I can still vividly remember that one last push at the end of my 21-hour labor. Never had I been happy to hear a baby’s cry. And I cried along with you. When our lamaze coach told us that the pain would be worth it, I could now totally understand why. Holding you for the first time gave me so much joy that made me forget the labor pains.
Today you are turning 20, and I am getting all sentimental.
Without realizing it, you have taught me so much. Here are some of them:
You have taught me to enjoy the most mundane of things. The way you love to watch the sunrise or marvel at the orange moon, or when you told me last week as we were biking in Taipei, “Mom, don’t keep asking us to pose for pictures, ok? Let us enjoy this experience”… these are reminders for me to simply enjoy life.
You have taught me what real forgiveness is. I know I have offended you so many times. I have made so many mistakes. I have spanked you in anger and have raised my voice at you so many times. But to you, I am always the best mom in the world. I don’t remember you holding any grudge against me or nagging me about the mistakes I’ve made.
You have taught me to stay calm in the midst of stress. I remember homeschooling you and you would always be the one to remind me to keep my cool and mind the tone of my voice. Even now I would watch you juggle so many things between school, ministry and extra-curricular activities, and I have never seen you lose your cool and explode.
You have taught me how to give out of need. I’ve witnessed your generosity since you were a little boy. When you give, you don’t just give when you have an excess, but you give everything. When you were saving up for a long board which you have been wanting for months, you gladly gave that money away to a missionary. When someone is in need, you give without thinking. Every week, you look for someone to bless and empty your pockets of whatever cash you have.
And one of the most important things you have taught me is to run to God before anything and anyone else. I’ve seen you through your most difficult times and you’ve walked through them with ease because you are so confident of God’s plan in your life. You are a man of faith and I say that because I see it everyday in how you live your life.
As you celebrate your 20th birthday today, I want to let you know that I love you so much and I am so proud of the man you have become. You really are one of God’s greatest gifts to us! Thank you for making our family your priority and honoring your dad and me in every way. You make parenting look good on us! Thank you for being a wonderful kuya to your siblings! I hope you know how much they all adore you! I pray that you will continue to fall in love with God and experience His presence in your life in new heights! May the next 20 years of your life be more amazing than the last two decades.