Sunday, September 1, 2013

Your First Letter of Many Birthdays Yet to Come

Dear Forrest, 

As I watch you take your tentative steps away from the safety of holding on the edge of our sofa, your body swaying perilously, and your little chub arms up in the air to maintain balance, I cherish this very moment because within a blink, you'll be running toward me with your arms outstretched, and within a sigh, you'll be signing good-bye as you walk away with your friends.  You are, and always will be number one. You've brought so much joy in our lives just by being you. Being a mother leaves me so vulnerable in ways that I can't imagine. This vulnerability frightens me yet it empowers me to instill all the values I hope you'll gain as you grow. Here is what I would love you to know:

Fail as much as you can. We place so much emphasis on success, and doing things perfectly the first time around, but we fail to remember that making mistakes is also what makes us grow wiser. By failing, you may surprise yourself by finding another way to make it work. By failing, you find that core strength inside you that you have had all along. By failing, you are teaching others that it is okay to be imperfect. Do not be afraid of failures. They are neither bad or good. They simply are there to teach you that it is better to get up, brush yourself off, and do it again. Don't give up just because of one obstacle that gets in your way. Face it. Fix it. Move on.

Be kind. In life, you will meet some people that will not nice to you. I have learned from life that people who are perceived to be less than nice tends to be simply lonely, and lacking in social niceties. Lonely people do things to fit in, and sometimes, they make wrong choices by trying to fit in. Do not add more trouble on their shoulders by reacting in the same way. Show them the right way by being kind. It may surprise you how they change the way they treat you.

Do not judge. If you are too busy judging them then you will have no time to love. We don't know what always goes in others' lives behind the closed doors. Reserve your judgment to yourself, and listen to your guts. When a situation calls for an opinion, be wise with who you share your opinions with, and make sure you word it correctly for a right reason. Don't judge just because you can.

Forgive. Lose your scoreboard with all the wrongs people have done to you. It does not fix anything to hold scores over others' heads. All it does is make your heart harder, and bitter. It will build the walls between you, and the world. By forgiving does not mean you condone what others have done wrong to you. It just means that you have let go of all the wrongs, hurt, anger, and disappointments. It is FOR you than it is for them.

Stand up for yourself. If you expect the world to be fair with you because you are fair. You're fooling yourself. That's like expecting a lion not to eat you. This does not mean you should NOT be fair. Do be fair. At the same time, do understand that not everybody will uphold this value.

Stand up for others. When you see someone being victimized, then stand up for them. Do not stand back because you are embarrassed for them or afraid of the bully. By standing up for those who cannot stand up for themselves, you are teaching others what is the right thing to do, and why it is right to do this. You may not change the bully by doing this, but doing so, you are changing the world one person at time.

Work hard. Do well in school. Earn good grades. Turn in your homework on time. Do your best on the exams. Respect your teachers, and classmates. You will not always get what you want at first. You may not get your dream job right away. It takes steps. You may have to work odd jobs here and there to reach your ultimate goal. Build your work ethic. Show up on time. Be courteous. Do what you are told. You'll be able to build connections with your coworkers, and bosses. You will get there. It may take time, and you will get there.

Play harder. All work with no play makes you a dull person. You need some kind of outlet. If sports aren't your thing. That's okay! Find your niche. Let it be art, drama, or music. Make sure it is something that you enjoy, and have fun with!

Keep the environment clean. Make sure that you recycle, and disperse of trash properly. Make the right choices for mother nature, and for those who shares the space with us. Yes, that means animals, trees, plants, and water. Do not mistreat mother nature, and those who are a part of her. You will be leaving the world to your children, if you choose to have any, and others' children. Please do not leave the world a broken place for them.

Be patient. It will come.

Treat people with respect especially women, children, elderly, and the vulnerable. They are someone's child, sibling, relative, a friend, and means the world to someone else. Hold the door open. Allow them to go ahead of you to be first. Help if it is needed. Do not turn your eyes away, and pretend that they are not there. Treat women properly seeing that they have a such special gift of having an ability to carry a child. Treat children with nothing but kindness. They will grow up, and become representatives of our society. Treat the elderly with respect because they have seen so much from the world, and have so much to offer yet. Treat the vulnerable with dignity. Just because they are disabled does not mean they are sub-humans. If you see anyone, I mean anyone, treat them with indecency, disrespect, and cruelty then stand up for them. You are one of their voices.

Learn. Learn. Learn! Never stop learning whether it is through academics, or using your hands. It is so critical for you to show what you know whether it is by trade or degree. If you have no desire to further education through a college, then it is okay as long as you have a plan for your future. If army is something that interests you, then you will become one of those people who have fought for our country, and make sure you are doing it for a right reason. We will support you. And yes, you will still have to enter some kind of program with being in Army to earn a degree or certification. We would like you to at least enter a technical school to earn a certification of some trade that you are passionate about. It is a proof that you are able to absorb what you've known, and apply it to work. Make sure you understand what you've learned, and apply it to life because it will help you become a better citizen of our society.

Beware of becoming too arrogant. Nobody appreciates a smart aleck.

Be prudent when it comes to sex. Do not have sex just because it is "what everybody else is doing". Sex comes with a great responsibility. Do not force yourself upon anyone if they do not want it. Do not pressure, or abuse love in order to gain sex. It is not the right way. Use protection. Sex is a very intimate thing. By having sex with someone, you are essentially taking a part of them with you for rest of your life.

Love. When the time comes, you will find that you fall in love with someone wonderful, and you have our blessing. We hope to have shown you what a healthy relationship looks like while you were growing up. We hope that you know it is okay not always be perfect in a relationship, that there will some arguments followed with a lot of kisses, and hugs, and that it is important to have each other backs especially if you have children together.

A serious relationship is a work. We don't care who you end up loving as long as this person treats you right, and that the person you love is also a decent person. A relationship is not always easy. It is going to require work.Please remember that you are also handling their heart in your hand. Treat them right. Love is a very powerful thing, and can be overwhelming, scary, and confusing at times. With that, it is also a beautiful, and worthwhile thing to have. Once you find someone you love, and know it is going to work out, then don't let go that person just because "going" got hard. Even hard times is worth the love you have with that person.

Always be the first to apologize. It shows that you value your relationship more than your ego.

You will meet people from many different paths in life. You are already off to a great start with having a mom that happens to be Deaf! The people you meet, they will come to you with different sets of values, and opinions. Do not force them to change the way they think as much as not letting them to change yours.  Share, mingle, and discuss all of your thoughts without putting them down. If what they know is inaccurate, and do gentle correct them, but do not expect them to change what they know. If what you know is inaccurate, and they try to correct you, then embrace it, and it is up to you to either keep or discharge this new information. They are them. You are YOU. It is what makes the world an interesting place.

You are a role model. Because you will be the oldest kid in the family, the responsibility falls upon your shoulders to portray the values that we want to instill in our family to your brothers/sisters. When you are going to make a choice, it won't just reflect you, but also your family, and make sure it is a choice that you want your siblings to follow. We hope you will be close to your brothers/sisters enough for them to approach, and talk to you about life stuff that they may not always want to share with us. We aren't naive to think that kids will always want to tell us stuff. Being the oldest of the bunch in my family, I have had a share of my brothers/sisters telling me things that they did not want the parents to know. So I know how it goes! Also, because you are the oldest; your brothers/sisters will look up to you. You'll be the first to do things (which is pretty awesome, I think)! Make sure you keep the siblings in your mind when you make the choices because heck, they will try to copy you!

Most importantly of all, be yourself. Take care of yourself, and don't be afraid to be who you are. There is no need for you to try to be like someone else. After all, there is only one of you in the world.

Mama & Daddy