Last night my daughter asked me if i would have left my job if i didn’t settle down and had kids. For a moment i was tempted to give her the answer that would make her feel good but remembered that honesty has always been one of the strongest foundations of our relationship so i told her the truth. I said no, I wouldn’t have left.
As i said it i felt a rush of freedom. It was the first time i admitted it out loud. The first time i was honest about it to another person. She fell silent for a while and looked at me with so much love in her eyes. She said, “I’m going to write a story about you. The story of your life”.
It was my turn to be silent. What do i say to that? I just loved her even more.
It has been eleven years since i gave up a dream for another dream. At that time i thought of it as just putting it on hold until life happened and brought a series of detours that i forgot that i have put something on hold.
But you never really forget something that shaped the person that you are. When i was a child, my parents would often see me talking in front of the mirror. They said i was mimicking a newscaster, holding a pen and paper. I only knew of that story when i told them i was going to take up Mass Communication in College because i wanted to be a journalist. I became one.
A month before graduation, i landed my first job as a newscaster for Channel 13. Finals and thesis defense were over and i was just waiting for graduation so i can finally start the next chapter of my life. My Dad saw an advertisement for newscasters and suggested that i apply. I went for an audition and two weeks after i made my first newscast on national television. I gave my first paycheck, all of it, to my mom.
It was a milestone in my life i will never forget. It felt like i was holding the world in my hands and i could do anything.
After a year at IBC 13 i moved on to ABS-CBN. I went to audition for an early morning newscast that was going to be aired before their morning show ( Ala Singko Y Medya). There was a long line of aspirants, about a hundred or so. I prayed, hoped and waited. After hours of waiting, the assistant producer came out and told us they will be auditioning only fifty more and the rest can leave and wait for further announcements if another set of auditions will be held. I was number 50. I was the last to audition and i made it. I will never be able to describe until now how i felt that time. I would have worked there for free if it meant having to say that i anchor for ABS-CBN.
Waking up at three in the morning and coming to work at four was a breeze. At 20, i was the oldest of the three girls who were casted for ABS-CBN’s newest program. I was tasked to do the hard news, Monette Manabat did the features and Bianca Gonzales anchored the showbiz segment. Marc Logan was our Executive Producer. I loved my job. Loved every part of it.
This part of my life is called happiness.
Then it was time to move on again. A number of programs were reformatted and ours was among those that were cancelled. It was a sad time but i had so much happiness stored that i didn’t feel bad for long. I knew that another door was going to open.
It was wide open. I walked through it and stayed for seven years.
Come home to ABC
It was in ABC 5 where i learned how to be a true journalist. It was there where i learned to love my craft with so much passion that everything else paled in comparison. It was there where i saw the world for what it really was.
It was there where i learned how to be one of the boys, to push and fight my way into a mob just so i can get a sound bite.
It was there where i came face to face with death and became numb with it as the number of my exposure to it piled up. It was there where i learned how to work for 24 hours and manage not to look sleepless at all when it was time to face the camera. It was there where i learned how to eat in carinderias ( low-class eatery as google defines it). My motto was “Bawal ang maselan pag reporter ka”( fussiness is not allowed when you are a reporter). It was there where i learned how it was like to live the life of a poor farmer as i stood side by side with them and planted “palay” ( rice grain) under the scorching heat of the sun.
It was there where i had the chance to dress like a pilot and rode four Philippine Air Force air crafts in three days.
It was there where i learned to accept criticisms and use them to grow and be better. It was there where i learned about corruption and was ostracized because i refused to be bribed and join the bandwagon. It was there where i almost got ambushed, quickly wrote a farewell letter to my family lying face down on the road while on coverage in Jolo, Sulu.
It was there where i learned to fight the nausea and fatigue as my belly grew bigger and heavier while still running after the news. It was there where i almost had the chance to go to Paris but had to pass it up for a safe pregnancy. It was there where i was lovingly reprimanded by a Senator and told me to go home, put my feet up and wait for my baby to be born because he was afraid i would go into labor in the middle of the election coverage. It was there where i learned to write everything and write them fast. It was there where i learned that i am responsible for my stories and they matter. What i do matters.
This part of my life is called passion.
Those seven years were so full. My daughter calls it, “mommy’s glory days”. Every bit of it are now stored in boxes and archived in computer files. Those in between are kept in my heart. If i were to write everything about it, i would come up with a book. Maybe someday. Soon, i hope.
Full time motherhood
I bid farewell to ABC in 2007 when my daughter was two years old. My last coverage was the eruption of Mt. Bulusan in Sorsogon. I was assigned there for a week and it was there that i composed my resignation letter. I handed it to my boss, Ed Lingao the day i came back. He told me i was lucky to have the option to choose because others do not. A month after i was a full time mom.
It was a decision met with so much doubt from family and friends. But i was headstrong. I took a leap of faith.
Leaps and Bounds
It took a year of crying at long distance coverages, missing my daughter and wishing that i was the one taking care of her at home before i finally had the courage to make a choice. I couldn’t do my work half-hearted anymore and i couldn’t be just a weekend mom any longer.
With me not earning and contributing to the household finances, fear of lack started to creep in. But the Lord was quick with His reward. Soon after i was hosting two television programs and special events on the side. All these i was able to do while taking care of my daughter everyday without a maid. Five years later, God blessed us with a son. It is truly amazing how God surprises you with the best of plans. He alters yours because He has something better.
Eleven years later i see my former colleagues behind my television screen. There were some who chose the path that i took while others stayed and have made names for themselves already. Some days, i allow myself to wonder what would it have been like if i had stayed. But i also ask myself, what would it have been like if i didn’t.
The greatest miracles of my life
I am now thirty eight years old. Still married and still a full time mom to a thirteen year old and a seven year old. God’ grace has paved the way to work opportunities that i can do without letting go of my full time motherhood status. I do a bit of everything of what i used to do all the time. I anchor, i host, i write. All in my free time. The rest of the time, i do a lot of what i used to have so little time for. I take care of my children. The two greatest miracles of my life. If i am given a chance to live my life once again, i would still choose them. What i would do to keep them little forever.
But they are growing so fast and i’m getting older. Maybe it is time for me to take a peek and see if what i have put on hold is still there.
This part of my life is called motherhood.
Looking back is therapy for the soul
Once in a while i open those boxes and pore over my files. I find that it restores me on days when my cup runs out. It comforts me on days when i ask my whys, hows and whens. It reminds me that i am worth so much more and that it is alright to still dream of something more. There is always a tinge of sadness but never with regret. That i can truthfully say.
Old habits never die
To this day i still carry a notebook and a pen with me wherever i go. There is never a day when i don’t feel the urge to write something. Light bulb moments are everyday occurrences with me. There is always a conversation going on inside my head. Sometimes my children would tell me that i talk like a reporter whenever i was trying to explain something to them. I don’t think i will ever outgrow the habit for how do you remove something that shaped the person that you are?
The whats, whens and hows
The boxes are open now. I have been looking through everything and remembering. My soul needed it. The contents of those boxes prompted me to write this. There is so much more to tell. Some of which i have told my children already. What a full life i have led and i am not even halfway done. In two years i will be forty years old. If the saying is true, i can’t wait for my life to begin again.
Dreams are free and i am a dreamer.
This part of my life is called dreaming, hoping and waiting.