With the hands you touch whenever they feel too tired to function well, I am writing this to you.
Almost 18 years ago, you gave birth to me. It was a risk, you said – giving birth to a child not in the normal way. We were both struggling for life in that room of doctors and nurses and medical tools and blood. Never did it ever occur to the both of us that that will be the very first time we fight the odds together. That was your very first lesson to me: “Fight, baby. Breathe. You are yet to discover the world.”
And we fought. We breathed. We lived.
With the voice you always encourage me to let the world hear, I am saying this to you.
A few years after, the baby you’ve been carrying in your arms as you sing her to sleep has now turned to a little girl. I was naughty, I was curious, I was such a spoiled brat. I cried whenever I didn’t get the things I wanted. I threw tantrums whenever you didn’t buy me the toys I was begging for you to buy. Sometimes, you’d get mad but it was always when you would be so understanding to me. I was a cry-baby but you always knew when to just let me and when to stop me. You’d slowly explain to me the reasons why you didn’t buy me that toy, wipe my tears off my chubby cheeks, and promise me I’ll have it if only I become a good girl. That was your second lesson to me: “You can’t get everything you want from the world, my love. But you must always fight for your dreams and never give up on them. Sometimes, a tree just needs a little shaking to get the fruits fall from it.”
I am shaking the world, Mom. I am fighting for my dreams. I know, anytime soon, the universe will be willing to give them to me and you’ll be the first one to share them with me.
Because we may not have all the luxuries in the world or the greatest things in our lives, but we have each other and somehow, that’s more than enough.
With the eyes you opened to see the world in a beautiful perspective, I want you to see this.
It was my fifth birthday, as far as I can remember, when you brought me to the city park to celebrate my birthday with Dad and our other relatives. We brought picnic bags and blanket sheets and a badminton set, too, I guess. I don’t remember much but I knew we all had an amazing time. But it wasn’t just that. We shared our food with the homeless family with makeshift boxes as their alternative shelter. I remember I had a picture with them with such a bubbly smile on my face. It was a simple thing to do but it may have been a blessing sent from the heavens for the family. And to the eyes of a little girl, it was the best way to celebrate her special day. It opened me to the realities of the world and how the little things I do could have the greatest impacts to different lives. That was another lesson from you: “Baby, you are blessed and for that, you should always be thankful. Your hands, no matter how small they may be, can touch and change the world if only you’d try and let them be.”
I let them be, Mom. My dreams now are not only for myself but for the others as well. I can see the realities now more than ever but I never forget that the world may be cruel in some ways yet it still is as beautiful as the galaxies I am made of.
With the mind you have always admired and shaped into a better being, I want you to know this.
I was young when you and Dad separated ways. You knew it would ruin me; you knew I would be shattered. So you shielded me from all the pain. You gave me a lot of reasons to love life and no reason to hate my Dad, you, or anyone else. You shielded me from darkness. You might not know but whenever you thought I was too busy playing outside the room, I would hide behind the door, take a peek and see you crying. I didn’t understand why you did; I only knew you one thing – I don’t ever want to see you crying. I felt helpless but at the same time, I rebuilt myself strong. At those moments, even how young I was, I promised myself that I would be your strength. You taught me that, Mom: “Even the strongest people have weaknesses. And sometimes, love, life will throw rocks at you – big, awful, harsh ones – and it would be painful. Baby, you will fall, you will get hurt, but you must be strong enough to stand back up and go on with life. That’s how it goes, and I promise, it will all be worth it.”
I fell, Mom. I fall too many times and I scar myself too much. But you always help me get back up. You taught me to pick up all the shards, repair the broken pieces, and carry on with my life. Thank you for shaping me to be the person as strong as you are.
With the heart you’ve taught to love, I hope you feel my love for you in this.
Because we may not have all the luxuries in the world or the greatest things in our lives, but we have each other and somehow, that’s more than enough. As cliché as it may be, it is really us against the world. From the start until the universe expands into nothingness, it will be us. And for that, I am forever grateful.
Finally, with the smile you always want to be in my face, I want you to smile at this, too.
Because your smile outshines the sun and melts countless more hearts. Because you have sacrificed myriad things for me and you deserve even that little curve on your face. Because this is me promising to reach for the dreams we’ve always had. Because you are the greatest heroine of my life.
Happy birthday, Mommy! Our umbilical cord that has once connected me to you on your womb will never be gone. It will always be here in our hearts, connecting us every second of every day. I love you and may you live the happy life you have always wanted to live.
From your baby forever,