On March 19, 2010 my daughter Czarina will graduate from primary school. I remember it like it was just yesterday when she was only a baby. I don't think that there was ever a time that I didn't get enough sleep because she was such a wonderful baby. She's always asleep or when she's awake you hardly heard her cry. She's a sweet and quiet baby; our bundle of joy. Now, she's all grown up and she will turn 13 this year – a teenager real soon.
On Wednesday, March 10, being part of the graduating class and their curriculum, she and her class will go to Batangas for a 3day (spiritual) retreat. As part of the program, parents and friends should prepare a letter and should be given to them at least a day before the retreat. This is what we call the Palanca letter which is a letter of encouragement. Palanca is a Spanish word means to give lift, to rise. The word is used here to describe the effect of a letter of encouragement on a retreatant. Retreatants, who are familiar with the process, look forward to these letters from their loved ones.
This morning I wrote my very first Palanca letter for my darling daughter and I want to share it with you, my dear friends.
To My Lovely Daughter,
All I want for you is to be happy. May you learn how to appreciate every small thing and take pleasure in everything that life has to offer – a swim with your cousins or friends, a good book read like of those novels from your favorite author, Stephanie Meyer and hopefully you explore more interesting books and writers like I do, a delicious meal shared with family or friends, a walk with Tennessee or perhaps just playing and dancing in the rain.
You are 12 and you are growing up so fast, I'd be kidding myself if I imagined that the girl that you are now, sometimes sweet yet feisty will change so much. I would want you to be more loving, patient and forgiving. Forgive others they are not perfect but most of all forgive yourself because you are only human and it may take the pressure off you for not being perfect that if you learn how to forgive yourself it won't be too hard to forgive others. I would do anything just to give you the gift of loving yourself as much as I love you. You are beautiful and a wonderful person, don't let other people tell you otherwise. I would never want you to deprive yourself of food or be too conscious on how you look physically. I don't want you to feel that to be beautiful you should be thin or should have big boobies or should put too much make up or wear skimpy clothes. I would want you to love yourself flaws and all, if you learn how to do this, people would also accept and love your imperfections. I also want you to feel just how lucky and blessed you are to be you.
Sometimes I know you feel that I am being too hard on you whenever I lecture you about things; tell you what to do, tell you what is right or wrong. You may not always believe it but I just want what is best for you. I am not trying to manipulate or trick you - I am always on your side. Your family is always here for you no matter what and I hope you will never forget that.
But whatever it is that I want for you, I know one way or another you will go your own way. So even if I painfully remind you of what to do or what I believe is best for you, all I know is that you have to be independent and you will follow your bliss and your heart's desire. Just remember that however independent you may become, please don't forget that I will always be here for you whenever you need me. If you are happy or sad, your heart is broken or you're mad, got problems in school or at work, or just too consumed with worries about life and love… please come to me and share your burdens. I will try my best to give you comfort and remind you how wonderful and strong person you are. Whatever happens I will always be here for you.
Never forget that I love you, I always have and I always will.