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  • Lea Salonga Wants Daughter Nicole to Know 'Things Worth Having Don't Always Come Easy'

    Lea wondered whether she would be a tough mom to Nicole or if she would raise her differently.
    by Kitty Elicay .
  • Lea Salonga is a world-class talent, a wife, foodie, traveler, singing coach, a newspaper columnist, and a lover of life. She is also a mom to Nicole, now thirteen years old. Lea considers motherhood her greatest role yet.

    My dearest Nicole,

    There are only a few days left before your 10th birthday. Daddy and I cannot believe how quickly time has flown, and how you have grown to be a headstrong, determined, tough, smart, beautiful cookie. To say that we are proud of you is the understatement of the year.

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    When I was still baking you in my tummy, I could only dream of what my little girl would be like, and what kind of mother I would become. Would I be as tough as your Abu (my mom), or would I be different? There were questions constantly swirling in my head, and new ones would arise as I watched my belly undulate when you would change positions. Or hiccup. Or both.

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    "We are training you to carve out your own unique path through which you will navigate the world."

    Over these many years, we have watched you grow. We have seen what kind of person you are. You are fearless when trying something new, but immediately run to us when you get a boo-boo, a waterfall of tears streaming down your face. That look of wonder and accomplishment when you’d get something right. The frustration you’d feel when you thought you failed, which meant we had to keep telling you to never give up, and that things worth having don’t always come easy.

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    However, we are also the ones left in awe of you when you very eloquently express an opinion about politics, television shows, food, and fun. How creative you are when you sit in front of a laptop, turn on Minecraft in creative mode, and erect some of the most breathtaking structures one is able to make. Your drawings and sketches reflect a thoughtful, contemplative spirit, the depths of which are beyond even my own comprehension. And the goofi ness of your soul when you do something silly, accompanied by delicious laughter that makes our souls laugh along with you.

    We are raising you to be your own person, and not a mere reflection of your ancestors, many of whom are, in their own right, illustrious and successful. We are training you to carve out your own unique path through which you will navigate the world. We are pushing you to be outspoken about the issues you feel strongly about while still remaining respectful and empathetic of others. We can see that as you grow you are figuring all that out, and will conquer the world, on your own terms.

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    I truly cannot ask for much more of you, except that you remain exactly as you are. And know that no matter how tall you grow, you’ll always be my baby. All Daddy and I can promise you is to nurture your gifts and encourage you to keep trying at whatever your dreams might be. We will always be there for you, no matter what.

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    Happy birthday, my sweet, sweet girl, favorite travel buddy, fellow cartoon junkie, and junk food connoisseur. We love you very much.

    Love, Mommy

    This letter was originally published in the book Letters to My Children, a compilation of heartwarming notes penned by public figures and celebrities for their kids. The book is published by Summit Books.

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