Every week, Preen tackles motherhood sans the rose-tinted glasses. Our columnists L. Juliano, Marla Darwin, Monica Eleazar-Manzano, and Rossana Unson tell their personal experiences like it is—at times frustrating, oftentimes confusing, but always enlightening.
Nine years ago, while I was very pregnant and waiting to birth my son, I gleefully discovered the convenience of online shopping and acquired through Amazon the wonderful book called 100 Promises to My Baby by Mallika Chopra. (Yes, the daughter of the world-famous spiritual guru, Deepak Chopra!) The hormonal me cried buckets reading the book and I thought of it as a real gem depicting a mother’s love for her child. I passed the same book on to my friends that became pregnant after me. I reckon they cried just as much as I did through the years. My treasured book holds our collective tears and the mere thought of it warms me to the bones. Our modern tribe of women, although as individuals are very different in our chosen parenting styles, obviously share a universal love for our (then, yet to be born) children.
Behold, my own adaptation of the book as a personal love letter to my own children:
To my dearest Santi and Maya,
I promise to love you. During the precious moment of your births, I looked into each of your eyes and instantly connected. I knew in the depths of my soul that we have known each other from beyond this finite world. This kind of love we share will once again go past the realms of time and space. Again and again, through infinite lifetimes, I promise to love you beyond our limited human perceptions. Please be patient with me as I have to slowly re-learn the lessons meant for us in this incarnation.
I promise to nourish you. I, your main life line, carried both of you as tiny seeds in my belly for 10 moons. I promise to continue to nourish you with whole foods for as long as you live under my wings. I may go astray with occasional sweet tooth cravings but for majority of my living years, I will aim for an approach to holistic nutrition so that you may experience and value the beautiful cosmic cycles and Earth’s bounty through the food on our plates. (Shall we try to get Daddy to agree, too?)
I promise to live a blissful life of magic, reverence, and wonder. For you, my sweet darlings, I promise to make our ordinary days always extraordinary. Together we will spark, build, and strengthen our inner lives through imaginative and age-appropriate play and stories.
I promise to be here for you. In today’s frenetic world and balancing home and work demands, it is honestly a real struggle to be fully present when I multi-task to my maximum capacity just to get by. I promise to practice slow parenting and being mindful especially with you both because this precious time we call now or present moment is truly a gift for us all to be in together. Let’s not waste it.
I promise to show you the world. I pledge to you both that the world is our real classroom. The greater lessons will take place when we tackle our self-made school traveling programs according to our interests. This is to encourage learning about all the other people sharing this planet with you. Cultures and then ultimately, about ourselves, too.
I promise to protect you. For as long as I live, I vow to protect you. It is my duty as your parent to shield you from unnecessary harm and evil. I will do whatever it takes, even if it costs me my own life. (Yes, very much like the song “I’d Give My Life to You” from the musical Les Miserables. I will let you listen and watch when you’re old enough.)
I promise you a life of meaning. I acknowledge that you are divine beings finding your dharma or purpose on Earth. We each have a special mission and it is our personal mysteries to be solved. I promise to help you solve the mystery of your lives and then later making an imprint, a real difference in this world through the meaningful work that you are destined to do.
I promise to teach you how to soar. I promise to be able to provide you with the necessary tools needed to manifest all of your dreams. There is no limit to what you can achieve. Remember: “Thoughts become things.” So, think and dream big, always.
I promise to also teach you how to fall. As young children, I promise to carry you when you fall but as you grow older, I must learn to teach you how to arm yourselves for the times when mommy won’t be here to catch you. Fall gracefully and then get up. What matters are the risks you take, never the failures.
And I promise to let you go. I know that you have requested me as your mom and life mentor. Remembering Kahlil Gibran’s words, I realize that being your mother does not equate to belonging. You do not belong to me… You are your own being, not a replica of myself or what I could’ve been. Soon you’ll no longer need me for anything. When that day comes, I promise to be ready to set you free so you can fly on your own. Fly free, my child, and soar high.
Love always and forever,
Art by Dorothy Guya