‘Bundles of Joy’
“Shhhhh, little sweetheart, don’t cry. Gutom ka na ba? Sandali na lang, little Maggie.” Maya whispered lovingly to the beautiful baby girl she is cradling very gently in her arms. “Mommy is just here. Hintay lang ng kaunti, little angel.” She then proceeded to dance around with the baby, humming and rocking gently, so she will settle down, while waiting for her mother to return.
Richard looked on at Maya with so much love in his eyes as she does that. “I love you, sweetheart.” He whispered, full of emotions. She looks more beautiful with the baby in her arms. Not just beautiful, she looks radiant! Maya gave him a beautiful smile, so full of love for this wonderful guy. She is in a constant state of happiness and contentment because of this wonderful, handsome man. She silently mouthed ‘I love you too’, so as not to disturb the baby who had settled in her arms, finally.
“Naku, Maya, pasensya ka na at natagalan ako. But you and Ricky are a godsend.” Cristina Rosa said several minutes after, going down the stairs with her hair still wet from the shower she took. “Thank you for taking care of Maggie. That was nice, finally, nakapag-shower na rin ako. Mabuti dumating kayong dalawa ni Richard. Ito naman kasing si Helen ang tagal namang bumalik. Ano na kaya ang nangyari roon?” Helen is the Macavintas’ kasambahay. She also watches over Maggie for Cris when she needs to be somewhere. Cris, since she had stopped working, refused to get a nanny for Maggie, opting to be a full time mother for now. She had asked Helen to run and errand for her earlier.
When Maya and Richard arrived earlier, they found a frazzled Cris, alone as Jeff took Cho to his piano lessons. Helen, whom, she was expecting more than an hour before that, hasn’t return. Maya and Richard offered to help so Cris can attend to some of the stuffs she needed to do. Cris told them she would like a shower first to make her feel alive as she was awake quite early with Maggie. She also got wet giving Maggie a bath earlier and needed to change, anyway.
“Okay lang, Ate Cris. She is an angel. Smells so very, very nice and nakakagigil ang cheeks.” Maya said, looking lovingly at baby Maggie, or Mary Margaret Macavinta, who was by then, two weeks old already. “I don’t think I will get tired of looking at this little cutie pie.”
Cris smiled lovingly at her daughter. “Yes, she is. My little angel girl.” The baby then moved, as if sensing her mother and food! Cris took the baby from Maya’s arms. “Baka gutom na kaya medyo umiingit na. Sandali ha, I will just breastfeed her.” Cris then picked up her breastfeeding shawl and then proceeded to feed her daughter as she talked to Richard and Maya who are visiting her again for the third time that week, usually before they go to work. But that day being a Saturday, they arrived a bit later than usual. Kasama yata si little Maggie sa napaglihian ng pinsan niya, maliban sa cheeks, smile at smell ni Richard!
“So, is everything set for the wedding?” She asked them as she settled into the rocking chair, and the baby latching hungrily at her breast. Maya looked at her intently, fascination on her face, thinking that it would be her turn to be like this soon. Cris saw her. “Yes, cousin, in six months time, ikaw na ito.” She said, smiling. “Kumusta, pala ang pakiramdam mo? Hindi ka na madalas magsuka?”
Maya and Richard setlled in into the comfortable sofa, holding hands. “Hindi na masyado, Ate Cris since, I think patapos na ang first tri-mester ko. Iyon nga lang I feel very sleepy pa rin, especially in the afternoon.” She said, then added, “Saka I still crave a lot for ripe mangoes and Ricky’s smell, hahahaha, not to mention his poor cheeks.”
“Hay naku, Cris, malapit nang maging perpetual red itong cheeks ko sa kapipisil nitong pinsan mo, at mauubusan na ako ng bango sa kaka-sniff nitong pinsan mo. Tapos hindi pa ako allowed mag-perfume. Hay the thing one does for the love of….” Richard jested, touching his wife-to-be’s lovely face, more radiant now with their precious angel growing inside her. When they make love, which is in the same pace they were doing it before the discovery of the pregnancy, he can see a bit of her baby bump and it made her look so more beautiful in his eyes.
“Ikaw talaga, husband-to-be, kahit kailan, corny ang lines mo. Besides, you love me anyway.” Maya said, then grinning, she teased her fiance. “Saka if I know, gustong-gusto mo naman na sininghot-singhot kita. Lalo na doon sa favorite part of your body na love na love kong i-sniff!” Maya added impishly.
Richard felt himself, blushing, of all things, thinking that Maya will reveal which part is that! “Maya……!” Then added, “We are scandalizing, Cris!” He protested good-naturedly.
Cris looked at her cousin and her cousin’s fiance and gave them an indulgent smile. “Hay naku, by now, I am used to the two of you. Pero saan nga ba ang favorite part mong i-smell, Maya?” She teased the two of them.
“Hahahaha, ito namang si sweetheart, kung maka-blush, akala tuloy ni Ate Cris kung saan. Sa neck lang ha.” Then she proceeded to kiss Richard on the neck in full view of Cris. “I can’t get enough of this.” The two of them shared a look and a secret smile since there is another part of Richard’s body Maya loves touching, and planting small kisses on, nothing really to do with lihi, but it is something, just for the two of them to know. Maya loves touching and planting little kisses on Richard’s broad chest, moving all over slowly, which drives him crazy all the time.
“Sweetheart, ikaw talaga.” Richard said, getting affected by the touch, and his thoughts of their intimate moments kicking in, but of course, he will not admit it, and show it, as Maya and him are not alone at the moment! He tried to hide his body’s reaction to Maya’s touch. Her touch never fails to elicit a reaction in him. “Kakaiba talaga iyang lihi mo. Pero okay na rin iyan kaysa naman pinaghahanap mo ng purple na guava in the middle of the night or other weird cravings.”
“You are lucky, husband to be. Hindi katulad ni Kuya Jeff, di ba Ate Cris.” Maya said, looking at her cousin, who was happily smiling at them.
“Naku, oo. I was impossible when I was pregnant with Cho.” Cris said, then she stood up. “Sandali ha, ilalagay ko lang sa crib si Maggie. Busog na kaya tulog na.” Cris stood up and put Maggie in the crib that was place in the corner of the living room which Cris and Jeff converted into a downstairs ‘nursery’ para hindi naiiwan mag-isa sa room niya si Maggie. Then she went back to where her cousin and cousin-in-law to be are. “Hayan, mamaya na ang gising niyan. Maaga rin kasing nagising kanina. Pero tulog naman most of the night kagabi.”
“Nakakatuwa naman si Maggie. Sana ganyan din ang little girl namin ni Ricky.” Maya said, caressing her tummy.
“Little girl talaga, sweetheart! Malay mo naman boy iyan. Ricky Junior talaga iyan!” Richard teased Maya. It has been a running banter between them since they found out that she is pregnant. “Malakas ang feeling ko na boy iyan, sweetheart!”
“Ha, dream on, sweetheart, mother’s instinct, girl ito!” Maya quipped back, then look at Ricky lovingly, “But seriously, sweetheart, boy or girl, basta healthy and okay ang baby natin okay na ako doon. Sobrang happy ko na.”
“Me too, sweetheart.” Richard said softly, caressing Maya’s tummy, then planting a quick kiss on it.
“Hay, before you too, turn mushy much again in front of me, ikukuha ko na muna kayo ng maiinom. Sorry, I forgot earlier. “Cris said indulgently, teasing the couple. “Coffee, tea or juice, Richard? Itong si Maya, alam mo na ang default nito, juice for the next six months or so.”
“Coffee na lang please, Cris. Thank you.” Richard reply. ” I can do it, so you two can chat.” He offered.
“Okay, sige nga Richard. You know your way around our kitchen by now. Juice na lang rin for me, please. Thank you very much.” Cris said. The last month or so, Richard and Maya have been a regular fixture in the Macavinta household. There were times that Jeff and Richard cooked for the ladies. Well, it was mostly Jeff who does the cooking and Richard just helped out. Jeff is a good cook and as Richard admitted, he is just a passable cook!
Richard disappeared into the kitchen. Cris faced Maya. “So, going back to my first question, is everything set for your wedding?”
“Yes, Ate Cris. Okay na naman lahat. Sus, you doubted pa ba iyan, eh parang mga general na mag-prepare sina Mama and Tita Lulu! Parang hindi na nga namin kailangan si Corrinne sa sobrang efficient ng dalawang iyan. Ready na lahat.” Maya said at length. “As scheduled, Ricky and I will fly na tomorrow sa Mindoro since start na ng leave namin sa Emerald on Monday until our honeymoon na iyon. Then, you and the rest of our wedding party, on Wednesday, then we do the rehearsals, Thursday and Friday, then Richard and I’s big day on Saturday, finally!”
“Glad to know that. I agree with you, parang mga general iyang sina Mom and Tita Esme.” Cris said, then hugging her cousin out of the blue, she said, “Awwww, little sis, this is it!!! I’m so happy for you!!!” Cris said, getting a bit teary-eyed. “I’m sure your Mommy and Daddy and Mamang are smiling in heaven and are very happy for you.”
Maya felt emotional too, all of a sudden. “Oo nga, Ate Cris. I just wished, you know, sometimes, they had lived to see this day. That they will be with me when Ricky and I pledge to love one another until forever in front of God and our family and friends.”
“Don’t worry, Maya. Ako, I believe that they will be there in spirit. They will be there. Maybe it was them nga who sent Richard to you again, so that you will not be alone, so that there is a wonderful someone who will be with you for always, in good times and bad times, and someone who will cherish you like you ought to be cherished. You did find yourself a wonderful man in Richard, Maya. I’m so glad and happy.” Cris said. “Di ba, so many things that are hard to explain in this world, how people met, how they end up together, despite the odds, that sort of thing. Why not believe that they have a hand in this too? Think of them as your guardian angels now.”
“Oh, what a very nice thing to say, Ate Cris. I know naman na hindi ako alone, with you, and your family there, pero you are right, Richard completes me. I never thought I would feel this happy. Sometimes, when he is sleeping, I just looked at him and marvelled that this wonderful guy loves me so very much. Then I would find myself smiling in the dark and thanking God again for giving him to me. That we found each other again and the love that had unknowingly touched us more than seven years ago, endured.” Maya said emotionally. “Hay, hayan naiiyak ako, tears of happiness. Ganito ba talaga ang mga preggy, mababaw ang luha!”
“Hahahaha, medyo, pero ako ngang hindi na preggy, naiiyak pa rin. Di bale na, tears of happiness and joy naman ito.” Cris said, laughing. “And cousin, Richard is also lucky to have you. I know you have this great capacity to love and he is getting the full force of it and also the children that you two, will have.”
Richard, who was standing in the doorway, reluctant to break into the cousins tender moment, moved forward then with the tray of drinks and some chocolate chip cookies. He heard some of the cousins conversation and felt overwhelmed with emotion and the love he feels for the one and only woman he loves. “Drinks, ladies. Sorry, natagalan, nabago pala ang mga lalagyan ng glasses and coffee cups ninyo, Cris?”
“Oh, yes, I forgot to tell you! Sorry. Nag-rearrange kami ni Helen ng laman ng mga cabinet sa kitchen.” Cris said. “Sana tinanong mo ako para hindi ka nahilo sa kitchen namin.”
“I hate to interrupt you two, so hinanap ko na lang. No worries.” Richard replied as he handed Cris her drink, and her drink of choice to Maya, then he sat down to take a sip of his coffee. “And I overheard a portion of your conversation.” He said, then he put his cup down, he cupped Maya’s chin, “Cris is right, Maya sweetheart, I’m not just ‘also lucky to have you’, I’m very, very lucky to have you. You and our child are my life now. Life would have been bleak if the two of us didn’t end up together. I will just be existing and not living, really. Yes, we have not been formally blessed in front of God and our loved ones, but I’m committed to you already until forever.” Richard said emotionally, giving her a light kiss on the lips, Cris forgotten for a moment. “Everyday with you is a treasure and something really to thank God for, on bended knees. I also looked at your sleeping form sometimes and still, having a hard time believing that you are mine – to love and to hold forever.”
“Oh sweetheart, that was a very, very wonderful thing to say. Wala ka talagang kupas magpakilig. Hindi na nga ako makahinga sa kilig ah. I would be the same if hindi na tayo nagkatagpo after Mindoro.” Maya said sniffling. “I love you.” Then she hugged Richard, tight, kissing him lightly too.
“I love you too.” Richard said, gazing lovingly at her.
They got lost in their own world for a moment, then they suddenly remembered Cris, whom they have noticed was also sniffling. “I want Jeff with me too.” She said with a big smile, so very happy for Maya and Richard.
The three of them laughed. They chatted on while they were having their snacks. An hour later, Helen arrived. She told Cris that she had finished fast the errand she had asked her to do, but had hard time getting back to their place as the MRT broke down again and there were just chaos.
Soon after, Richard and Maya said goodbye to Cris as they have to prepare for their trip to Mindoro tomorrow. They will also visit the graves of Maya’s parents. This would be Maya’s second time to go to the memorial park where they were buried, since she came back to the Philippines, and Richard’s first. They cousins and Richard agreed that they will just see each other again that evening at the dinner Donya Esmeralda is hosting for the two families, something all of them have been doing since the Saturday night she hosted the dinner wherein Richard and Maya told the family about her pregnancy.
Two days after the pregnancy test in the bathroom, and the most wonderful of news out of it, Richard and Maya went to the obstetrician-gynecologist that Cris recommended. Dr. Maricris Buneflor confirmed that, indeed, Maya is pregnant and based on the tests and the information she got from Maya, Maya was more than six weeks pregnant at that time. Her statement prompted Maya and Richard to share a secret look and a smile, both thinking and believing that the baby was conceived the first time they made love that New Year’s day! After the doctor, they hit the bookstore and bought a lot of pregnancy books. The two of them spent the evening relaxing and pouring over the books.
The following day, Donya Esmeralda noticed a different kind of connection and communication between her son and her daughter-in-law to be, as if the two of them are sharing a wonderful secret and with a look, the two of them would smile and suddenly get lost in their own world. She always see them naman only having eyes for each other during their own moments, but this time she also noticed Richard touching Maya’s tummy several times while they were having lunch, sometimes even unconsciously. She already noticed this during the dinner she hosted for key Emerald BGC people the day after, but had forgotten about it. Call it mother’s instinct, she teased them and asked kung magkakaapo na siya. Both Richard and Maya grinned and got flushed in their faces. They said ‘busted’ together. They told her of their wonderful news and she was ecstatic! Sa wakas, magkakaapo na rin sila ni Roberto! They did ask her to keep it to herself first as they would like to tell the families in one go, even if she, and Cris whom they have asked for the name of her ob-gyne, knew already.
Donya Esmeralda told the happy parents-to-be that she will take care of everything. She invited both families to a special dinner at the Lim family home in La Vista the following Saturday. The Franciscos were in complete attendance, thinking that Donya Esme wanted to discuss the preparations for Maya and Richard’s wedding. After the sumptuous feast they all enjoyed, Richard stood up, held Maya’s hand, then told both families that they have an announcement to make. Caressing Maya’s tummy, sharing a loving, radiant smile, they told everyone that there is a baby on the way for the two of them! Tita Lulu cried, again, in happiness, she said since madadagdagan na ang apo niya, and her first from Maya. Lino and Lindsay teased Maya and Richard na naunahan pa sila ng dalawa na magka-baby, parang marathon lang, and they all laughed. Don Roberto and Tito Mario patted each other in the back. Cris and Jeff took turns in hugging the couple and offering their congratulations. Cho jumped with joy, so happy that he will have a cousin na. Maya and Richard just looked on at their happy families and felt that they can’t wish for anything else at that moment, they were so full of happiness.
To mark the occasion and since their families are always meeting, one way or another for the wedding, and since they consider themselves one happy family already, Donya Esmeralda proposed that they do the dinner every Saturday, everyone’s schedule permitting and if the members of both families are in the country. Tita Lulu readily agreed, proposing that the two matriarchs taking turns in organizing the dinners. Since then, the family have been meeting for Saturday dinner religiously, except the other Saturday, when Cris gave birth to her and Jeff’s second child. Instead, all of them went to the hospital and waited until she gave birth to the baby girl, which was named Mary Margaret by Cris, wanting her nicknamed Maggie after the heroine in a book she loves reading and re-reading.
This Saturday, aside from the usual get together, the family is celebrating the newest addition to both families. While the dinner is at the Lim’s residence, Tita Lulu joined forces with Donya Esme in preparing the special dinner since it is for Maggie too, she said.
Like their previous dinners, this one was filled with merriment. The adults cooed on how cute little Maggie is, taking turns in holding her and dancing around with her. Donya Esmeralda and Don Roberto took turns in holding Maggie, longer than the others, telling Cris and Jeff that they need the practice para sa paparating nilang apo. Truth to tell, they doted on the little baby like, she, too, is their real apo. Maya and Richard looked at the older Lims indulgently. They were imagining the time that it is their little one that the elder Lims will be holding.
From the baby, the talk shifted to their wedding the following weekend while everyone was having dessert. Since everything was ironed out by Donya Esme and Tita Lulu, they just talked about the activities that the guests can do as part of the pre-wedding party. Maya and Richard suggested taking them to a picnic to the waterfalls that they have been to in December. He had received word from Catherine that the picnic area there is now finished. They assured the families that since they were just relaxing before the wedding, they can handle organizing it with Catherine and Aldrich. Maya and Richard are actually looking forward to going there again. They are planning to go back their on their own the day after they arrive back in the resort in Mindoro, sort if a trip down memory lane.
The Lim and the Franciscos get together ended up earlier than their usual since, aside from Maggie, Cho was also getting sleepy. The goodbye was a lengthy one with everyone chorusing that they will see Maya and Richard in several days.
Maya and Richard arrived back at Maya’s condo, around 11PM that evening.
“Tired, sweetheart? How are you and our little angel?” Richard asked as he led Maya to the sofa. He sat and then pulled Maya gently into his lap. He loves doing that. That is his favorite form of them relaxing together.
“I’m okay, sweetheart. I’m just very, very happy.” Maya said, sighing contentedly as she settled into Richard’s lap. She wiggled a bit, then she intertwined her hands around Richard’s nape.
“Me too, sweetheart. Ilang araw na lang Mrs. Maya Lim ka na!” Richard said with a big lopsided smile on his face. “Finally. Tapos, in six months time, we will have our own bundle of joy! Our life couldn’t be happier than this!” Then caressing Maya’s tummy. “How are you there, little buddy. Warm and snug in Mommy’s tummy, huh. Be safe and sound little buddy, Mommy and I are jus here waiting for you, to hold you finally and love you very, very much.”
Maya looked indulgently at Richard. “Sweetheart, talaga. I’m sure, spoiled itong anak natin paglabas.”
“Not spoiled, sweetheart, just very, very well-loved.” Richard said, hugging Maya’s tummy and kissing her. They snuggled on the couch for quite sometime, then he whispered after a while, “Halika na, pahinga na tayo.” He said in a soft, loving voice.
Hearing that tone of voice and looking at his heated expression, Maya knew that rest is the last thing they will do when they hit their bedroom. With just a look, they understood each other. Hand in hand they went to their inner sanctuary. They loved each other, again, thoroughly throughout the rest of the night, their passion for each other not abating, but instead getting more and more intense as they got very familiar with each other’s body. Added to this is the fact that Maya’s breasts are more sensitive to Richard’s touch these days.
The following morning, more than three months after, they were at the helipad of Lim Corporation for their flight back to Mindoro. It felt like a long, long time, since that flight, but it was just three months ago! Amazing how many wonderful things had happened since then, Now they are going back to cement their journey to forever in the place that had so much memories for them already.
“Maya, Richard, good morning!” James Ventura greeted them with a big smile, followed by his co-pilot, Andy. “Congratulations again, and thank you very much for inviting Andy and I to your wedding. Sure na sure kaming nandoon!”
“Hi James, good morning! Good morning Andy!” Maya greeted the two with a big smile. “Oo naman, siyempre dapat nandoon talaga kayong dalawa, parte kayo ng development ng love story namin ni Ricky ah. Di ba, sweetheart?”
Richard smiled at Maya lovingly, then told the two pilot, “Maya and I are really happy that you two will be a part of our big day. Like Maya had said, you were a very important part of our journey as a couple and we would like to celebrate our wedding day with you and all our dear families and friends.”
“Thank you Sir Richard, Ma’am Maya. We are honored to be a part of it.” Andy said with a big smile, helping Richard with the bags.
“So shall we get going?” James asked after he seconded Andy’s statement.
They piled into the helicopter with Richard helping Maya solicitously. Unlike her first time riding a helicopter, Maya is not a bundle of nerves anymore. She is looking forward to the ride as it would mean going back to Mindoro which already holds so much wonderful memories and milestone for her and Richard.
“Sweetheart, comfy and okay?” Richard whispered while holding Maya’s hand when they were already airborne. He remembered that she was a bit nervous the first time they took the chopper. He smiled suddenly, remembering that time and what happened after, indeed, so many things had happened after that momentous flight!
“I am, sweetheart. Saka nandiyan ka naman.” Maya said, offering Richard a loving smile. He smiled back, then kissed her softly again, whispering, he said, “I love you my Mrs. Lim to be.”
“I love you too, Mr. Lim.” Maya said lovingly.
They held hands all throughout the flight. Both are very much looking forward to being back to their bungalow and all the places where their love took flight and started soaring several months ago, and of course, to the culmination of that love at the beautiful wedding they will have at the San Nicolas Church in six days time.
Note: Belated happy mother’s day! ❤