You spent months in my arms as I cuddled you, nursed you, and rocked you to sleep.
I could hardly bear to leave your side, and when I had to, I couldn’t stop thinking about you.
Then you took your first steps, and my worst fears became reality: You started to walk away from me.
I was celebrating an important milestone in your life and was so proud of your courage and determination to explore the world around you.
Yet I couldn’t help but feel a tinge of sadness that it was the beginning of you, my precious baby, leaving my side.
But to my heart’s greatest joy, as you mastered your gait, you always came running back into my open arms.
I could never bring myself to leave your side, could I?
We have the most precious and beautiful bond in the world.
Your tiny hand fit so perfectly in mine.
My hugs and kisses were always able to drive away your fears and tears.
Your hugs and kisses never failed to brighten my day and drive my fatigue away.
We snuggled in bed and sang “Itsy Bitsy” over and over again and you still giggled, and we were the happiest souls in the room.
I always wanted to be right next to you, holding your hand, to make sure you are safe, to cheer for you for each of your achievements, both big and small, and to fend off all the scary monsters in your tiny world.
But with each cake cutting, your world got bigger and bigger.
We spent more hours apart as you started a brand new journey at the preschool.
I appreciated the few hours I had to myself while you were at school, but my thoughts were never far from you.
I’d wonder what you were doing, what exciting things you were learning, and what fun you were having with your friends.
Friends! You started making friends in school, and I’d always be so excited to hear about the fun times you shared.
Yet, I secretly wished I would always be your best friend, someone you could always run to for your deepest secrets and a shoulder to cry on.
Your world expanded once again when you entered elementary school.
It was a brand new world and greater adventures awaited.
As a first-time parent with her firstborn in elementary school, I had my anxieties while you seemed real cool about starting your new journey.
I wished I could be right next to you as you explored the new school compounds.
I wished I could be right next to you and watch you make new friends.
I wished I could be right next to you as you learned to buy your own meals during recess and took time to visit the library or played with your friends at the field.
I really wish I could always be right next to you.
But I can’t.
I won’t be right next to you when you sit for your first exams.
But I know you will be all confident and prepared for it.
I won’t be right next to you when you receive results of your first nationwide level exams five years down the road.
But I know I would receive you with open arms no matter those results. Because you are way greater than the grades on a piece of paper.
I won’t be right next to you when you ask the girl of your dreams out on your first date. (It would be way too creepy if I were.)
But I would love to hear how you made the girl laugh and had the most memorable evening and how she stole your heart.
I won’t be right next to you when you get offered your first job.
But I would be so excited for you, for the great work you would do. Because I know you can achieve whatever you set your mind on.
I won’t be right next to you when your first child is born.
But I know you would be absolutely thrilled and moved like never before, just like how your dad and I felt when we first laid eyes on you.
I wish I could be right next to you to hold your hand, to cheer you on, to comfort you, to dry your tears, to share your joy and even your pain.
But I won’t always be right next to you.
But I truly wish the time spent with you in your growing up years, the bond we have built, will continue to grow and strengthen even in the years ahead.
Even as your world grows bigger without me, even as we spend more time apart, may you know that my arms will always be wide open, ready to embrace you, and that my heart always has a place for you.
Even when I am not right next to you.