To my first-born, on your 7th

Dear Anna,

We survived the first two weeks of school! But more importantly, today is a special day for you.

We survived the first two weeks of school! But more importantly, today is a special day for you.

Happy 7th birthday!

Time flew fast, indeed. I still remember our first moments — from the unexpected contractions to the phototherapy to your very first day in school, I’ll always remember them — and now, you’re a big girl already.

You’ve started acting like a big girl when, on the first day of school this year, you told me that you’ll ride the school bus on your own. Congrats, you’re a wee bit braver now, much braver than Mommy was when I was your age. You’ll be doing more “big girl” things, especially now that you have a baby sister to look after, and I hope you’ll get the courage and will to face them all, little by little.

I’d like to say sorry first for not being able to keep my promise of a big party this year. I guess the plan fizzled out but it does not mean we’re not celebrating. We will celebrate in the best way Mommy and Daddy can think of. But in a much smaller scale, just you, me, and everyone at home. Daddy’s already given you his first birthday gift: your first cinema experience (I’m guessing you enjoyed it since you were repeating a certain line from “Finding Dory” while we were in the car yesterday). We still have a few gifts for you that I hope you’d like and treasure.

I’d also like to say sorry for the times that we don’t see eye to eye. I often attribute that to our Chinese zodiac signs (me being a Sheep and you being an Ox), but it’s sometimes because we’re both being stubborn. Haha! But I know it’s also because you’re finding your self, discovering who you are. While that’s good, remember that your Dad and I (and the elders of the household) are just looking after you. Our reminders and guidance are meant to lead you to a good path. You may not see it now, but hopefully, when you’ve reached my age today, you’d look back and say, “My parents raised me well.”

I’d like to thank you for being you, for giving me and everyone at home plenty reasons to smile. Thank you, too, for being an Ate to Ayla. I know it’s not cool for you sometimes that Mommy has to dote on your little sister more. But you’ve shown that you can be generous and really, really patient (especially to Ayla). And for that, I am very grateful.

Now that you’re 7 years old, you’ll find out that things are a bit different than it was. You’ll soon discover that not everything in the world is rosy, that things are not purely black and white. You’ll have to learn to be tougher and face challenges head-on. Just always remember that, in every step of the way, we will always be here for you, whether you call on us or not.

And yes, it’s okay to be scared of the rain sometimes.

But while you’re still young, enjoy every moment. Play and learn. And always love.

Happy birthday. I love you so much.

— Mommy —

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