Before his last year in high school ended for my son, there was an activity that pulled the students together to a reflection camp of sorts. They were taken out from the comforts of school and home, and engaged in a two-day activity of supposedly fun team building and evening reflection, guilt trip conscience speeches by the teachers and guidance counselors.
The culmination of the event would be that each student were encouraged to read a personal letter written by his parents to share to the group. These letters were collected before from the parents without knowledge of the child.
I remember writing my letter to my only son. I’ve edited most parts, but this is the gist of it.
February 8, 2010
I really don’t know exactly where to start, but I guess the beginning is usually a good place to start.
I know you are growing up fast, I can see that. My usual regret is, though I know I can be a good mother, I can never be your father.
I am afraid that I cannot offer you a father role model because however much I can fulfill everything you may need and want from a family, I can never step up to being a Dad because I do not know how to be one, I am only a Mom and for that I am sorry.
I know you have to look outside of this home just to find what it is you need to emulate, to let you know what it is to be a man. I hope and pray, the ones you look up to and consider as your role model, would be one of the great ones.
I know the feeling, believe me, I’ve been there. I grew up with no one to talk to not even friends. My growing up years was spent in confusion, silence, and path of least resistance. Life is hard, and it is much more harder when you are you are young and you have no one to hold onto, which is why I try to do my best not to give you this pain.
How do you make a man out of snotty child named __?
I have no answers, because I do not know, I am not a man. I cannot define your manhood for you.
Our life has never been typical. As you well know, you grew up without a father but I did my best to step up to the plate of trying to fulfill both roles for you and your siblings but if you had a father, I wish:
- He would teach you his techniques in tex (card games), marbles, maybe kite flying, or agawan base. All those fun physical street games. Teach you how to be tough. Play rough without crying because you are supposed to be a man. You would not or should not let anyone push you around.
- He would teach you how to bike and be there when you fall. Unfortunately, or fortunate? I was the one who taught you that and was there when you fell. In your life journey, I wish I can always be there when you fall, but believe me, some things in life needs you to get back up all by yourself, just so you can learn how to be strong.
- He would be the one by your side when you got circumcised and tell you how to handle the pain like a man. Galore you with stories of how it was like for him. On how it was usually done during summers to swim in the sea right after the cut, or even chew guava leaves so that it would heal quickly, or the undying urban legend that no girl was supposed to see it, coz it would look like ripe tomatoes all your life.
But I think after that ceremony, it was me who was more hurt than you. I have never felt so inadequate in my life, and it made me realize, no matter how much I try, you will always need a man to make a world.
- Teach you how to treat women. The man version of it. How to court, pursue and make your girl special. Just so you know, when you can sit beside a girl without having to say or do a thing and still feel connected, it’s not just chemistry, it maybe serendipity . I’ve always believed that you’ll know when you find that special someone, until then never settle.
- He would teach you the facts of life, biological side. There’s just sex for what it is, sex. Never mistake that for affection or love or obligation. Remember, women are more expensive when there’s no money involved.
What is a real man? I can never know, but what I do know is:
Define yourself by what you can do, and what you do is defined by who you are.
Who you are starts at the beginning. I take credit for that. I hope I had given you enough foundation to always pursue the call of conscience. Know that ” the actions of men are the best interpreters of their thoughts – John Locke“.
Live your life with that in mind and I suppose you can walk among great men.
I wish I could have added this in that letter, but now I’m adding it in this blog.
Son, I hope you grow up to become a good man go out conquer the world, whatever…
keep in mind that –
“I really don’t know what I’m supposed to do,
I can only be your mother, and a woman at that.
With all the love in world… Mom