Dream Big My Little Ones: To my son and daughter.

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To my son,

Just the thought of putting down words that you will someday read brings tears to my eyes. There is so much I want to say and so much I want to share with you…

Let’s start with telling you that I have always wanted to have a little prince. When I found out that you were no longer a figment of my imagination and you were really coming, I was over the moon. To think in nine short months I would get to meet you. I have to tell you… my journey is different than most, but that is okay because that’s what gets us to today. And every single day is such a beautiful day.

Sweetie, you and your spirit inspired me to make some important decisions and quickly. I decided that I can continue to be sad and feel bad for you or I could make the right choice and give you the best life that I know how and teach you that your differences are not weaknesses but strengths. And that may not make a lot of sense. Well, I have a secret to tell you. Before you were even born I realized something very special about you. Something that I struggled day after day to find the perfect word to explain…

You, my dear, are extraordinary. When our family, friends, communities and even strangers found out about you… they were moved. You wiggled your way into their hearts and were determined to never leave. You reminded them about what is important in life. You made them believers in triumph and how obstacles can be overcome. You showed them the importance of “compassionate love” and you encouraged them to reach out to us. You strengthened their faith and reminded them how God takes care of us all no matter what. You showed us how much we can rely on others and how much people care. You made us believe in each other and most importantly… in you.

You see, you have already touched so many lives… and all before your first breath of air. God has such big plans for you and your life.  Never forget that. You were put here on Earth for a very divine purpose, you started fulfilling that purpose before you could have ever known.  Just as your baby sister & I feel we have an obligation to share your story with the world and teach people about accepting and celebrating differences, we feel you have an obligation to touch peoples’ lives too. And the amazing thing is… all you have to do is be yourself and give a little smile.

We are not going to tell you that your journey is going to be easy.  There are going to be times when you will wish you were like everyone else.  You may be sad and you may wonder why this was your fate.  Just know that it is okay to have those feelings.  We will always be here for you with a handful of those surrounding us ready to love and support you in whatever you may need.  Nothing in life worth living for was ever easy.  And how do you become the person you want to become without opportunities to be challenged along the way?  Embrace these challenges and know you will be better for it.  Not to spoil the ending… but your journey is unfolding exactly as it should be and everything is going to be okay.  Better than okay.

And just remember, your sister and I, family, friends and the Lord God above loves you deeply just the way you are.  And we want you to love you just the way you are too.  Be of good courage and He will strengthen your heart (Psalms 31:24).  All that matters is what is in your heart.  Fill your heart with joy and it will spill over onto everyone else.  Know that you are so blessed and God has given you so many talents.  It is up to you to unlock the doors to those talents and let them come out to play.  You are capable of wonderful things.  Yes you are… we have already witnessed it.

And what you do in this world is up to you.

“If you can imagine it, you can achieve it; if you can dream it, you can become it.”
~ William Arthur Ward

So as you go through life, hold your head up high and feel confident in knowing just how extraordinary you are.  For before you were even born you were so loved by so many.  Never before was there ever a YOU in this world. YOU are the one everyone is excited to meet.  You were called a miracle, inspiration, prince and a blessing by so many people before you ever opened your eyes.  You will always be a symbol of hope, of love and of life.  But to me & your sister, you will always be… our hero.  And love you we will… always and forever… to infinity and beyond.

XOXO, Nanay

To my daughter,

From the moment I knew you were going to be the baby princess, my heart rejoiced for you.  What an honor in life to get to grow up with with the title of “little sis.”  With this title comes lots of happy things: lots of freebies, fun and the occasional squabble.  (Occasional is me being optimistic here.)  Well let me tell you… the key to being a good little sister is that word love. All little sisters are responsible for teaching, helping and loving their big brothers.  And I have no doubt in my mind that you will embrace these tasks wholeheartedly.

But, ‘Gel… there is something else you should know.  Your brother isn’t like other big brothers.  He is fragile, and he needs a lot more care and attention than you and he will always be that way.  When you were still young, you didn’t even notice.  But there will come a time in your life when you will understand that your big brother is different.   What I want you to know is that different doesn’t mean anything other than that.  In our house, different will always be said with a smile.  Different will always define who we are and we will take on that word with pride.  Different will never mean wrong or bad.  Different is beautiful.

And as your big brother’s little sister, that word love and responsibility will take on more meaning.  You see, he will be loved by you and he will look up to you.  You will be such an influence in his life now and always.  Know that if you show him respect, so will others.  You are such a natural-born leader, I know that you will have no problems in leading the charge.  But this is your journey too.  And I know that some days are going to be harder than others.  But I promise to always be here for you.  And so will be your family, relatives, friends, and so many others.

Over the course of your seven years here on Earth, you have surprised many people… especially me.  There have been many wonderful words people have used to describe you, but the one I hear on a daily basis is: smart.  And just as it is every parents’ duty to discover their child’s talents… we feel we already know yours.  ‘Gel, your ability to remember and learn and teach are talents that God has blessed you with.  Don’t think this happened by accident.  You should know that God doesn’t work that way.  He gave you these talents for a reason and He will reveal His purpose for you.

I want to educate everyone one day at a time about what it is that makes your brother different and how we can all learn something from that.  We hope you allow your experiences to light your way… sharing your story and moving others’ to be better.  You were given a gift, just like your brother, to have the ability to change the world.

More than anything… your big brother & I feel so blessed to have you as our baby princess.  You have taught us what it means to love even when your heart feels like it couldn’t possibly hold any more love, it expands in a way to make room for more.  Your smile melts our worries away and your laugh makes us wonder if there is anything in life that sounds sweeter.  Thank you for being a light in our lives and we look forward to watching you shine on and on as you wish upon your star.  We love you so much!

XOXO, Nanay

❤ ❤ ❤

P.S. Here’s a song I used to listen to when you were still little babies. It gave me strength and encouragement to go on with life amidst all the strugles and challenges. I will catch a unicorn for you if I could. You’re my bubbly little man and beautiful lady, I hope you will never change. Life has so much to offer you, I know. I love you both more than anything else in this world. You make my life this complete. You are both my life’s greatest pleasures all rolled up into one.

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How The World Saved Me : A Blessing in Disguise

I may be 3 inches smaller than yesterday. There are tiny crevices everywhere that keep sprouting out of nowhere and I find different kinds in everyday, some smaller than the first. I slip and find a wonderland, a time warp of amazing things. This is life — you get used to the daily grind and then you snap back. Something happens and you’re back to seeing things in a new perspective. Suddenly, all is new.

It was probably a year into work when I rediscovered momentum. In college I was confined to studying. My adventure bones were locked in a safe I didn’t have the passcode to. And then one day, I found it in gleaming fairy lights: LIFE is the password.

To live is the rarest thing in the world. Most people exist, that is all. – Oscar Wilde

Once I got the drive to really live it up, I had a newfound sense of belief and passion. I dwelt in infinite possibilities because I saw the world and realized that because we are this and this is now, nothing is impossible.

I lacked color so I went outside. The sun felt prickly on my skin but all the shades of blue I didn’t know were everywhere and the discovery was endless. So then and there I decided that I will never stay under the shade for too long. I will let the world color me, outside the outlines of my skin. I will always go, always do, because I learned it long and hard: one of the worst things you can do is not do. Don’t ever stop trying.

Now I’ve become the kind of person who lives to try, because as far as cliches go, there’s nothing to lose. And if ever there is, remember this: there’s also something to gain.

Opening up to the world was my rebirth. It allowed me to see beauty, honesty, and the good in the most unexpected places. I started dreaming dreams so big they could swallow me whole. These big dreams make you nervous and their vastness looms over you but that only means you’re in the right direction.

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Sometimes I can’t help it. I get scared. Fear is not a choice, but what you do with it is. I traded fear for experience. The world taught me how to take fear by the hand, always believing in the great landing that comes after the big leap. I have been leaping for a couple of years now, and it has stretched me well beyond reason.

I have learned that some of the greatest experiences live in fear, so sometimes you have to knock on its door and face it, snatch your experience from it and be done with it. It’s a different kind of fulfillment that turns your life around.Image

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The places I’ve been and the people I met along the way peeled my fears away. Sometimes all you have to do is speak, share, or ask. The world opened me to possibilities so I learned not to discount anything. It taught me to speak transcendently, to move through maps, to be patient amidst unbearable circumstances, to appreciate daily wonders such as sunsets, to trust the kindness of strangers, and to have the conviction of never losing hope.

I believe in longshots, in one in a billion probabilities. It will always be too early to strike anything off when it comes to things you can do. There’s always that gamechanger, that trailblazer, and it could be you.

There is so much self discovery in the world, so much to take in. It makes my head spin, a natural vertigo. I have never felt more lost but I have also never felt more sure of who I am.

So fell down the rabbit hole of seeing beyond buildings or oceans or people. I want to know the stories that make them up and explore the immensity of it all.

The unknown used to bother me, but I realized that everything I have loved took root from it. Now I live by this: “When nothing is sure, Everything is possible — Margaret Drabble.”

The world saved me because it showed me in so many ways that if this kind of wonder is possible then what isn’t? Because there is so much I want to know, see, do, I fell in love with movement. With going. With never standing still. With not getting too comfortable.

My story has just begun, my adventure just starting. I’m ready to shake it up and discover all the colors of life that have yet to be named.