2011. That was the year when I finally had the strength and courage to spread my wings and leave my parents’ humble abode to go live on my own. I was scared, excited, and anxious all at the same time. There I was, an unmarried, 28 year old woman trying to build her own life independently. It was also the year I landed a new job, where I became a team leader after just one year. I also had my wonderful and caring boyfriend (who is now my dear husband) with me during this time who helped me adjust to my new surroundings. Truly, I was in a new chapter of my life. He took me to and from work. We held get-togethers, and invited friends and family over. I held meetings and team bonding sessions at the clubhouse and the poolside. I felt that it was going to be a wonderful chapter of my life. I remember on some days, I would be sitting by the poolside of the clubhouse of Ohana Place, basking in the sun, enjoying the sights and sounds of my new community and thinking about how great it was to be able to live in a such a place where I felt safe.
Then, a couple of years later, I married my handsome boyfriend in 2013 and had a beautiful baby boy the year after. Every morning, as long as the sun is out, I would take a leisurely stroll to the clubhouse and I would sit in my “usual” chair by the pool. This time, I no longer sat as an anxious woman who just left her parents’ home. I had my baby boy basking in the morning sun beside me in his stroller. I was now an anxious new mom. There, I met new mothers like me, and we shared baby stories, our struggles as new moms, our anxieties as new moms, our fears as new moms, our proudest moments as new moms. We also shared delicious meals and cooking recipes. Our babies grew up together as they took their awkward first steps by the poolside of Ohana Place. They had scrapes and bruises from tumbling down, but they persevered. And those first awkward steps quickly turned into awkward sprints around the pool area. Our babies laughed whole-heartedly and played with each other as I, along with the other moms, watched them learn how to take turns at the swings and at the slide at the playground. I watched him as he sat by the poolside eating his snacks and watching the big kids swim. We held first birthday parties and other celebrations at the clubhouse. I felt safe, and I felt my baby was safe inside this friendly community. I remember thinking how great it was to raise a family here as there is such tremendous care and support coming from our kind neighbors.
More years went by, and our family grew. We had another handsome baby boy in 2017. Then, I had two little boys sitting with me by the poolside of the clubhouse. While kuya ran around the playground, his little brother and I soaked in the morning sun. Kuya now held his little brother’s hand and helped him take his wobbly and awkward first steps by the poolside. My heart was full as I watched my eldest learn how to take care of his little brother. My eldest would hold his baby brother’s hand as they walk side by side towards the playground area. He would push his baby brother on the swing, and he would carefully guide him up the jungle gym so that his baby brother could go down the slide. We held more birthday parties and other celebrations by the poolside. I watched with a full and contented heart as my eldest play and celebrate events with his cousins and his young neighboring friends. I remember feeling a sense of security being in such a community with friendly people, fresh air, and clean surroundings in the middle of such a busy city.
Fast forward to the present. 2019. We now have three beautiful children. My two little boys now have a little sister, the rose among the thorns, their Princess Peach to their Mario and Luigi. There are still some days when I would bring them by the poolside of the clubhouse to soak in some sunshine or to just take a walk around. I watch my little rough and rowdy boys, and I listen to their laughter as their little feet run around the playground and meet new friends. On some days, I sit by myself on my “usual” chair by the poolside and watch my kids swim and play in the water with their dad, my caring husband. I would listen to the little squeals of laughter as they splash around and discover how their bodies move in the water. I smile as my husband catches our eldest as he slides down the pool with a big splash. I watch them have fun and create memories to last their lifetime. These are the moments when I contemplate on my journey in life from a single woman, to a wife, and now to a mother of three beautiful children. This quiet community in the middle of the city that we call “home” is one that I hold dear to my heart. This is the place that helped me grow as a person, in more ways than one. This is the place where I have started the best chapter of my life.
We will still have more birthdays and other life milestones to celebrate by the poolside of Ohana Place. We will have more barbeques and swimming bonding days. My two boys and one little girl will meet more friends to play with and run around with at the playground. Soon enough, the two kuyas will help their baby sister take her first steps by the poolside. I will have more recipes and more dishes to learn and share with our neighbors. I will meet more moms like me. Our loving family and friends will still come over and create even more memories with our children. I will still have more days to sit and enjoy the sights and sounds by the poolside. Truly, I am enjoying this chapter of my life. Yes, there are ups and downs, and stress is inevitable, especially with kids running around, but I choose to concentrate on the good moments, the happy days, and the times my heart is full of love and laughter. Coming home, enjoying the sunshine by the poolside of Ohana Place, and listening to the sounds of children laughing and playing around lessens the stress from the hustle and bustle of the city outside our gates and calms down my very energetic boys. Truly, this chapter of my life has been an amazing journey, and I know that there will be more memories to create around the poolside of Ohana Place. As I step back and look at the view of the poolside, I feel safe, happy, and contented. This is enough for me. This is my DMCI story, and I am loving every moment of it.