Today you turned 3. Which means, it is also my third year of living with more joy, meaning, and purpose in life. Happy birthday, darling! Your life means so much more to me than my words can ever express. I’m sick today (as I was the past 4 days) but that’s okay. At least I’d get to spend more time with you on your birthday even if we only have to stay home. I hope that’s okay with you. Anyway, I’ve decided to write you open letters during special occasions especially on your birthday. When you grow up, I’d love it if you’d be able to read them and see how much has been changing beautifully throughout the years and look back to all the happy memories we have made together.
Anyway, last night (the night before your birthday), we were watching an episode like we always do when you suddenly said, “Let’s pray, Mommy”. We usually pray after watching and we normally initiate prayer, but last night you insisted that we pray right away. Your daddy and I were so surprised, so we put the episode on hold and started praying. I asked you to try leading the prayer and you said, “Lord, dadating na po ang birthday ko. Naging blessing po ba ako, Lord? (Lord, my birthday is approaching. Was I blessing, Lord?)”. I continued the prayer after that. I prayed for your health, wisdom, and protection. Then, I thanked the Lord for blessing us with your life. I couldn’t help but cry while praying as I looked back to how my life was and how it is now that you are here. I’m just so happy.
Like I always say, when I gave birth to you, you also gave me life. My life changed so beautifully.
I want to first look back to the fun times we’ve had together. Then, I want to share some lessons in life we have been teaching you this year.
- We had our first family vacation in Baguio. It was very simple, but we knew you’d enjoy it. We met a local grandmother who spoke a different dialect, but it wasn’t a hindrance for you to communicate with her. You told her how beautiful her bracelet was, and you showed her your dress and introduced us as your mommy and daddy. It was such a heartwarming moment! I still have the video of that moment today and I’ll make sure to keep your videos until you grow up.
- You started loving my all-time favorite Disney Princess, M U L A N! Because we usually stayed in our dorm last semester, you didn’t have a lot of playmates except for mommy and daddy. We made sure you had fun physical activities outside like jogging or going to the park, but we also allow you to watch one movie a day. Since Mulan was the only movie we had in our laptop, we played it for you and you loved her! She is also the reason why you were eager to cut your hair this summer! Hehe.
- About having fun physical outdoor activities… baby, I loooooved jogging along Malacanang Complex with you! The first time I brought you jogging with me, I thought I’d have to carry you around from time to time, but I ended up having to catch you. You were so energetic and happy whenever we jogged, and you made mommy run extra kilometers! I get emotional thinking that you are growing up so fast. I wish you can stay my baby longer. But I am also excited until you grow up big enough to do more activities with me! I have so much in mind! I’d like us to have devotional dates in the most beautiful cafes and talk about God’s greatness. I’ll lead you while I’ll also learn so much from you. We can also go to the spa together and do each other’s nails. We’ll travel and experience new things together! We’ll have a lot of time bonding as a family, but I’ll also make time for simple dates with you. It doesn’t have to be grand, I just want to keep on getting to know you. I want you to always know that mommy and daddy are your best friends.
- We spent the summer in Bulacan. For the first time, you spent many days with your lolo’s and lola’s there even when mommy and daddy had to go to Manila for a couple of days from time to time. Your great grandmother, Nanay, stayed with us for about a month. She has Alzheimer’s so she can’t remember and talk much, but with you, she’s always joyful AND talkative! Sometimes, I’d see her touching your hands or your cheeks and just smiling while you tell her random stories about Mulan and princesses. I love how you bring joy to everyone around you.
- We have been intentionally sharing our testimony with you. We have made it as simple as possible. “This is little Mark and this is little Treszka. One day, they grew up and fell in love. The Lord blessed that love and gave them Taziana. You are God’s blessing to us, baby”. We love reminding you every day how much we love you and how precious you are in God’s eyes and in ours.
- You are curious about many things, but daddy and I had to debunk all the false things you were being told. Because you like asking everyone questions, they sometimes answer incorrectly thinking that you are too young to understand. But our concept of parenting is building your character with truth and love as early as possible. For example, we were walking once and you suddenly said, “There’s a police! Police is scary! Bad!”. We realized that someone could’ve childishly threatened you using the police as a bad character but we didn’t want you to live with that perception. So, your daddy said, “No, baby. Policemen are good. Their job is to protect you and to keep the town safe”. You’ve also been asking, “why is it raining?”. So, we answer, “because the Lord wants to feed the trees and crops”. Since then, whenever it rained, you announce to everyone, “Lola look! The rain is coming! The Lord is about to let the trees drink!”. And whenever you get scared thinking of zombies, we tell you how zombies aren’t real and how the Lord is always there to protect you from anything even when mommy and daddy aren’t around. We love that you ask many questions and that we are here to guide you. Keep being curious, my love!
- A couple of months ago, all three of us were in the same room when you were doing your monologue. Your daddy and I were just cuddling in bed because we all just woke up while you were at the corner playing and talking to yourself. Then you said to yourself, “Sana naman i-bless na ako ni Lord (I hope God can finally bless me)”. That’s when we interrupted, “with what, baby?”. And then you said, “with a baby brother”. Later on, you realized that a baby brother is a boy so you started asking for a baby sister instead. A few days after that, you suddenly asked me, “Mommy, can I have a practice baby sister?”. I laughed and replied, “a practice one?”. You said, “Yes, because you have to work first (we always tell you we can’t have a baby now because we have to work first. I haven’t graduated, and daddy just started working)”. That’s when your daddy and I decided to get you a Baby Alive doll for your 3rd This was a few months ago so you had to wait for a while.
- One night, we were home alone. We spent it by having hot tea and warm milk while watching The Incredibles, Frozen, and Kung Fu Panda 2. It was such a simple night but I had so much fun just being around you. When you grow a little older, we can have mini girls’ night just like this. We’ll add facial masks, nail polishes, and braids for more fun!
- We allow you to watch kissing scenes that are too sexual. It allows us to tell you what kissing really is and its beauty. We figured it is much better than to have the world distort its meaning for you. But every time a kissing scene is on, (like when Ariel and Eric kissed in the Little Mermaid), you would say, “OHHHH! KINAIN! (HE/SHE ATE HIM/HER!)”. Hahaha! We couldn’t help but laugh so much. You’re right, kissing scenes do look like that. Hehe.
- Are. So. Talkative. Everyone says so and I agree. You are talkative in a good way. You are friendly and curious. Last August, we had visitors at home and you kept them company by asking them what their names are and what they are eating. You also introduced yourself to them.
Lessons we’ve been teaching you:
- The Lord is in your heart. When you get scared and when you get sad, we always remind you that the Lord is always with you even if no one else is there. The Lord will guide you and protect you. He can do things mommy and daddy can’t. The Lord loves you. We keep reminding you these things even though you’d just stare while we tell you these. We weren’t sure if you understand us but we never stopped. Then, one day you suddenly told me, “Mommy, the Lord is here. In my heart. He will protect me”. I’m sure you don’t know the depths of it yet but I promise to lead you every day.
- We’ve been teaching you to clean up after your own mess. This isn’t simply about being clean but being responsible for your actions. When you spill something, we don’t get upset because we know it wasn’t your intention. But we make sure you clean up your own spills. We tell you what to use and we guide you on how to clean them. You obviously can’t do it perfectly, so we still help you out. Our goal is to let you know that you are responsible for any actions and mistakes that you make but mommy and daddy will always be here to guide you. The other week, while we were having breakfast, I had to leave the table because I had to pee. When I came back, your plate and cup was gone, and you were already dusting off the bread crumbs on your chair. I turned to the sink to see your plate and cup there and that your food was already finished. This made me feel so proud as your mom. Since you were 1, we’ve been teaching you how to put your plates on the sink. We’ve always been so proud and happy even though it felt like you were only doing it because you were told. But the other week, you’ve started showing that you now carry these values with you even when no one is around. Great job, my love. Mommy and daddy are so proud of you.
- A beautiful heart is what makes you beautiful. We think you’ve overheard this from your playmates or maybe you were told as a joke. But you have made this remark once or twice, “ay ang pangit di nagsuklay! Ang pangit di nag eat! (You’re ugly because you didn’t brush your hair. You’re ugly because you’re not eating)”. It’s one of the false things you were told. So, we always like reminding you that the most beautiful thing you can have is your heart. Your physical appearance doesn’t matter to the Lord. It’s your heart that He sees. Even when it comes to people, it’s your beautiful heart that they’d remember for a very long time. Your face will only be remembered for a short while.
- Currently, we are working on your social skills. We’re teaching you how to share and proper response when dealing with difficult situations. In life, we can’t always protect you, control who you encounter especially their behavior towards you. The only thing we can do is to mold you, equip you, and teach you how to deal with what you are given. We don’t intend to clean your path, we aim to teach you face obstacles.
There are too much good memories we’ve had so far and it would take me forever to write them all down. Baby, just remember that even though things will slowly change as you grow up, I’ll make the effort to make sure that they change for the good. Though you cannot be my baby forever, we can be friends and sisters in Christ for the longest time possible. I’m looking forward to making more memories with you. I’m excited to see you grow beautifully into the woman God designed you to be.
I love you with all my heart, baby.