I often think I’m ready for changes, but witnessing “major upgrades” these past months proved me wrong.
You’ve learned how to ride your bike without training wheels. You did four kilometers one sunset. You’ve learned the meaning of “boodle fight” in Baler and now, you fancy eating meals with your bare hands. You can now open sachets and make your own sandwich. You graduated from kindergarden. You’ve learned how to add and subtract in multiples. You now know how to read sentences. A couple of days ago, you decided it’s time to step outside of breastfeeding.
It’s a bipolar feeling. I am proud of you, but a spot in my heart also turns bittersweet, thinking of the many ways you will start freeing yourself from your mother. The thing about parents is that most of the time, we worry ourselves to death, thinking our children must be so pained to let go, but truth is, it is us who are finding it hard to do so.
Every year is a step in letting go, Lia. Every year, you become more able, more self-sufficient. Every year, when I say “Happy Birthday” to you, I also bleed a little inside. It means there’s only a few more years before you have to go to college, have a boyfriend (or girlfriend. You’re free to choose), or live in your own house or someone else’s.
Watching you grow is a revelation. Every day that you make these monumental changes, the more I learn that it is I who’s stayed the same through the years. I still love you the way I did when I first saw you, heady with anesthetics, on the operating table. And no matter how I try, there will be things I cannot let go of; minutes that go by. We only have those minutes for too short a time. Soon, everything will just be a memory.
Change hurts, but that’s the parent’s condition. We must embrace it, for even in the times that it hurts, there are magical in-betweens. There are transformations happening, some we cannot imagine even if we keep our eyes open. The best part is, we can always take comfort that we are part of them. I was by a person’s side. I changed that person. That person changed me.
Yesterday, I greeted you “Happy Birthday!” as you opened your six-year old eyes. Although a tiny part of it was bittersweet, a bigger one remains light-filled because you are growing – and growing so beautifully. It’s been an incredible experience to be part of it.
People change, Lia. Today, a part of you didn’t stay the same. But remember that I was there. And remember that no matter how different you become, I will stay the same. I will always be here as your world spins and when it stops turning on its axis. Run to me when it does; when it doesn’t. I will be waiting.
Always with you,