A Tubby Tabby, Three Konekos, and a Life with Hello Kitty and Autism

Fill ‘Er Up

I think A realized that I was this close to “flipping out”-  from dealing with this nasty, mutating cough bug, and with Alphonse breathing down my neck almost every second of the day (yup, he’s that close!), to unfinished work staring at me like a guilty reminder of sin, and still the day-to-day demands of a household — that he’s been very generous with the time I spend outside the home. Many times, he would take over the responsibilities of the household (including care of Alphonse) just to give me some breathing space. And I really, truly appreciate his kindness.

When Toto came to the country, A got us tickets to the show so he and I could have some time alone. Unfortunately, I was running a fever then and was hardly in any mood to jam with the band. Still, not wanting to spoil the mood, I went along, only to be horribly dizzy when the band segued into snippets of popular songs like Rosanna and Africa.

Three days later, Swing Out Sister was in the country, and once again, A and I had tickets. This time, he was the one who was febrile and coughing. While I enjoyed this concert more than I did Toto’s, it was hard to soak in the pleasure of the moment when your partner was almost delirious with fever.

Later that week, my brother and his family invited us to lunch at a country club to celebrate my niece Arielle’s 13th birthday. The whole family came, including grandparents and aunts and uncles. Then the boys (my brothers, A, and Alex) went bowling in the afternoon while Alphonse and I quietly watched and enjoyed from the sidelines. I’ve never seen him enjoy a day as much; usually, we’re not able to stay in one place for any longer than an hour. That day, Alphonse was all smiles as he basked in the loving attention of his family. 

The next day, April 14, A and I took a couple of  hours to attend the launch of Batjay’s “Mga Kwento ng Batang Kaning Lamig” at Fully Booked at The Fort. A and I are fans of Kwentong Tambay, Batjay’s weblog, and so we got a copy of his book to have it signed. I saw him at the corner of my eye while I was queuing for books. He was having pictures taken at the time, and my hand suddenly itched to grab a shot, too. Unfortunately, I was struck with a sudden case of shyness so I waited for A to catch up with me (he was paying for the book at the ground floor) before we went up to introduce ourselves. As much as we would have wanted to stay for the duration of the launch, A got a call and had to get back to the office. I had to get back to Alphonse, too, who was waiting patiently for me at home. Still, I got a book signed, and even without the BatJay’s picture to complete the experience, meeting one of our favorite bloggers was definitely well worth the trip.

I had a meet-up with friends the next week, all moms of Alex’s classmates. Being part of the same class has forged a special friendship and kinship among us. I’ve made quite a lot of friends in the last year, yet none as special as these moms. For people who’ve achieved and done so much, they are truly some of the kindest, humblest persons I’ve ever met. That was an afternoon well spent in talk and food. I truly love E, C, and S! (Not to mention C, S, R who were not able to make it that day.) Later, C and I went for coffee and more talk, until Alex called me up to remind me to go home early since one of the nannies was leaving. Drat!

These days, I’m attending a night school of sorts. Six to nine in the evening for the past five nights has been my “away” time from the family. A encouraged me to sign up for a special 10-day Applied Behavioral Analysis training program for parents run by Mrs. Miriam Sy, our gracious host, and Teachers Ian Agustino and Anna Abad (two of only three ABA practitioners with individual accreditation from the Philippine Association of Behavioral Analysis in the country; teacher Ian also used to be Alphonse’s case manager). We are a motley group of 14 parents- two dads, two love teams (husband and wife), and eight moms. All of us have children with autism of varying degrees and diagnoses, with ages ranging from two to 13. I immediately bonded with the moms of older kids, but the entire group is very easy to get along with. We have a lot of fun working out on training scenarios. Moreover, I am impressed by our teachers’ abilities to translate theoretical knowledge into more tangible experiences for us. We’re set to complete the course on Sunday, and while I’ll be very happy to have more time at home, I’m almost sorry to see an end to our “school” nights.

Looking back, I think A knew that I needed these activities to sustain me when I was near empty. When I reflect on A’s generosity and concern for me, I can’t help but be eternally grateful that this loving, loving man is mine.

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