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  • Dear Baby, Tears Well Up When I Think of the Day When You Say, 'Kaya Ko na Po, Mommy'

    A mom recalls her son's milestones in a heartwarming open letter to celebrate his first birthday.
    by Carol Amistad .
  • Parenting can be a lonely job. What helps is having a community who cheers and listens without judgment. And that's what our "Real Parenting" section is for: a space where parents can share the joys, pain and the mess that is parenthood. 
    PHOTO BY COURTESY OF CAROL AMISTAD
    Dear Ethan,
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    It feels like it was only yesterday when I first saw and held you close. With your tiny hands and feet and the face of an angel, it had not been hard falling in love with you.

    I still remember how excited you were a few hours before my scheduled CS in the early morning of March 26. As if on cue, my 38-week tummy was contracting on our way to the hospital, like you knew you were coming out that day.

    Ethan's big sister loves singing lullabies to him. She even learned how to carry a baby properly to help her Mom.
     PHOTO BY COURTESY OF CAROL AMISTAD
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    When Daddy and I brought you home, everyone in the family was as smitten as we were. And your big sister? Oh, she was ecstatic! She couldn't get enough of you. She sang lullabies and nursery rhymes to put you to sleep. She would create silly sounds and make funny faces to make you laugh. She wasn't afraid to learn how to carry you in her little arms, and she was so eager to help me any way she can. Your sister still does these things even up to now.

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    We were together 24 hours, seven days a week for almost three months. I did all the best I could to breastfeed you exclusively (sadly, I was only able to do so for five months). I kept track of your growth, and I looked forward to your milestones — your first smile, first coo, first giggle, first rollover, first tummy time.

    Your Dad and I would "shift" schedules during the first two weeks. I would take the day shift, while he would stay up late to look after you at night. We had our share of sleepless days and nights, we struggled as if this was our first time. There were moments when I felt so exhausted and helpless that I couldn't do anything but cry. After 83 days, I returned to work with a guilty feeling of leaving you with your nanny for more than 12 hours every single day. I know it's hard for you, but it's even more painful for Mommy.

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    When Ethan had to be admitted to the hospital, Carol realized not just her strength, but the bravery of her little one, too.
    PHOTO BY courtesy of Carol Amistad

    On your 4th month, you were admitted to the hospital because of pneumonia. Your Daddy and I had never been so worried sick. It was an unpleasant experience, but that taught me so many things about you and myself. It made me realize how strong of a woman I am and how brave you are at a very young age.

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    When you reached your 6th month, I was excited to feed you your first meal. I researched a lot, even joined an online group on healthy food ideas and tips on baby and toddler feeding. I was determined to give you nothing but the healthiest homemade food that I can prepare.

    I'm very proud that you've eaten a variety of fruits and veggies, even those that I don't eat at all. You make meal-preparation so easy for Mommy.

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    And look where we are now, sweetheart. We're celebrating your first year! Time fleeted just like that, everything felt like a blur. I look at you now, and I can't help but feel so emotional. I am grateful and proud, but deep inside I want to freeze time and just hold you in my arms. I am excited about your next milestones, but deep inside I am also a bit anxious about what the future holds for you.

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    I know I'm supposed to be ready for this, after all, this is just like a replay of how it was five years ago with your big sister. But for some honest to goodness reason, I am not just emotionally prepared. Tears well up my eyes at the thought of you entering preschool. I feel a lump in my throat each time I picture you enjoying your alone time with friends, or when the time comes that you'll tell me "It's okay, Mommy. Kaya ko na po." Yes, I'm an overthinker sometimes.

    My son, things will be different and might be a bit harder for you in the next year. You will learn to take your first steps. Your vocabulary will expand, and you will learn to utter more words. You will become more anxious when Mommy and Daddy leave. You will be exposed to more unfamiliar faces, and you will be offered more food options — most of it disguised as "delicious and nutritious." You will be more curious and will love to explore your surroundings.

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    As Ethan celebrates his first birthday, Carol promises to be by his side as he conquers a new set of milestones.
    PHOTO BY courtesy of Carol Amistad

    But son, remember that as you go through all of these, as you try to learn and discover yourself and the world around you, your Daddy and I will be there. And that's not going to change — our love for you will never change.

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    And lastly, just please allow me to bask at this moment while I still can. Allow me to hold you in my arms, carry you on my shoulders, hug you tight, tuck you to bed, read you bedtime stories, play with you, laugh with you, cry with you, wipe your tears away, sing for you, create adventures and lots of memories with you. Allow me to take pictures and videos of you and your sister. Allow me to say no when I have to. Allow me to be your everything while time still permits. Because this moment called parenthood is passing so quickly, allow me to cherish every second of it with you.

    Love,

    Mom

    Want to get something off your chest? Or share a slice of your parenting journey with fellow moms? Send it to our Facebook Messenger or email at smartparenting2013@gmail.com with the subject "Real Parenting."

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