This year is all about power struggle, recognizing more feelings, and breaking cycles.

I remember the first overnight at our new home — it was the eve of your 6th birthday. We surprised you with balloons, banners, books, and a staycation at Hotel Kimberly. I remember us feeling happy because our home is close to the beautiful places in Silang and Tagaytay.

I remember you asking for a sister because you want a playmate. I remember explaining to you the reasons why we cannot have one now or possibly never. I remember talking to you like an adult and telling you this and that — and you realizing that you just wanted a playmate now and it won’t hurt if we cannot give you a sibling now or in the future.

I remember tagging you along to every house visit during renovation and how you will just sit in one corner waiting for us to finish. I remember you shyly saying hello to our workers. I remember us getting excited as days went by.

I remember you entering grade one and the big school as if you’re not new to Don Bosco. You were at home right away even though you started online for the first few months. I remember you having your first friend in grade one — Celina.

I remember you finally going face to face. We were so happy dropping you off in school and I remember how big your smile was. You did very well in first grade and in big school. You loved your classmates and your teacher. You excelled in your academics. But what I loved the most is you are not shy anymore to say hello to ates and kuyas, security guards, cashier, restaurant staff, and more.

I remember you being invited to many birthday parties and how you enjoyed each time. I remember asking you if you want a big party for your 7th birthday and all you said was “mommy I am okay with pretty pink dress, balloons, cheesecake, Jollibee, and a fun place.” You are so pure and simple and my heart is beaming with joy.

I remember us finally moving in to our new home. It was our blood, sweat, and tears and I won’t forget how happy it made us feel. What a milestone for our little family. I remember you approaching the neighborhood kids and since then you’ve been playing every afternoon.

I remember you learning to help me more and more with the house chores; the smile on your face whenever you accomplish something or whenever you help me at home. I remember you choosing your own house clothes.

I remember us going to different camping trips, long drive trips to the south and north — and how it made us happy to be with friends and experience new things.

I remember you being proud of me because I learned how to drive. I remember you witnessing how patient your daddy was. I remember all the school drop offs and pick-ups.

I remember getting a new work and how it made me so happy. I remember you feeling anxious whenever I receive a job invite and it’s onsite. You never allowed me to go to the office so you were the happiest when I landed a permanent WFH job!

I remember you still reading bed time stories with your daddy; praying together before sleeping. I remember you being happy because you know God listens. I remember whenever you pray that I won’t get too tired or that I won’t be too stressed.

I remember showing you all my feelings, good or bad. How I react will affect how you will be when you get older but I do my best to manage my emotions and explain to you why. We would always hug after each and every fight.

I remember you witnessing a major fight between your daddy and I. I know we talked to you already and you understood. I felt bad that you saw it but I loved when you said “it’s normal mommy, that you have a fight with daddy because you love each other and I like that you don’t fight often, I only remember once”

I remember you telling me “I love what you and daddy have, he always makes you laugh.” I also remember you telling me “mommy, sometimes, I want to be a child forever so I won’t be stressed like you” haha.

I remember you opening up to me that you feel bad and mad whenever I yell at you. You have always been comfortable in calling me out and you always make sure you are heard and understood. Anak, we never had that childhood — and even though we love our own parents, it’s our duty to make sure you are always heard and that you have the right and chance to speak up and call us out.

And this year is all about power struggle. At times I go crazy because I know I have to manage my own triggers — and I know I take it out on you instead of being calm. I am sorry that mommy always yells and thank you for still saying I am the best even though I know I am not.

I love you anak and my prayer is for God to always guide us to be the parents you deserve and that we won’t add a scar to your heart whenever we fight. It’s tough breaking the cycle but always remember, Daddy and I always try.

Happiest 7th birthday our Dareen Monica. We love you more than you can ever imagine.

PS: I clearly remember how you became sooooo excited about Harry Potter — and how you and daddy talked about it while I sit in one corner, clueless ahahahaha :))

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Din Bautista

Hello! Welcoming you to my life through words and photos. My name is Din Real Bautista. I am proud full-time Homemaker. Most of the time, I am busy raising a kind-hearted and strong human being named Monica together with the most amazing husband, Beejay. The rest of my time, I am making sure my life is better outside social media.

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