Son,

You’re 20 now.

If you think I would not be OA in my greetings this time, you’re mistaken.
Now that you are officially shedding the remaining imprint of teen hood, it is time for serious talk. (Oh, gosh, I’m tearing up. Indayyyyy, ang LV na panyo, dalii!)

If it were not for the videos we’ve captured over the years, I swear I can no longer see any trace of the chubby baby I rocked to sleep each night, the toddler who went crazy over Tomica cars, and the little boy who danced with gusto to Westlife’s Uptown Girl and crooned like a frog to Avril Lavigne’s Complicated.

You have changed much over the years. I certainly would have preferred that you stay as the sweet little angel you once were, but we are bound by space and time and aging is a normal process we all have to deal with. If I had been given a super power, I would have stopped the clock from ticking because in that manner, we could hold you –both you and your brother — in our arms and under our roof for as long as we want.

But reality stares us in the face. Soon, you will leave us and establish your own family. You will forge new emotional bonds that will take precedence over what we have now. Dad and I will face an empty nest while we continue to rub one another’s aching knees of Giga Mint or Vicks and sniff the soothing whiff of Eucalyptus and Peppermint essential oils, to alleviate the aches here and there. In short, iiwanan niyo kami sooner or later… Yan, magkaliwanagan na tayo.

Being 20 is huge, right?

But it is just a number, my boy. Truth is, you are more than 20 years old emotionally, intellectually, psychologically and spiritually.

You seemed to have matured way ahead of your peers. While your batch mates yell their tonsils out inside the MOA arena watching a UAAP hoop game, amidst the rhythmic boom of drums and thunderous screams of fanatics, I see you engrossed in front of your laptop monitor tweaking graphic designs. While your peers are probably snoring inside their cozy bedrooms in the middle of the night, you’re still up polishing your work to beat the deadline set by a finicky client in another part of the globe. While they are having a whale of a time over a cup of Starbucks Frappe, talking about the future and wishing for the moon and the stars, either you are scrubbing the toilet back to dazzling white or helping Dad scrape dirt and grime from clogged house pipes. And while your peers may be resting or having fun on a Sunday, you are scrambling to get a seat in a jam-packed train on the way home from your Cyber Security class somewhere in the metropolis.

In short, sobrang busy ka, dong.

Wala pa diyan yung tatawag sayo at makikiusap iphoto-shop ang mukha niya at gawing itim ang buhok na nalandingan ng ash fall galing Taal). Plus you still manage to make videos for Dad’s presentations complete with story boards and even lend your voice for the narrations. O, saan ka na.

Do you sometimes feel like you have been robbed of the fun teens your age got to enjoy? If you don’t, I oftentimes do in your stead. Then again, life is not about having fun. While my mommy heart longs to see you enjoying your teen years, I can say with certainty that, comparing you to my 19 or 20 year-old self many moons ago, you sure have a much higher sense of responsibility.

As your Dad has always reminded me, we have to look at you (yes, both of you) not as children who will remain young forever, but as future husbands and future fathers. And indeed you will be (unless you choose to stay single). So, while you think you may have missed life out there, know that it is for your ultimate benefit that you were raised the way you were.

We intentionally homeschooled both of you not out of selfishness but so you can be deeply rooted in our Christian faith and mirror the values we exemplify. It is because at the end of the day, we parents take the responsibility for who you will become and how you will turn out to be. Your choices will always be influenced by your beliefs, personality quirks and values directly shaped in the environment where you were raised.

“A tree is determined by its fruit,” so the Lord Jesus said. And seeing you now having bloomed before our eyes with His enabling, I can’t help but thank him profusely for giving us the charge to bear and raise you. Except for the time when you were starting to assert your independence and admire girls your age (which made my heart squirm), there never was a single moment you have given Dad and me a reason to be upset.

You are twenty now… going on forty. Mukhang nasa tamang hulog ka, anak. You never fail to listen to us and follow our advice and direction. You care more for others’ welfare than yours. You know what self-denial means and have learned to delay self-gratification for long term benefits. Most of all, you know that all are for naught apart from the Lord.

You are one rare breed –not because of us, but because of what God has done for you. And for that we are forever grateful for the opportunity to have raised you.

Now, before I completely bawl over, let me take this time to appreciate you for all these and more:

For your obedience,
For your high sense of responsibility,
For your sensitivity to others’ needs,
For your wisdom and valuable contributions in making collegial decisions as a family,
For being a doting brother to your sibling,
For putting to practical use all that you have learned from your Multi-media course,
For helping foot the internet bill and generously offering to pay credit card bills,
For your kindness and patience,

THANK YOU, SON from the core of my being and the deepest recesses of my heart.

I love you beyond measure.

Mom

P.S.
I know what you will say: “Ay ano na yan si Mommy… pasawayon… Pasulat-sulat pa!)
And since everything stays as it is as of now…Saing ka muna, nak. Gutom nako. Gamitin mo ang Rice cooker na Gucci.