, I went back to school continuously until I finished another degree. But did I need all of that schooling? Probably not, but I didn't mind it. So is it fair to say that scholastic education is just a matter of preference? Or is it a matter of survival? Or a matter of success?

Does it even really matter?

Monday, April 2, 2007

All about B R A G G I N G!!!

Alright, I have waited long enough to brag about my one and only, the love of my life, the only priceless treasure I have ... my son, C. He came unto the world 2 weeks later than expected. Although he was born 10.1 pounds and 23 1/2 inches, he was under close observation for a month for possible more complications from difficult delivery... medical negligence actually. Ten years of his life was an observation period with pending litigation if ever a health issue surfaced.

He was finally brought home after a month of stay in the hospital. Never had any medical problems ever since, thank goodness!!! He grew up a happy, healthy, full of energy, and intelligent child. Being the only second child on my side of the family, he received tremendous amount of love and attention. He did not have many toys because I did not believe in having them. What he did have were books. We spent many hours reading books and having adventures and using imagination through them. We were active members of our public library, letting him join in reading programs, and similar activities. He learned to read with 100% comprehension at age 3. From then on he continued to be advanced scholastically. Every year the school would recommend for him to be promoted to the higher grade but we decided to leave him be with his own age group. He might have been advanced scholastically but socially, we felt that he was just right and needed that part of growing up with children of his own age. Being an only child, school was his important source of social growth.

School years were hectic. He did all of those little boys' activities such as sports, school activities and advanced scholastic activities with awards and recognitions. His love for reading developed. And now that he is all grown up, he would occasionally tease me for giving him that curse... the love for reading... because he can not stop reading.

He, just like any other child was resilient. We parents sometimes misjudge our children's capacities to take in life changes. They are very capable beings in handling family life changes. C, is no exception. He was able to work around Mom's life changes. I went back to school while continued to work night shift so that I can be home during the day for him. He learned to adapt to that and grew up in that kind of environment without a lot of difficulties. He just continued to grow up and grew up he did in seemingly high-speed fashion.

Many times, I have made the comment about being content just to sit in the corner of the room and watch this child every second of everyday and not be bored at all. But reality dictated that it was not possible.

Teen-age years were typical. There was that stage of "know -it-all, smart-mouth, testing limits". But he learned pretty quickly that all those were not needed and not important so we moved along in our growth stages without a lot of difficulties. At age 13, he was made to sit down and made to listen to Mom's heart talk. I was amazed how he took it smartly and lovingly... the decision to live separately from his father. Again I say, we misjudge our children with their abilities to understand.

Then, Mom's awakening came... he was off to college. OH NO!!! I had the harder time with the separation than him I think. But then we both adjusted and accepted the fact. Just another stage of growing for all of us.

Now he is a college graduate with double majors. Always a good child and remain my source of joy. He is my ears and shoulders to cry on and I am likewise to him. He is adjusting to the world of adulthood with his first job, first apartment, first car (that he bought). I think he is doing a pretty good job on it. And in my book, he will always be the first...