Until now, I still can’t believe you are finally leaving your childhood and will soon start adolescent life. Wasn’t it only yesterday when as a 6-month-old baby you started going to school? I was still pregnant with you when I went to apply your Kuya and Ate in pre-school.
Unfortunately, there were no more slots available for them and the teachers, seeing me heavy with you, suggested I signed you up instead in the Infant Development Program. So there you were, already admitted in school while you were still in my tummy.
People used to call you baby genius, because you started going to school as a baby. Maybe so.
But to us, you were also the most loveable, huggable, “squeeshable” baby in the world. You loved going to school that you would crawl to me or dad early in the morning to wake us up and get you ready for school.
We couldn’t stop smiling every time we would see you off – you were such a cutie with your little Winnie the Pooh backpack on your back, waving at us, always excited to go to school. You hated it when it rained hard and we wouldn’t let you go to school. Weekends were ok because you loved playing with Kuya and Ate. Not to mention, you found them delectable that you ended up biting them.
As you were growing up, teachers would tell us you became your name. You turned out to be “the star” of your class. Even back then when you could still hardly speak, you already showed “star” qualities. You attracted attention not just because of your “cuteness” but the way you stood out among other babies.
You started to be a “foodie” very early on because even as an infant, you already appreciated food so much that you would eat up your classmates left-overs.
Dad and I couldn’t forget how at 6 months, you showed the “IQ” of an 18 month. Your teacher was awed that you could open a jar that early. But of course, we were not really surprised. After all, the bottle had yummy cheese curls in it!
To add more stellar to your life, you and your classmates made it to the front page of the Inquirer – with all your chubbiness and baldness! Your lolo and lola were so proud of you. Dad and I, of course, were the proudest. Soon enough, I lost my identity and became “Star’s mom.” Not that I minded, of course.
I still keep your semestral narrative reports starting from the infant class. One of my favorite reports says: “Star maintains to be a simple child with a big heart. She truly inspires the teachers not only in planning activities for the class but also the way to look into life’s circumstances. ” And she was talking of a 2-year-old.
That remark from your teacher actually came from an incident which happened on my birthday. I picked you up from school to take you, Kuya and Ate to the birthday celebration our friends were throwing for me. To my shock, I found you surrounded by your classmates and teachers — with practically half of your face covered by a plaster!
It turned out that in that afternoon, you were playing at the bahay kubo and an older girl from the 4s & 5s class pushed you. You fell off, face down. Thankfully, you didn’t hit your head on the big rock which was just a few inches away from where you fell off.
I was so furious that day. I immediately thought of suing the school. But what you said that afternoon gripped my heart and made me change my mind. As I was demanding from your teachers to call the parents of the girl who bullied you, you pulled my shirt and said, “Mom, I forgave her. Please just pray for me, that Jesus will heal my face.” I cried so hard that I probably looked like I just lost a loved one. Silence fell. We – your teachers, I, some of your classmates and your aggressor – then gathered around you hand-in-hand and prayed for your healing.
In that instance, God reminded me the true meaning of love. The passage that defines love (1 Corinthians 13:14-15) suddenly became so clear to me. “Love is patient, love is kind … It bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.” You, a 2-year-old baby, painted to me on that day the greatest picture of love.
At such a young age, you have taught me so much – purity of the heart, trust, faith, and most of all, unconditional love.
When you were diagnosed with von Willebrand Disease at age 7, Dad and I were devastated. How will you face the future with a lifelong disorder? Why you? Sometimes you ask. I ask that myself.
But looking at you now — how you look at life, how you handle things and how you have turned out to be, I can only guess. I’m sure God doesn’t mean for you to suffer. But I guess He believes in you so much — that you will be able to inspire others in the way you live. That a lifelong disorder doesn’t need to hinder you to do great things.
You have shown that to us — with your confidence, with your strong character. Even your steadfastness.
As you enter adolescence, leaving elementary school and on to high school, I pray that you will stay as you are – confident, strong-willed, steadfast, brave and most of all, one who loves God with all of your heart.
I hope you will always remember God’s promise in the Bible: “For I know the plans I have for you,” says the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.”
Keep on shining, Star. You know that we love you so much.