In the new book, Letters to My Children, 35 parents, from showbiz actors to athletes to politicians, write to their kids to impart wisdom, affirm their love, and share words of encouragement on how to embrace the future. It is probably one of the few times you'll see these public figures at their most joyful, hopeful, and, yes, vulnerable.
One of the letters comes from television host and actress Camille Prats, who wrote it for Nathan, her 8-year-old son with late husband Anthony Linsangan who died of cancer in 2011. Set to get married in January 2017 to her John "VJ" Yambao, Camille shares with her son the doubts she felt as he grew up without a father, her gratitude for the men who stepped to fill that void, and how she finally accepted that VJ was going to be a permanent fixture in their lives. This is her letter in full.
It’s such a blessing to watch you grow each day and to experience your little milestones -- precious milestones I hold in my heart as you grow older and wiser. I hope you know that even though Mommy is always at work, I do my best to be present at every important event in your life: school programs, basketball practices, art exhibits, dance classes, and soccer games. It makes me proud to watch you do well in all the things you put your heart into. Know that I will always be here to support you and cheer for you. I will always be your number one fan!
You were only four years old when Daddy was called back to God’s wonderful kingdom. It was easier for me that you didn’t have to go through the pain of losing a loved one -- you were too young to understand that. You were the reason I remained strong because I had to be strong for you. You didn’t deserve to have a mother who could not cope, or who was impassive and dysfunctional. I had to be whole, and you inspired me to be the best parent I could be for you. Through God’s grace and our family’s support, we dealt with grief and loss just fine.
With a lot of prayers, our wounds started to heal as time passed. Our days got better and brighter with God’s gracious guidance. Time came when I worried that I wasn’t enough for you, that not having a father would create a hollow emptiness inside you that no one could fill. When you were in preschool, your teacher told me you would ask about heaven. You said that’s where your dad went and that he’s never coming back. I felt a stab in my heart when I realized that even though I try my best to fill up that missing part in your life, it still wasn’t enough. It will never be enough.
Having Dada (your grandfather) and Nongnong (your Uncle John) in both our lives is a blessing. They gladly took the place of the father you were yearning to have. Nongnong is always around when I can’t be at your PTCs or sports games. They set great examples and help me raise you to be God-fearing, responsible, and independent (still a work in progress). Having Dada and Nongnong in our lives serves as a reminder that God is looking after us. He surrounds us with family who gives us the emotional support we need.
Tito VJ was a surprise. He came into our lives when we least expected it. I’ve always known that God has wonderful plans for us, and that in His own perfect time, He will show our hearts the reason why things happened the way they did. My mind was set that we are enough for each other—that we don’t need anybody else. With evident effort, Tito VJ kept pursuing us and showed us how much he wanted to play a big role in our lives. I prayed for God to give me a sign if he was the man He had sent for us, and when I saw how you two were getting along, I knew then that he was indeed a package sent from above. I know losing your dad was hard. I didn’t want you to grow up thinking that people always leave, so I had to make sure that Tito VJ will remain constant in both our lives and that his intention is to stay.
We want you to know that we will always be here to support you in all your endeavors, to be your pillars of strength when you feel weak, to celebrate your glories and comfort you at your lowest, to tirelessly cheer for you to keep going after your dreams. No matter what life throws at you, we will be here.
You are a blessing I am most grateful for each day. Having you makes me feel that I must have done something good in my life. You are the reason why I strive to be better, my driving force who inspires me to get to where I want to be. And I do this all for and because of you. I pray for guidance and wisdom that I may raise you after God’s own heart, that you may live out the purpose He has for you. That your life be a reflection of God’s love.
You are my greatest achievement and being called your mother is what I am most proud of. Go ahead and chase after your dreams. I will be right here watching you grow into the fine young man I hope and pray you will become.
Love, Mommy Camille
Published by Summit Books, Letters to My Children (P295) is available at your favorite book store.