I can't believe my first born is 17 years old today. When parents ask "where did the time go?", we really are serious about it. It's like we look away for a bit and when we look again, our kids are all grown up and no longer clingy, needy toddlers.
Several times during Anissa's growing up years, I felt that lump in my throat, because I always thought she was growing up way too fast. I felt this way when she started going to pre-school, when I shifted her to big school, when she had her First Holy Communion, when she graduated grade school, on her first day as a high school student, when she attended her first soiree and most recently, when she had her Junior Prom and was invited to the La Salle Greenhills Junior Prom.
I'm feeling that lump again as I create this entry in observance of her birthday.
One year away from becoming an adult
One year away from college
Heck, maybe one year or less away from having her first boyfriend!
I think she was about 2 years old in this photo. Sigh.
When you're a parent (or a sometimes overly-emotional mother like I am), you tend to really go sentimental when your kids' birthdays come around. Every year is an important milestone worth celebrating in whatever way. My Anissa was an only child and only grandchild for the first 10 years of her life. Hence, she was always everyone's center of attention. She was the apple of my parents' eyes, especially my late Dad's. She's also the youngest grandchild on her Daddy's side, easily that side of the family's baby as well.
My Dearest Baby Girl ... my talented, driven, sometimes obsessive, creative, artistic girl ... the one who doesn't like to be fussed over, the one who hates noise (or is it just noisy people?), the argumentative one who just won't stop until she gets an answer or a proper explanation, the one who dances like there's no tomorrow (like me? admit it na!), the one who is also so talented in singing but loves to dance more, the girl who always wants things to be okay, the one who never wants anyone to be mad or upset with her, the one who is bothered when people don't get along, the kind of friend who likes to do things for her friends, temperamental and sensitive, my daughter who is my opposite in many ways ...
you give me many reasons to be proud of you. I look at you today and I have to pinch myself because I can hardly believe I have to stop treating you like a child. You are all grown up, capable of making decisions, choosing your friends, going for the things that you want --- while relying on Mommy to guide you still. I appreciate that you take the time to share stories and ask for my advice. I cherish these moments because they reassure me that I'm still needed, even if I know most of the time you'd rather not have me or your Dad around. I apologize for the times I give in to my weaknesses and allow you to see my not-so-good side and I thank you for understanding me when this happens. More importantly, thank you for stepping up and being strong ever since I told you about my breast cancer diagnosis, for praying for me and being there for your little sister. I cannot thank you enough for this.
As you slowly continue to break away from Mommy's hold and try to discover what the world has to offer you, I pray for the Lord's constant protection and guidance. I pray for you to be surrounded by friends who genuinely care for you and won't influence you to do things your heart is against but will share your interests, understand your passion and encourage you to always be the best that you can be in anything you undertake. I'm really happy that your high school friends are the kind you can be proud of and that at this age, you know who your real friends are. At the same time, I'm also thankful that your circle continues to grow as you get exposed to new people and experience new things.
The world is your oyster. It is anyone's. But while you're given freedom to do the things you enjoy and want, don't be distracted by it and always remember that your parents trust you enough to allow you to experience the world. But with trust, comes a responsibility to know your limits and to put your foot down on things you were taught to stay away from or avoid. I love that you express yourself beautifully and intelligently always, I love that your logic is way more mature than a 17 year old's that I'm sometimes ashamed to admit that you make more sense than I do. I love that bad grammar bothers you like it does me hahaha!
Seriously though ... never ever be remiss in counting your blessings (big or small), for it is this exercise that will keep you grounded and in touch with reality always.
You are at that age where you feel you don't need your parents much. I can understand that and accept the (slightly painful) truth, so long as you remember that I'm always just waiting in the wings, never too far away to answer a question, listen to a story --- good or bad, hear about how your day went, wipe away your tears, hear you rant. Whatever.
When your little sister is in her teens and you start complaining about her, I'll gladly share stories of how I dealt with you as a teenager hee hee! I can't wait for that day because many other mothers have told me, "... they may act like they don't give a sh*t about you for a few years but they always find their way back."
Loads and loads of love always and forever from your #1 fan,