To my everdearest Jia,
I am wondering what you are doing right now. You’re probably playing or watching TV. Me, I am in Ms. Cynthia’s clinic. I know you don’t want me to come here. Last night, you told me to stay at home with you. I tried to explain why I needed to come. I told you I’m a bit sick and Ms. Cynthia would make me well. I explained that I needed to do this for you and Joya. In the end, you said you understood and you allowed me to come after all.
Then you totally changed the subject and asked me if I was happy before I was married and had you and Joya. I told you that having you and then having Joya made me so happy. You smiled and hugged me.
I am sorry that Mommy has been so busy the past few months. Imagine, this birthday letter is already four months delayed! But I think everything happens for a reason. And now I write this knowing that I really would go to any lengths to be with you. I am now in the clinic eating all sorts of beans and nuts and grains, with the hope that these will make me well. I promise you that I will do EVERYTHING to help me be with you as you grow up. I so love you, Jia.
This year has been full of adventure for you and me and Daddy! 🙂 The biggest adventure we had was having Joya! You know, Anak, when I decided to stop working, it was to be able to spend more time with you. When I learned that Joya was coming, I was a bit sad when I realized that I would not be able to do the things I was planning for you and me like go to libraries and museums and playgrounds. But you, being the generous person that you are, was just excited to welcome Joya. You showed no hint of insecurity. In fact the moment that Daddy told you that you will have a baby brother or sister, you refused to be called anything other than Ate Jia.
And then Joya arrived. You became a very giving and protective Ate. You have declared yourself as Joya’s personal defender and would not let us do anything which you believe will hurt Joya (including let his doctor inject him his vaccines). At night, even if I have already promised you a story, once I tell you that I need to attend to Joya first, you would give way immediately. Once I caught you looking at him tenderly and then you told him “I so love you, Prince” (well, that night you declared that Joya was the Prince, you were the Princess, I was the Queen, and Daddy was the King). Looking at you looking at him, my heart swelled with pride. Even at the midst of your worst tantrums, you become gentle when You talk to Joya. You make me so proud to be your mommy.
And now, I am looking forward to getting well so we – you, Joya, and I – can go to libraries and museums and playgrounds together!
Your favorite word is “remember”. Since you have a very, very good memory, every other sentence that you utter starts with “Remember last night…” And, I swear, you just remember everything! Hahaha! Most of the time you amaze us with your memories of things that have happened a few months ago (which you always refer to as “last night” even if it happened months ago! Haha!).
Speaking of things you do that amaze us, you amaze us with how you have learned to talk so quickly. You were barely speaking when you had your 2nd birthday but now you barely stop! Hahaha! I was right in my last year’s birthday letter, you are going to be okay. I can see how hard you’ve worked to learn how to talk. We are so proud of you, baby!
You love books! You love reading so much and that makes me so thankful. I can’t wait for the time when we can read the same books and discuss it. For now, I am just so happy when you choose to read over watching TV. With me teaching you for just five lessons, you have learned how to read and blend sounds that now you can actually read. As with talking, you really give it your best. It’s heartening to see you read. The wonder in your face when you read a word you understand is just priceless.
You love Rapunzel and Angelina Ballerina and Sound of Music. You love Rapunzel so much that you always put the SaYa (Joya’s carrier) on your hair and pretend it’s your “long, long” hair. You even climb up a chair, gaze out our kitchen window, and force me to say “Rapunzel, Rapunzel, let down yor hair!” Haha! You love Angelina so much that you dance ALL the time. You make pirouettes and turns and dips, etc. And you know Do-Re-Mi by heart! You are so cute, Ate!!!
You are such a loving daughter. I can feel how much you care for me and your Daddy and Joya. You love being hugged and cuddled and kissed. You revel at the love we shower. And you, all 36 inches of you, protect us whenever you feel that we are going to get hurt.
Hay, Ate, I love you so, so, so, so much. My heart fills with love every time I see you. Even at times when you are so kulit and I am so tired, I can still feel my overflowing love for you.
Like I always tell you when you’re asleep in my arms, I promise to fight this sickness so I can watch your first school play, bring you to (and bring you back home from) your first gimik, see you in your graduation, and give you the BEST wedding ever!
I love you, Jia. You are God’s most, most precious gift.