They say we have dreams even for unborn children. And so, as parents, our disappointment is so great when things don’t turn out as we imagined.

But whether borne out of our own flesh and blood or reared from our own sweat and tears or both, we must recognize that at some point in time, we need to cut the umbilical cord and set our children free.

So, they can be. But they don’t always become what we want them to be.

I, myself, was a bit of a truant. As a child, I didn’t follow the rules. And as an adult, I always chose differently.

My mother was empathetic to my cause. She was, after all, the original writer in the family. But she still stopped me from pursuing writing—for my own safety in the Martial Law years and thereafter, for my own survival.

My father never budged from his position that some professions are bound to mire you in poverty—writing being one of them, among many others that interested me.

Everything I pursued in my life my father always met with some degree of dissatisfaction. Why I could not be more attracted to more financially-rewarding careers or money-making ventures always frustrated him.

In the end, I pursued writing at my own peril but I also accepted the reality that commercial endeavors do fund shoes and bags, clothes and vacations—things I liked having in my life.

Let me say this to all dreamers—your parents are not wrong in telling you to follow more practical pursuits in life. Do not begrudge them for only looking out for you. Yet, some of you will persist. You are also only looking out for your dreams. No one is wrong.

It all worked out in the end for me. My parents and I acknowledged each other’s dreams and made an effort to meet somewhere in between. I wasn’t thrown out of the house and I made myself useful to earn the free board and lodging.

I think the noblest act parents can do for their children is to honor their choices in life. Theoretically, this seems quite logical. But navigating through this tortuous route in real life is easier said than done.

It’s easy to love children who will do as you bid them. Those who will never stray from the path you set out for them. Those who will grow up to be as you planned. But there are those who will decide to be who they want to be.

Some of the choices our children make are not easy to accept and support. But the highest form of love we can give them as parents is to honor the choices they make—whether it’s the color of their hair or the person they fall in love with.

Today, my father still calls many of my choices foolish. But I still do as I believe. We no longer argue. Not about these. Love doesn’t always come easy. But when you honor each other’s choices, it can be.

Walk in each other’s shoes. Dream. Be. There can only be love when you let yourselves. Be.