Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Breakfast and Ghosts

A short story based on true events...or as true as they can be. 

Everyone has gone from the kitchen table and only Benjamin was left eating his breakfast. His brother and sister already finished their eggs and milk, he on the other hand still had more than half of the food left on his plate. 

Benjamin isn't a slow or picky eater per say and he very much enjoys eating meals at a brisk pace so that he can go back to playing and more fun activities. But there are those moments when his hands aren't on his silverware, there's no food in his mouth and he seems almost entranced while staring into the kitchen. 

His mom notices this from time to time and often scolds him for not eating continuously or taking too long. 

"Ben, hurry up and eat your food! Why do you keep staring into the kitchen? There's nothing in there."

"But there is someone in there. And she's cooking..."

Mom stopped what she was doing and sat down at the table next to him to inquire a little further on the matter. Perplexed yet intrigued she continued, 

"What do you mean she's cooking? Who's cooking?" 

"The lady. She's at the stove cooking." 

"Is the lady in the kitchen right you see her?" 

Benjamin nods quietly and takes a bite of his toast while keeping his gaze in the kitchen.  

"What does she look like?" 

"She has short hair, dark skin, uhhh...she's wearing a brown shirt. Maybe she's dead? Or a spirit?"

Mind you, Benjamin is only 4 years old, buhe speaks  with such knowledge you don't expect from a child his age and sometimes talks about pasts and presents that aren't his own. His parents have embraced his quirky and sometimes bewildering characteristics, but aren't completely convinced of his "abilities" and often dismiss it as wild imaginations. 

Recently, Benjamin and his family moved into a condominium in the heart of a bustling city surrounded by shopping malls and business centers. From their balcony they can see the mountains, beaches and city skyscrapers in one beautiful panoramic view. The condos are no more than ten years old with modern designs and well maintained aesthetics complete with a kids playground, pool and gym amenities. 

Unlike before, they lived in an older and dated apartment complex with plenty of...history, I guess you can say. So when Benjamin would speak about seeing strangers pass through or "figures" in certain rooms, it didn't really surprise his mom or dad. 

"Do you see her a lot or just now?" 

"Yeah I see her sometimes, always cooking. I also see the man sometimes too..." 

"The man? Do they look nice or mean?" 

"The lady is cooking. I don't see her face. I guess she's nice because she's just cooking. The man, he's ummm...a little mean or scary?" 

"What makes the man mean or scary?" 

"He's dark and sometimes I just see his head. In the oven." 

Mom couldn’t help but to wonder about those brownies she baked the other day and if the "man" was in the oven baking alongside her fudgy decadence.  

Now that they're in a newer place and living in a unit that has only had one other previous occupant, it was a bit surprising to hear Ben talk of "seeing things" again. While everything about their current living situation seems completely ordinary, there is one thing that Ben's mom did observe about the building they were living in.  

There's no 13th floor. Was the owner/contractor that superstitious to intentionally leave out a 13th level? But aside from a missing floor, the building is absolutely ordinary. Unlike the morning conversations held around the breakfast table in condo unit 12G.  

"Is that why you sometimes don't want to eat alone at the table? And why you're always looking in the kitchen?" 


"Do you see anything else, anywhere else around here?" 

"Sometimes in the bedroom, in the bathroom, when the lights are off, and in the kitchen. Are they ghosts mommy?" 

"Spirits, Ben. Ghost have somewhat of a negative connotation to them. So let's call them spirits." 

"OK. The spirits are scary sometimes." 

"You don't have to be afraid of them. Remember, when you and I die we also become spirits. And if anything, just know that you're stronger and more powerful than any spirit, ghost or "monster" that looks scary." 

"OK. Can I have some more milk, please?" 

"Alright. Now hurry up and eat so you can go play." 

Maybe mom and dad should have listened to Ben when they were out condo-hunting two weeks earlier. After seeing all three  prospective properties they asked their son what he thought about the different places they saw. 

"Ben, did you like any of the condos we saw?" 


"Do you want to live in any of them?" 


"Why not?" 

"They're all haunted." 

He said this right in front of the realtor lady while they were riding the elevator. She just grinned politely and rather uncomfortably. In the end, the family chose the last condo they saw which was the newest and nicest (and least haunted according to Ben) of them all. 

These probably aren't typical conversation topics you'd have with a preschooler, but in this household nothing's ever really normal.    

Saturday, February 22, 2014

Boys Night Out

So this past Friday my husband and I decided to forgo our usual date night so that he and the boys can spend some quality time out together while the girls have a nice, quiet time at home doing "girly" things like putting on make-up and creating fashion designs in our sketch books (which is exactly what we did). The boys on the other hand went to watch the new Lego Movie which I heard was really awesome because "Everything  is Awesome!" That by the way was one of the awesome theme songs featured in the appropriately awesome movie based on the toys that are painfully awesome when you accidentally step on them barefoot...

After munching on some popcorn and a delightful cinematic experience they had cheese pizza for dinner at S'Barro's, chocolate frosties for dessert at Wendy's, and wrapped up the evening reading books in the bookstore at the mall. They came home around 9 pm tired, but the boys were really happy they got to spend an amazing time with their dad. My husband said he also had fun bonding with his sons and would commit to a Father-Son Day (in exchange for one Date Night) at least once a month. 

Even though we both work from home and see our children 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 52 weeks a's still nice to set apart that time with them every now and then to do something special. Because in the end, it's not how much money you make, how big the house you live in is, or how often you buy them a new toy or fancy gadget that kids will remember and appreciate most while they're growing up and when they're grown, but it's the time you spend with them, focusing on them, talking to them, listening to their stories, doing activities together and just being present in their lives.

Just being present with our kids, just being there even if we're doing nothing at all, is something us parents can take for granted because we easily get caught up in "working", "providing" or "keeping house". In reality, children would rather have your presence than presents because that makes a bigger impact on their lives than any materialistic thing or money.

Next month, it's going to be Father-Daughter Day and my daughter is excited and already planning all the fun "girly" stuff she and daddy will be doing on their date... 

Saturday, November 30, 2013

Happy Thanksgiving!

You don't have to live in the U.S. to celebrate Thanksgiving. 9,000 miles away family and friends are coming together for big feasts, shopping during the "Thanksgiving sales", counting their blessings and being thankful. And who's to say, maybe the Pilgrims stopped over in the Philippines on their way to America (that's the untold story by the way) which is probably why we feel compelled to join in on this great American tradition.

We had a great Thanksgiving. The day started off with some early Christmas shopping and ended with a belly busting BBQ dinner at Racks Restaurant. And although there was no turkey on the plate; beef, pork and chicken did make a delectable appearance.

And of course there was dessert... 

I have so many things to be thankful for; my husband, children, good health, extended family, friends, God's abundant favor and blessing and the list goes on. Yesterday my children wrote/drew a few things they were thankful for on paper and while my two eldest had the usual "family, friends, toys, etc." my four year old made a more...uhhh...let's just say a more interesting list.

His thankful list included a box, a cockroach with no arms and legs, a human, jellyfish, a no-legged kid and fire. You might be scratching your head right now like I was when he was explaining each drawing to me, but let's just interpret this as a reflection of my impeccable parenting and how my child has learned to appreciate and be thankful for all of God's creation. On that note, hope you had a wonderful Thanksgiving!
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