Today we celebrated Benicio’s first birthday with lots of friends and family and even more food. Enough food for every guest to take something home for another meal. Filipino gatherings–like most family gatherings–are centered around food. Fried, caloric, fatty goodness. Pancit, BBQ pork kebabs, mango ice-cream from Mitchell’s. My personal favorite? My sister’s fried lumpia dipped in my aunt’s spinach dip. I go to town with the combination, hovering over the table dipping the lumpia as my mom screams, “Get a plate and sit down!”
I was a happy stuffed piglet rubbing my tummy when my aunt asked, “Why do you do that? Are you pregnant?”
I shrugged, “Maybe.” I laughed, “Who knows? I could be. Just in time for the wedding, eh?”
My mom glared at me and all my aunts laughed.
At this age, I like shocking my family. Their good little straight A princess gets preggers before matrimony. I love it. But there’s no way I’m pregnant. I’m been on the pill for as long as I can remember. It’s never failed me before, I doubt it’ll fail me now. I know there’s also this old wives tale about being on the pill for so long and eventually having a hard time getting pregnant after you get off the pill. That’s a bunch of bullshit, in my opinion.
I’m in no rush to get pregnant. I’m in no rush to be a mommy. And I tell everyone this, if God pulled me aside one day and said, “No kids for you,” I would not be heartbroken.
My aunt who asked if I was pregnant made it a point to tell everyone, “You know what Catarina used to say when she was a kid and a teenager? She’d say, ‘I’ll kill myself if ever I got pregnant. I’ll kill myself!’ “
I don’t ever remember saying that, but I’m not at all surprised I uttered those exact words. Sounds like me. I know that I vividly remember wanting to get my tubes tied in high school. “Why not,” I scoffed. “I know I don’t want kids. Might as well take care of the situation now.”
Despite the fact that I’ve been ambivalent about having children, I have very strong opinions on raising them. Discipline is top of mind–just from genetics and my own upbringing. There were no time outs when I was a kid. My mom spanked us with her hard-heeled slipper.
I distinctly remember a couple of unruly teenagers at church—a strong childhood memory of mine. Their parents remained silent while the teens chatted loudly and yakked their gum. Twenty minutes into the mass, my mom tapped them on the shoulder and sternly said, “You need to be respectful in church.” They didn’t say a peep after that. I had a lot of respect for my mom at that moment. I’m sure the teens did, too. Children need discipline. It can’t be the parents following around the kids. It’s got to be the other way around. Kids need a strong, disciplined leader.
So when I saw my nephew Dominic purposely knock down a 13-month-old girl at the party today, I leapt to my feet, slapped that little rugrat on the floor, and gave him a big spanking. “Dominic, I saw that! Don’t you ever do that again!” Dominic’s lower lip started to quiver as he saw the anger in my eyes.
“I want my mommy!”
“Oh yeah, you’re going to get your mommy. Therese!” I called over my sister. “Dominic just knocked her down.”
My sister came and grabbed him by the wrist, hauling him away for another big whop. I gave him another slap on the behind for good measure. No kid of ours is going to get away with bad manners. That is for sure.
The little girls mom said, “Wow, you’re going to be a good mom.”
“Thanks,” I cried out of breath. Let’s hope the mom situation ain’t for a couple years.