If you were here, we would be celebrating your second birthday today. I doubt it would be anything fancy, but it would be a celebration nonetheless if you are around.
After 4 kids, no one would ever believe that you were an accident. (Thanks guys 😏) Or at least no one would believe that we didn't try to conceive you. You weren't a gift Mummy was praying for, but it quickly became ironic that you were the gift Mummy prayed very hard to God to not take away. You see, as much as I was not the most enthusiastic person to find out I was pregnant with you, I struggle with the sharp pain of giving you back to God.
It's been two years and while I don't remember much about the day I had you, I realised I don't remember much about you. I was feeling all anxious a few weeks back, because I was afraid that one day you will become a stranger to me. While you are my child, I actually don't know much about you. I don't know what you like or you don't. I don't know what dreams you have or even how you will look when you lose your baby fats. I don't know what your first word would be, what your fashion style is or how even your voice sounds. I realised my child, in many ways, I don't know you.
I recognise I had many dreams for you. I imagined that you would be a brilliant boy in school and even challenging your brothers academically. I thought you were going to be charming and all the ladies would be swoon by you. You would be like who you were named after, St Philip Neri, who would bring so much joy to the people you would meet. In fact, I always thought that you would be a priest (bishop even!), one who will be able to convince another just by looking at you. You would be such a wonderful gift, but all these my child would be what my plans and hopes for you. And because they are just my desires and plans of you... it really isn't you.
And yet despite not knowing much of you, my heart still aches and yearns for the next time we meet again. I'm sure with all the love and joy you have been getting from God in heaven, that you possibly may not be missing anything here. It's just that selfishly I wish you will not stop remembering who I am, my boy.
People often celebrate birthdays as a highlight of how much they have grown through the year. And as such, I wished my life was just like any other parent, celebrating the milestone of my child and spoiling him rotten with a special cake and presents. But this is not to be. And while you may not be physically with me today, it doesn't mean we would be sulking today. (I really doubt we will have any cake or blow any candles today though 😅)
My dear boy, your life, though short, is worth celebrating and remembering. Not just because we miss you but because we thank God for who you made us become during the short time we had together. Because of you, I have become more careful to reach out to those struggling in pain around me, to cheer them on and to support them when they needed a break. It's also because of you, I have become a better parent and catechist to your siblings in making sure that I don't lose any of them to the ways of the world. But more importantly, it is also because of you, that I was born again to believe that God really loves me. He may have seemed to have ignored me when He chose to bring you home, but truth was He has sent me many more angels to guard my heart so that I would not become cynical of the wonders of life and the excitement each day has for me.
I have come to realise that unlike other superficial wounds, He may never allow this wound to be fully healed. Not that He was being sadistic just so to cripple me and make me lean on Him, but more importantly to push me forward to know how much more I can do and how much more I need to better live life because of my love for you.
It's been two years my boy, and while it seems this year I started the day (again) in tears, I too look forward to today. Your siblings and us have decided that we will be fasting and abstaining today. Not because we are grieving, but it was with the intention to support and carry another with our prayers and thoughts as our gift to you. (Don't worry, we will reward them to a nice dinner... it's after all your birthday 😅)
Your siblings especially your brothers may need a little help from you to get through the day, judging from the discussion as to what they can eat in school 😅. And while they think chicken should go under the category of fish, I am seriously proud of them too for wanting to do this in honour of you. Can you see what a great priest you would be if Julian, your brother, is willing to forego food for you?
Happy birthday my dear boy. I know God must be very pleased (and busy answering the prayer intentions we will be offering) with you and your heavenly party would be well taken care of. Maybe if you want, you think you could ask God to draw us a picture of the rainbow in the sky so that we could also be part of your heavenly birthday celebrations too?
Have a wonderful time in heaven my dear boy.
I love you my dear, never stopped, never will.