It took me ages to write everything out although the content has been in my thoughts for a while now. I'm sending a paper copy but I'd like this to be kept online as well.
Dear Mom and Dad,
I’m sorry we don’t talk as often as we used to. Dad, can you turn on your wifi more often? Let’s coordinate so I can call you on Viber or FaceTime. I’m writing you a letter because what I have to say is quite lengthy and a bit maudlin as well. We don’t want Dad to be bawling like a baby by the time I finish.
I think it’s pretty awesome that I had my eighth leap birthday this year. Leapers all over the world still aren’t very common. I’ve only met or heard of a handful and even online, there aren’t that very many of us. It’s a very cool birthday to have, though. Anyway, thinking about my birthday and where I was celebrating it got me to start thinking about how lucky I was. I had quite a wild imagination as a little kid but never had I imagined my life to be what it is now. I wouldn’t have imagined me to be who I am now.
There are so many things that I like about my life, many things I’m grateful for. I don’t think I’d have most of them if you weren’t the people you are and if you’d raised me differently. I know it hasn’t been all that easy, I do hope it has mostly been fun for you both.
I have lots of memories from childhood. I remember learning how to read and write with Dad, taking lots of walks and talking about everything under the sun. I used to ride on Dad’s shoulders, eating (contraband) street food when I went with him to work and listening to him chat with anyone who had a tongue. Mom, you used to wrap me up like a baby in my favorite blanket and tickle me while we watched your soaps and action-packed TV shows. I recall going to work with you and watching you teach your classes. I mostly remember your naughty students and how I ended up collecting Marvel cards because of them. Walking up and down that “mountain” to get to your school was fun because you told me lots of stories to distract me. It was always hard work getting you to tell me about your childhood because you said your memory wasn’t like Tita Gelie’s.
When Dad left for Saudi Arabia, I had a fantastic time writing and recording letters for him. By the way, Dad, thank you for letting me make all those (grammar and spelling) mistakes and not making me feel bad about them. I can’t remember whose idea it was to let me start performing in school, it was great though. I never stopped being scared of being in front of people but at the same time I loved it. I learned how to express myself and got the confidence I needed to accomplish a lot of things. I am lucky to have a prodigious memory but learning to train it wasn’t an accident. To this day, I remember the words to most of the poems, declamations and orations I had to recite, by heart. Dad fostered my love of reading and Mom inadvertently made it the most enticing thing to do by forbidding me to read books other than textbooks or assigned reading during the school year.
They say every mom is a kid’s number one fan and may at times be unrealistic about one’s gifts or talents. You, Mom, were certainly never the latter. I love how forthright you are about your children’s (and your husband’s) flaws. You taught me to be honest but not to be cruel and to compliment people when they deserve them. Watching you work on our finances and your openness about how you manage them taught me how to manage my own. You trusted me to watch movies on my own and let me wander around the mall while you worked. I wasn’t always deserving of your trust and that’s how I ended up losing the school bus privileges. Nevertheless, I think I can attribute becoming independent and street smart, to all that.
Dad, I know I sometimes may have disappointed you by not being as religious as you are. I appreciate you being patient with all my questions and letting me talk about what I read or hear about so I can understand and create my own core beliefs. I always looked forward to the time you spent with me singing worship songs and old songs. You talked about your faith and always treated my opinions and queries as valid and deserving of your attention.
We had our rough patches, but I mostly remember your love. I thank you for my virtues, my strengths, my flaws and my weaknesses. Without all those, I wouldn’t be me.
There are a lot more stories to tell and reminisce about, more recollections to attest to how wonderful you both are. On that note, I end this letter with hugs and kisses sent to both of you.
With love as always,