My Dearest Nephew,⁣⁣
⁣⁣
The first week of your life is filled with so many stories that you and I can talk-story about for a lifetime. You are literally the poster boy of “It takes a village to raise a child”. As you come of age, you will hear a lot of stories about your mom and our family during a very intense time in our lives.  Sooner, you will want to start the narrative of your own life too. But let me tell you something no one ever told me, God will make you experience THE greatest story of your life. He will prepare you for it and your part is to live to tell the tale. ⁣⁣
⁣⁣
Our story, you and I, actually started before you were even born. After 4 days of being off-the-grid mountain biking, your mom called me while I was in Moab and told me she was having you. I was so excited for your sister and very happy for your mom and dad.⁣⁣
⁣⁣
Your sister on the other hand, did not have the same reception from me when I found out your mom was carrying her. I was a completely different person then, I got angry, I was worried, truth be told I was just really scared. The circumstances were different then, but in hindsight, there really is a reason for everything and trust me EVERYTHING. ⁣⁣
⁣⁣
Perhaps God gave me your Ate Andi so I would really know LOVE . A love that is all encompassing. The kind that makes you generous of your time, the kind that both apologizes and forgives and most of all, love that makes you work so hard so you can buy more toys.
⁣⁣
You on the other hand has taught me GRACE. I have always wondered what it truly means, and you will too. But like most profound feelings you will encounter or go searching for, it will be best understood in your own experiences. The great Lin Manuel Miranda once said “you’re always going to be rushing and waiting at the same time”. So It will come, don’t worry. ⁣⁣
⁣⁣
⁣⁣So far mine were, the day I was told I will be Mama Athens of 2, the day you were born, and the day we first saw you open your eyes. Which by the way was also the same time your mom was beginning to breathe on her own (we will discuss ventilators and extubation in some other time).⁣

Lyon, I happen to know a few things about eyes but it never occurred to me that your  barely week old beautiful eyes which could not even see color just yet, could bring so much hope at at time when the whole world was filled with immense uncertainty. ⁣

You opened your eyes and you made everything alright. You brought your mommy home. ⁣

Mah dude, you were like sunshine. ⁣

You will be called many names as you get older, (your sister by the way is the proponent of Mah Dude). But there is one name you will often hear from me that I want you to take by heart, “Nak”. It is from the Bisaya word “Anak” which means child. I might not have carried you in my womb for 36 weeks not even your Ate Andi, but God placed the two of you in my heart so I can call you both mine.⁣

I will be teaching you a lot of things some would even drive your mom crazy. We will bike, surf, snowboard, read and hangout with Ate Andi among a few things. But there is no teaching more valuable than the same ones your great-grandparents and grandparents taught and constantly reminded me. And that is to be kind especially to yourself, to be a good friend, to be generous, to respect your parents, to know God. These are values that would please your parents more than any success you could ever accomplish. ⁣

Do not worry Dong, it is not a one time thing, I myself keep on trying. We all do.⁣

Nak, remember this always; Even a fraction of your FAITH will always be greater than the sum of all your fears. Whatever you do, do it with the intention of being close to Him.⁣

I love you even before I even laid eyes on you.⁣

Mama Athens