Exclamation points could convey a variety of feelings — surprise, alarm, scare, shock, disbelief, disappointment, happiness, anger, excitement, relief, comfort, resistance, strength, exhaustion, grief, amazement, joy, pain, frustration and a whole lot more.
I have experienced tons of exclamation points in my life which had different or mixed meanings. Some are undesirable; fortunately, most are pleasant.
I’ll start with the time my boyfriend (now my husband) popped the question. He took me to a restaurant called 1918 Grill. At the middle of our meal, he told me he has something for me in his bag yet he was reluctant to pull it out, so he asked me to do it. But then he changed his mind. He got that “mysterious thing” out from his bag and put his hands under our table and said things like. “I am supposed to kneel on one knee and give you this but I am shy, there are other people around.” Funny exclamation points!!!
I had some real serious chuckles after he said so! Then he asked me if he could put the ring on my finger while our hands are feeling each other under the table. Funny, indeed. Then he uttered his will-you-marry-me speech which was very touching, which I will not disclose because I believe that was only meant for me to treasure.
So we got married, exchanged eternal vows. Solemn exclamation points!!! The intense feelings of having bound without end to someone you dearly love is ironically mixed with feelings of equally eternal calmness and peace deep within, a feeling close to being inexplicable.
Then after undergoing odd changes in me physically and emotionally, we suspected it was probably because I was already conceiving a baby. True enough, I did! Such a very small rectangular tool brought about great deal of good news. Overjoyed and excited exclamation points!!!
My pregnancy, labor, and delivery elicited a roller coaster of exclamation points from me. Some were awe-filled, hysterical and breathtaking, some extremely painful, some blissful, heavenly, and grateful.
Eight months after delivering my Kealani, I found out I was going to mother yet another daughter. Surprised exclamation points!!! We did not really expect my little Nui yet as much as she was unexpected, she was never unwanted. I was doubly surprised when I found out that Nui was already four months inside! Regretful exclamation points this time!!! I felt like so because have I learned earlier, I should’ve taken better care of her and myself while I was conceiving her.
As I looked back on her first three months, unknowing she was already there, I have taken physically challenging tasks that a pregnant woman is not advised to do — few rounds of carrying books up to my neck and up the stairs. Afterwards, I was very close to fainting. I got pale lips and felt totally fatigued that I laid my self to rest.
Taking care of two babies, juggling tasks until you feel your two hands are insufficient to accomplish everything also draws out a bizarre mixture of exclamation points from me — washing the dishes and ridiculously trying to avoid any annoying clinking sound that might disrupt my babies’ sleep that might prevent me from doing such chore; taking super rapid bath like a paranoid thinking “what if my babies cry for me and I am still all soapy and wet?”; chopping onions while carrying my don’t-put-me-down-or-I’ll-cry baby. Hysterical exclamation points!!!
On the other hand, sleepless nights, sharp stings of breastfeeding, odd physical changes, brought about crazy exclamation points. I likewise got impatient and mad exclamation points when their “babyness” strikes — restlessness, untiring cries, tantrums, stubbornness, petty fights, I-want-what-I-want syndrome, and all.
I had panicked and frantic exclamation points when I hear banging sounds, and I feared the worst — head bump! I so hated those kinds of accidents which babies and toddlers are very prone to. Oh-no exclamation points!!!
Yet these negative vibes were neutralized or even enshrouded by the positive ones — their firsts: laugh, rollover, word, step; their cute and longer-than-usual yawn, and peaceful and heavenly sleep; not to mention their baby tricks starting from close-open, beautiful eyes, clap your hands, high five, a line, and what not.
Their dancing and singing baby skills were likewise heartwarming, specially when they try really hard with all those adorable totters, wobbles, and stuttering. Precious exclamation points!!! And my bonuses: their hugs and kisses. My priceless gift: when they learned to call me “mommy.”
Life, specially motherhood is indeed full of exclamation points. Then I came to a point where those negative emotions got the most out of me; I barely could handle myself and let them control me. I got so stressed out that I did and said things to my kids that I regret. I could lose my temper and get angry up to my neck. I felt so deprived of my own needs I used to get before having babies. I felt I was trying my very best yet still fail. I also felt so misunderstood and unappreciated. Frustrated exclamation points!!!
My husband was disturbed and worried by how I was having a difficult time coping with the hustle and bustle of being a full-time mom. We then had a heart-to-heart talk. He admitted the difficulty of the situation and advised me that instead of being caught up with the fatigue and stress which is inevitable, we should both simply enjoy babysitting and raising them, because their childhood only comes once. And once it passes through our hands, we can never get it back. Our kids will grow and undergo teenage life where they’ll prefer malling with their friends rather than spend time with us.Time indeed flies, one day they could barely walk, the other day they’re off to school and work, then another day they’re living with their respective husbands.
From then on, with series of fervent prayers and really hard effort, I learned how to really know the meaning of “enjoy” while mothering two wonderful and at times pain-in-the-butt babies. I couldn’t highlight the word “enjoy” yet every single time my kids throw tantrums after having a sleepless night and a long day, but I know I am getting there, and I will.
I have read a line in a certain book: “When you are angry with your kids or with your husband, just think on how blessed you are to have them.” Indeed I am. Blessed exclamation points!!!