By Regina Abuyuan

 

Readers of this blog who are connected with me through Facebook have probably been keeping tabs on the latest adventure of my wonky life. With D and another friend, R, I recently opened a pub in Cubao X. It’s called Fred’s (after D’s grandfather, a drinking stalwart who was also into cigars; coincidentally, R’s and my maternal grandfathers were also named Fred, and both carried their drink and smokes more than well). It’s been weeks of very late nights (er, early mornings) for me, which had me behind the bar serving drinks, wiping down tables, and cleaning ashtrays. I have great respect for waitresses and barmaids now. Their job is exhausting and murder on the feet and legs.

For more than a week straight, I packed my kids off to my mom’s (God bless grandmas!), and prayed they wouldn’t be any trouble.

They were.

Well, at least my twins were. My daughter behaved as she always does—responsible, quiet, obedient. My absence had taken its toll on the twins. My mom and her househelp tell me they frequently fight, watch too much TV, and fall asleep with the TV on. One day, when I had nicked enough time to drive by and check on them, they exasperatedly said, in unison: “Finally!”

When I got ready to leave again, Mateo handed me the piece of origami he had made (he likes making me these things; my bedside table is littered with them). “I made this for you, Mommy.”

My heart almost broke with guilt.

Their teachers have told me their behavior has changed in school, as well. Mateo’s on the verge of being a bully; Marco is his usual cool self—but probably more cool than expected, which is also reason for alarm.

I swore I would never allow myself to feel this way again, to let any situation let me feel this way again. But the universe likes to play jokes on us sometimes, and just as we think we’re free, an opportunity comes where we have to give up something to attain something. I feel especially guilty because the twins have gotten the brunt of these choices; the first was when I was putting up a new magazine when they were only three years old, and now, this.

Is it worth it, you may ask? I don’t know yet. But at least now, being part-owner of something I created, I also have the power to choose how much time I put in our venture, and how much control I’m willing to take—or give up.

I’ve not had a late night in the pub since Friday, and I attended the twins’ emergency preparedness workshop on Saturday (another advocacy I’m involved in). I’m trying to regain what I lost over the past weeks: Balance. It’s what all mothers strive for. It’s the law of the universe; the law of Mother Nature herself, who knows just how and when to tip the scales this way and that.

Wish me luck!

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