GROWING up in Bacolod, I have always found pleasure in giving people around me hand-written notes which ranged from famous quotes to movie dialogues to just about the most mundane jottings I can write with ink and paper. “Lab gid,” it said on the last part.

So when I became a mom at 24, I thought reading fairy tales and writing letters to them will be a forever thing. How wrong I was. They are now aged 15 and 11 with ever-changing priorities and demeanors, and with an imposing internet life that is both the boon and bane of my existence.

Being a parent in a fast-paced online world feels so much like reaching for the horizon as my kids sail by themselves into the sunset because I couldn’t run to the shore fast enough. So here I am, writing them a love letter that I hope would catch up with them wherever they choose to go.

Someone from my friends list calls it Consejo de una Madre, which thoughtfully translates to “advice of a mother.” I smiled, realizing that my parenting pursuits has finally gone digital and it reads:

Dear Ivo and Iago,

I could only ever hope to raise you as men of character, intelligence, courage, wit, kindness and style.

I hope you never forget to wish others a great morning or a lovely afternoon. Little things like these might be big things to others.

I hope you never forget to show tolerance and empathy. A person who is understood and accepted for who he truly is, glows differently.

I hope you never forget to stay away from trouble, but still know the thin line between graciousness and standing up for what is right.

I hope you never forget to say please, thank you and sorry. They are those little magic words I keep telling you about.

I hope you never forget to mind your language. It is the finest reflection of what resides between your ears.

I hope you never forget that strength and grit should always be complimented by softness and sensitivity.

I hope you never forget to wear nice clothes, no matter how simple. It is a cardinal form of good manners and respect.

I hope you never forget to look people in the eyes. In there, lies great mysteries as well as straightforward answers.

I hope you never forget to smile. It is a universal language.

I hope you never forget to write succinctly and legibly. It is the window from which people see the breathings of your heart.

I hope you never forget to find people who resonate with your soul. They will give you peace like you’ve never imagined.

I hope you never forget to become the blessing some people might be praying and aching for every night.

I hope you never forget to read. Books. Situations. People. There’s always something to be discovered, hidden between the lines.

I hope you never forget to open doors for women, carry something for them or say something nice to wake their beauty within.

And lastly, I hope you never forget how to love. It’s such a simple word, such a profound feeling but forgotten so easily when faced with a cruel and unforgiving world.

Lab gid,

Mommy

Nobe Cuatriz-Cantillas used to write as a part-time romance novelist for three wonderful publishing houses, but that was more than a decade ago. She hung up her pen to focus on raising her two sons, growing her small procurement business, and brewing coffee grounds and loose-leaf tea leaves on her downtime.

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Jottings is a new segment by SunStar Bacolod’s opinion section. It features short and personal essays. To submit, kindly send an essay between 300-500 words. Please include a two-sentence bio note and email them to sunstarbacoloddesk@gmail.com.