Easy Summers

By Karen Galarpe
I felt it first early this month when I woke up at past 6 in the morning with the sunlight peeking through the blinds. Ah…it’s summer. And what a glorious day: I had 8 hours of sleep and no one had to rush that morning!

For years whenever it’s school season, I would wake up at 5 a.m. while it’s still dark outside to have a few minutes of quiet time before my son wakes up for school.

Then the frenzy starts as breakfast and baon for recess and lunch are prepared, schoolbag is checked, missing items searched for, both student and driver (me at times) get dressed, etc.

After the mad rush, it’s fulfilling to have my son out the door in time to make it to class without being late.

Some years ago, I interviewed an American psychologist who was a guidance counselor at an international school in Manila. And she said there are three times in a day when parents should be around as much as possible for their children: one, when a child leaves for school; two, when a child comes home from school; and three, when a child is about to go to bed.

Busy parents may not have the luxury of time to be there at all three times, but two is good, and one is better than zero.

So, back to summer. With school out, it’s a more laid-back lifestyle for moms, with time to read, play with the dogs, check out new places, catch up on sleep, and just relax–in the cool company of one’s kids. The living is easy. Life is good. Enjoy summer!

Vacation Leave

By Jing Lejano


When I first took a vacation with my sisters many, many years ago, I had to be persuaded. At the time, the idea of going on vacation without my children was foreign to me. We always went everywhere together, which meant, of course, that I was never able to have a proper vacation.

It starts with the packing. I had to make sure that everybody had the appropriate number of shirts and shorts and jammies and undies. If we were traveling somewhere warm, then swimsuits and towels and sunscreen and burn ointments must be taken care of. If we were traveling somewhere cold, then jackets and pants are mandatory. We’re not even talking about their vitamins and medicines, and when we still had a baby, diapers and bottles.

I remember running after them on the beach, making sure they didn’t go too far from the shore.  I remember walking behind them as they ran through hills, making sure nobody loses a footing—and being there if by chance they do. I remember feeding them, bathing them, and then putting them all to sleep, and remembering that hey, we are actually on vacation. Or at least, they are.

It wasn’t until years later that I realized that I needed a break—badly. And that’s when it dawned on me: I have to go on vacation, a real one!

On our first day out, I was so happy not to be bothered by the knock of little fingers while I was in the bathroom. It was an absolute joy not to have any itinerary or any real agenda. I slept. I ate. I swam. I lied down on the sand, and made castles. It was glorious!

Today, I know better. Whether it’s a three-day trip or a two-hour appointment at the spa, I know that the best way that I could take care of my children is to take care of myself first.