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A Life Unexpected: A Look Back Into The Year That Was

A Life Unexpected: A Look Back Into The Year That Was

Parenting | March 16, 2021
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Unexpected as things have been, there have been many realizations and lessons learned in the year that passed, informing us of a better way at life years down the road.

If someone were to ask me to describe my 2020, I would say that it was the year when all my carefully laid plans fell to pieces… And then landed in all the right places, creating one beautiful experience I never could have dreamed up on my own.

Not many people know that we left Manila in March of last year to go on another IVF journey. The plan was to take a sabbatical from work, spend a few weeks relaxing with family and friends in Vancouver, and then fly to San Francisco to visit my doctor for another embryo transfer. We were only supposed to be away for three months. 

But two weeks after we arrived in Canada, the World Health Organization confirmed a global pandemic that completely derailed our plans. 

A year later and we are still here…

As stressful as that sounds, it really feels more like divine intervention, because Canada, without a doubt, been the most perfect place for us to be in during this time in our lives.

Not that we haven’t had our own share of challenges and disappointments; I felt my heart crack when we had to indefinitely postpone our IVF plans. Online pre-school classes pushed the limits of my patience. The seismic shift to working from home (long-distance, at that!) tested my mettle. So many things happened so fast that sometimes, it felt like the world was spinning off of its axis. 

But once I settled into the reality of our circumstances, I started to see all the silver linings: we were safe, we had strong support from family and friends (in Canada and the Philippines), and best of all, our daughter never had to experience her world getting much smaller because of a total lockdown. Even during the brief period when places were closed, we had the vast natural beauty of British Columbia to explore. 

Time slowed down and our needs were whittled down to “essentials,” and this is probably where we discovered the greatest lessons only a pandemic could have ever taught us: that all we really need to be truly happy is each other, and that home is anywhere we are, as long as we are together. 

Making those necessary parenting adjustments

year

Sometimes my husband and I chuckle when we look back at the kind of parents we were when we first arrived. I remember us being in the playground, hovering around our daughter, ready to catch her if she falls. Now, we’re quite comfortable maintaining a safe distance, and because we’ve learned to let go, she has become much more confident and independent. 

Even at home, we’re constantly teaching her to do her share of the work. While that takes a lot of patience, I marvel at all the things she’s learned to do that I never would have thought a three-year-old could do on her own. 

And on the hardest days, my most exhausting days, I remember the few times in Manila when I would get stuck in meetings and the legendary Metro Manila traffic, and I’d feel so bad thinking that I was missing out on what my daughter was doing. There’s a lot less sleep—and bigger eyebags—now, but it’s been such a joy to be able to be together like this. I love that we have this time. It’s not easy, but I love it. It’s everything that I used to pray for.

year unexpected

Counting my blessings and praying for others

As the vaccines start to be more readily available, and as the world begins to quicken its pace, I can’t help but feel grateful for all the wonderful experiences we shared and all the memories we made. 

But I’ve also taken the time to reflect on how the pandemic hasn’t been kind to other people. It’s raised a lot of questions on whether or not I should feel grateful for my experience, and if it would be in poor taste to be so outwardly grateful when so many have lost so much. I sometimes wonder if I should feel guilty that my family has gotten stronger, while others are falling apart.

If there’s anything that this whole trying year has taught me, is that there’s a difference between relief and gratitude. Simply being relieved that my experience wasn’t as terrible as it could have been would be like putting my personal happiness over the troubles of others. Gratitude, to me, is being able to practice empathy and claiming your joy in equal parts.

year

We shouldn’t ignore what’s going on in the world. We shouldn’t stop caring about other people. But we also shouldn’t let it blind us to the things we could be grateful for. We need to allow ourselves to appreciate what makes life worth living, because that’s how we remind ourselves why we need to help make things better.

I am grateful for the time I’ve been able to spend with my husband and daughter this past year. My family feels nothing but gratitude for the support of our family and friends, and for the beautiful life we’ve found ourselves falling into here in British Columbia. 

And because we are grateful for what we have, and what we have experienced, we will do everything we can to make sure we can keep it, and to help others find something to be grateful for, too.

Related: Seven Steps To A Better You

With Celine’s trusted eye for the chic, unique and stylish, it was only natural for her to dabble in modeling, TV hosting, being a newspaper columnist and PR director. She transformed her very diverse background into several growing enterprises, namely Mullenlowe Marc (formerly known as ARC Public Relations), a healthy snack brand called Honest Junk and anti-mosquito cologne cult classic, Kiele Naturals. But nothing gives her more fulffillment than her greatest accomplishment — being a mom to her daughter, Iris. This mompreneur is excited to share tips, advice and all around good vibes on all things parenting.
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