Posted by: Leap of Faith | August 1, 2007

Not Just Another Senior Citizen

Before I fly back to Manila, I would like to honor a very special “soon-to-be” Senior Citizen – my mom, who is turning 60 on August 3.

Dearest Mom,

Ever since Pinky and I decided to make our “Leap of Faith” to Saudi Arabia, things have been very different. We were thrown out of our comfort zones into the desert, which we now call our temporary home. Life was definitely harder and, to be honest, there were a lot of moments when we (deep inside) doubted our decision. No matter how sure we were that this is what God wanted for our family, there was still that tinge of fear and doubt at the back of our heads that we may have made a mistake. Life has become better now, although I don’t think it will ever be the same. We try to live by our decision and make the most out of the different situations which God puts our family into.

I don’t know if you still remember all the drama we went through when I decided that it was time for me to start my own family. I’m sure it was a difficult moment for all of us, you most especially. I remember how your eyes and nose turned scarlet red on our wedding day – believe me, to this day I have to keep reassuring Pinky that those were just “tears of joy” and nothing else! But, whether she believes me or not is another story.

Shortly after our wedding, events started to unfold in our life as a young married couple. Pinky and I were very happy exploring our new life while everyone else was stuck in limbo caused by what you term as “separation anxiety”. We tried to rationalize and understand what you were saying but, to be honest, could not see where you were coming from then. Although I applaud you for your achievements as a physician, I think your weird sense of wisdom comes more from a much deeper source and that is your heart, which is filled by your vast experience as a mother; something that I only understand now that I am a parent of three as well.

Now that I have children of my own, I see the world from a different perspective – from the eyes of a parent. I’m pretty sure that my wife will tell me that my days of solitude in Saudi Arabia have now turned me into somebody melodramatic. Yet, the mere thought of my children growing up and moving away from us makes me want to break down in tears, as you have in the past. So, this is the meaning of “separation anxiety.” I’m sure glad that I still don’t have to deal with this for the next 15 or so years.

Of all the strong and good qualities that you have as a person, I guess the trait that you passed on to me was all your drama (as other people would see it). Again, I try to look at it from a different angle and realize that what I got from you goes beyond your obvious Type A personality and your usual “hyper” bursts of emotion nor the physical manifestations of just tears and words. What I got is arguably the strongest of all traits and that is love… love for one’s family. Your dedication to your immediate and extended families (i.e. your patients, your friends, your distant and not-so-distant relatives) is defintiely unquestionable. Truly you have been blessed by God with a pure and generous heart.

You mentioned during your speech in our wedding that you have equipped me with everything I needed to succeed. I’m not sure whether by anyone’s standard I am what you may call a successful man. An OFW in the Middle East is, I’m sure, not the stereotype of everyone’s yuppie, even my own. Nevertheless, I realize though that success does come in many different forms and whether this be in material terms only or otherwise is defined by what each individual views as important in his or her life. I gauge my personal success on how well I have used the only tools that you have given me, which are my roots and my wings. I’d like to think that I have started to use these tools in rearing my own children. By bringing them back home I am hoping that they will know their roots; that they would know who they really are and where they came from. And that wherever we may live in this small world of ours, that they will be proud knowing that they are Filipinos and that they will always have a sense of security knowing that when things get too much to handle overseas, they always have a family to come home to that is overflowing with love and respect for one another.

Pinky and I are still in the process of giving our children their wings. We remain hopeful though that the formal education that we give our children in school and moreso the informal education that we expose our children to through the unique environment we live in, will allow them to appreciate the world and the people who live in it. We believe that eventually this will strengthen their wings and make them soar to greater places, which we ourselves have never been. In time, we pray that Pinky and I can proudly claim that we have turned out to be great parents, just like what you have turned into now.

Mom, thank you for all that you’ve done. Words are not enough to say how great a person, a friend and a mother you are. I’m sure I speak on behalf of the many people you have helped before and will help in the future in saying that you are really one of a kind!

We love you very much. Advance happy 60th birthday. Finally, you will soon receive your Senior Citizen’s card – 20% discount, yehey!



  1. Amen to this! Very heartfelt and so sincerely written 🙂

  2. Happy Birthday to Tita Dolly! 😀 Keith, we are truly blessed to have such great Moms, single parenthood notwithstanding. 😉 We could only hope to be achieve half of their greatness. But let’s give it our best shot! 😀

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