Come July, celebrity couple LJ Reyes and Paolo Contis will be celebrating their sixth anniversary and Reyes could not be any happier to have the actor by her side as their family continues to grow.
"It has been a very colorful book. Everyone knows naman na dati, single mom ako. Now I have a small family together with Pao," the 33-year-old actress shared with the entertainment media during an open conversation with other Kapuso moms earlier this month.
"Grabe yung pasasalamat ko kay Pao na siya yung talagang nagsa-sacrifice. Sobra sobra yung sacrifice niya at this time. Ano ba yung trabaho namin di ba. Na-realize ko na he would shield us from anything," she added.
It will be remembered that Reyes had a previous relationship with Kapamilya actor Paulo Avelino and gave birth to their son, Aki, on July 24, 2010. In 2013, they admitted their breakup but maintained that they are "united in raising the kid."
Fast forward to 2015, she and Contis became a couple and on January 4, 2019, they welcomed their daughter Summer Ayanna.
Aside from accepting Aki as his own son and building a life together as one family, Reyes appreciates how protective Contis is to their family, especially doing this pandemic.
"Lagi niya sinasabi na, 'okay na wag ka na lumabas, ako na.' Hindi kasi siya naggo-grocery talaga kaya ako, I'm like 'hala, anong nangyayari.' Ayaw niya ako mag grocery kasi ayaw nya na maexpose ako sa labas eh ako lagi yung hinahanap ng mga bata. Sa akin dikit yung mga bata."
Not only that, the actor has also shown Reyes what it's like to have someone to share responsibilities with.
"Nung slowly bumabalik na to work, lagi niyang sinasabi na 'you can stay at home, you have a choice.' And yung choice na yun importante yun para sa ating mga babae. Feeling ko kasi yun din yung nawala sa akin before. So ngayon parang sobrang na-appreciate ko na parang 'uy, meron akong katuwang,'" Reyes proudly enthused.
It in indeed never easy to raise kids, especially pre-teens son, as such, the celebrity mom said she is glad to have Contis with her in preparing Aki in his adolescence.
"Iba talaga ang experience ng mga bata. You want to instill and build yung character nila around four or five years old. But ngayon, kakaibang character building kasi papunta na sa adolescent period.
"Sabi namin ni Pao kailangan hindi na talaga sila bine-baby, we're really preparing them for the future. Ngayon it's a very difficult time you have to comfort them but at the same time, natuturuan mo sila kasi it's a very different time na."
In the end, with the challenges she had in her life, what keeps Reyes going is the thought that she has to be strong for her family with Contis.
"I realized na ikaw talaga yung core ng pamilya mo lalo ng mga anak mo, kahit na gaano kahirap sa panahon ngayon. Parang ubos na ubos ka na pero iiiyak mo na lang sa banyo.
"Kailangan mong maging strong sa pamilya mo. You would take the job any time. Hindi naman natin gugustuhin na sa iba sila kukuha ng strength, na iba yung foundation nila. Gusto natin tayo yun, tayo ang core nila. I see it as a beauty and strength natin bilang mga babae ngayong mga panahon na ito" Reyes finally shared.