Happy Anniversary, Freelo!!!

(A piece written on the occasion of the wedding anniversary of my son, Carlo, and his loving wife, Freedom.)

Dear Carlo and Freedom,

You looked so radiant when you walked down the aisle, Free. The tears of joy that rolled freely down your cheeks convinced me more than ever that you were indeed meant for Carlo. It was so heartwarming, seeing the two of you so passionate, so full of joy, so eager and so deliriously determined to start a new life together.

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As you walked forward solemnly, I remembered how it was when your mom and I took the same bold step some 30 – plus years ago. Like both of you, we didn’t know what was in store for us then. Like you, we didn’t care. And just like you, we were both simply intoxicated with the love we felt for each other. That was enough to keep us strong in our resolve to work for a beautiful future together. We didn’t have much to start with then, but life wasn’t as complicated as it is today either.

I recall the many sacrifices you have had to make for this relationship to work, Free. You gave up the comforts of the city and the opportunity to establish your dream career in the corporate world. You left behind the convenience of having a strong support base with your family. You defied the naysayers who tried to dissuade you from taking on this life-changing decision, dismissing long-established social norms in the process. You are a brave young woman, Free, and I so admire you for that.

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I remember your journey as well, Carlo. From the lovable boy who used to always place others’ welfare ahead of himself, you have grown to be a fine gentleman. You were the bold young boy who – at the tender age of 10 – astounded us all by scuba-diving in Balicasag without the benefit of any formal training! You were the daring teener who shocked the school by wearing a pink suit on your Senior Prom. You were the mellowed adult your classmates graciously called Kuya, for the brotherly advice you so abundantly afforded them. You are now an accomplished young man, proud and fiercely independent, yet still blessed with that meek generous soul inside.

‘Freelo’, you are now older and wiser in this new journey together. These first years together have been a pleasant surprise. You have stood strong, you have proved that you can be innovative and resilient, and you have assured us – in your own gentle way – that you could be trusted to stand on your own. You have proven to us all that the love you have for each other is not just a simple whim.

These past years are just the beginning of your lifetime together. Along the way, you will encounter many more challenges that will test the strength of your love for one another. You will disagree with each other. You will stumble, you will make mistakes, you will fight, and most certainly, you will get mad. Do not fret about it, it happens to everybody. Just learn from it and do not make a habit out of it.

It has been a while since you took that bold step together. And I know – now more than ever – that you will be good for each other. Continue to learn from each other. Continue to support one another. Continue to grow in love. Your mom and I will be cheering for you from a distance, but rest assured we are just a call away.

Happy anniversary, Freeloves!!!

With our undying love and support,

Pa and Ma

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