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A letter to mom

Artwork by Kat Eloriaga

I was three when you decided to enroll me in a nursery school. It was then that I learned how to write my name, color shapes and say basic words. You were there to painstakingly mentor me every step of the way. I could never learn how to draw diamonds, but you were there to guide my little hands even if it took me three days to perfect the shape. 

I graduated class valedictorian and gave a speech, and that was the first victory we shared together. 

I was five when I entered grade school, and you were so proud that I belonged to the top section, where all the brightest minds converge. I wasn’t a special child, not at all, but you believed so much in my capabilities that I did not doubt myself at all.

You were there when my teacher told me I wasn’t good enough, and defended me not because I was your son but because you knew that these words scar a child’s life forever. You were there when I told you I wanted to join a mathematics camp, and gave me the support I needed even if we both knew that I never really loved numbers. You were there when I joined the school choir, supporting me on the competitions we joined. 

My high school life changed me. It opened up my mind to the realities of life and gave me a platform to voice my opinions. It was when I started to become socially active, especially on issues and causes that mattered to me. It was the time that I learned to question the system – and to actually defy it. 

You were there to give your full approval, because you knew that what I was doing was for the better. This was the time you told me to never get tired of what I do, or even if I did, a full stop is not the right solution. 

Rest if you must, but don’t you ever quit, you said. 

It was a few months before college when we had our biggest argument. You wanted me to pursue a career in the medical field, but I insisted that I wanted to pursue a career in writing. 

I wrote you a long letter.,I remember, and that was the time you gave in to what I wanted because you knew it was the best thing to do. 

There were a lot of times I think I failed or disappointed you, but you never made me feel that I am unloved, or unappreciated. Instead, you gave me the drive to pursue what I wanted. You gave me the reason to continue fighting the good fight. You were there to keep me grounded, and to remind me of my ultimate purpose when I would be a bit off track.

You always tell me to never lose self-respect, because that’s the only thing I have when all else is gone, and I will never forget that, Mom. You and dad are the reasons why I strive to be better every single day. I am passionate about the things I do because you taught me how to love fully. I am grounded because you always remind me to look back and pay it forward. I am who I am because I am your son, and I hope I’m not disappointing you anymore. 

There were tough times, Mom, there will always be. Right now, you have to keep fighting illnesses that hit you, and I can only assure you that I will always be by your side. I will make you laugh when pain makes you cry. I will retell our stories, because those stories are what we want to talk about all the time. I will always remind you of how grateful I am to be your son and how lucky I am that you are my mother. 

I will keep inspiring other people, because that’s what you’ve always wanted me to do. More than anything else, I will keep on being inspired by you. 

I know thanking you will never be enough, but I will thank you anyway. Thank you for allowing me to become the person that I am today. 

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