Here at Preen, we’re fully aware that adult life doesn’t always go as smoothly (and look as beautiful) as curated Instagram feeds. We all face challenges amidst all the good things. Meet Mikka Wee, a former food editor-turned-working gal in Singapore, who’s about to share all the ups and downs that come with adulting and living. Welcome to Bless This Mess!
When you’re married, it is inevitable that everyone will start to ask when you’ll have kids—not to mention, actual demands from family to have a child already. Call it a cultural norm, but I am really sensitive to it because first of all, it’s not the asker’s body that will mutate and swell; nor will the support (monetary and emotional) come from the person asking. I, for one, would like to honor my body and give it the ample time it needs before actually creating an environment for a little human to live inside it. I admit, I have been under tremendous pressure to have a child already, and it irks and annoys me so much because it’s my body. “Having a child will bring your life to full circle,” said no one ever.
And yet, even though I am not innately drawn to human babies, I believe I have unconsciously developed a maternal pull towards a very important critter in my life—my Maltese, Rocket. I occasionally mention him in my articles, being one of the top reasons I fly back to Manila and the hardest long distance relationship I have. Maybe this is the closest thing to a maternal pull that I have at the moment, and if you are a dog momma yourself, then you know what it feels like to have your own little pooch brighten up your life.
They say, being a mother demands lots of unconditional love. I believe dogs and their masters have a very unique connection, an unspeakable language that bonds them for life. Rocket and I had our share fair share of fights; one I will never forget was when he chewed and tore apart some bills that fell from my pocket. I thought it was just a small pile of newspaper torn into shreds, but to my horror, I saw shredded pieces of our heroes’ faces. To my fury, I shouted at Rocket—and in return, he barked and sneered at me. But after a while, my heart just softened up, and as if he knew, he jumped on my lamp and rested there.
Apart from the mandatory routines needed to take care of a pet—feeding, bathing, walking, etc.—there is the occasional pocket of special quality time that Rocket and I share. One of my favorites is when we would hang out with my mom while she played solitaire and listened to music. We would all lie down on the bed, and I would bury my face in Rocket’s fur until we both fell asleep. There’s also the waking up part, which is both an inconvenience sometimes, but always a joy. Whenever I am in Manila—and even while I still lived there—Rocket would always wake me up with “dog kisses” as I would lovingly put it. In reality, he would slobber my face, forcing me to wake up and get started with my day. I miss those so much.
Coming home only to leave again never becomes easier. I hold all my tears as I hug my mom and Rocket good-bye before heading to the airport. As soon as the car drives away from our gate, the floodgates let loose. I cry and I cry and I cry all the way to the airport, all the way to luggage check-in—and last December, all the way until immigration. My husband jokingly chides me sometimes, asking why Rocket is always my phone’s wallpaper and never him—and I always tell him the answer is quite obvious, and that Rocket is my baby. I even had him (Rocket, not my husband) tattooed on my arm in my second year in Singapore so that he would always be with me.
Of course, there are days when he gets sick and is brought to the vet. I feel the pain of distance most during these instances. Rocket is turning nine years old next year, and even though he has already become blind as a bat, he is still the same loving (and really awkward) snow-colored furball that I’ve always known him to be. He bumps into objects at night, but he is very loved by my mom, my family, and by me, even if it has to be from a distance.
There is a truth I do not want to accept, but I know I will have to, eventually. I always pray that it will not be any time soon because I do not know how I will unravel and cope when that day comes. To be a dog mom is truly one thing I am immensely grateful for because it is a love unlike anything I have neither felt nor given. It is so pure and so sincere, and to have this special relationship with Rocket and watch him grow throughout the years has taught me so many lessons and has widened my capacity to give and receive love.
So it’s Mother’s Day tomorrow, and apart from celebrating my mom and my grandmother, I would like to celebrate all dog moms out there, including myself. I can’t really compare it yet to having an actual human child, but I feel that there are similar truths about both experiences. Being a dog mom and raising a pooch of your own is not the easiest thing in the world, but isn’t it just so worth it to be able to experience such a special relationship?
Well, I think it is. Happy Mother’s Day.
Disclaimer: The views expressed here are solely those of the author in her private capacity and do not in any way represent the views of Preen.ph, or any other entity of the Inquirer Group of Companies.