Congratulations on your safe arrival. We have all been eagerly anticipating this day to arrive. Your mum and I made the decision to enter parenthood despite not knowing how well we will be at it. We will inevitably fumble and struggle as we find ourselves having to grasp the new-found responsibilities thrown at us. To help us become better at parenting, we decided to make 10 promises that will serve as a moral compass throughout this new journey.
- You will be loved. Mum and I believe that you are born to parents who will love and cherish your existence in this world. This love will be unconditionally gifted to you as we wish you a life of love and joy.
- Growing up, you will be given lots of fruits and vegetables in your diet. Don’t worry, Mum and Dad walk the talk on this. Contrary to beliefs, we will show you how delicious these foods can be. Mum cannot wait to use her Blendtec machine to make you the most nutritious meals once you are able to start on solids.
- Nutritious meals aside, you will have a magical childhood gradually discovering what this world has to offer. You will grow up in an environment where you will be given every opportunity to pursue your passions. This is something that Dad never had growing up. Ironically, this makes him the best person to understand how valuable such an opportunity would be. To discover the passions in your life, you will be exposed to all sorts of activities. They will not necessarily be piano, swimming or creative writing. We will also let you try activities such as cooking, jujitsu, chess etc. Our guiding principle is that you will never have to attend an activity if you are not interested in it.
- We promise to be there throughout your major life milestones (at least one of us would). Look, this was Mum in a Chinese story-telling competition.
Your grandparents were there to capture this beautiful moment as Mum stepped out of her comfort zone to try new things. Likewise, we will be there to provide the assurance that you need during your first recital, your first dance performance etc. Your grandparents’ emotional support was critical as your Mum placed LAST in that competition (yes, despite Mum swaying her hands wildly), which brings me to my next point.
- You will make lots of mistakes in your life, just like Mum and Dad did and still do in their lives. Sometimes, we may even set you up for little failures. We will cuddle you when you feel scared, hold your hand so that you don’t trip again. Ultimately, the message we want to deliver is that making mistakes are absolutely OK. Whenever Dad makes a mistake in his life, he eventually grew to become wiser from the experience. In the most forgiving and nurturing environment possible, we will teach you what is right and what is wrong. We will inculcate basic proper values in you so that a better version of you can be presented to society.
- Even if we show you clear demarcations of black and white, you will realise that things will never be so simple in life. You will have curiosities about the world; and they will get deeper and more complex as you grow up. Even if both of us have a tired day at work, we promise to answer all the questions that you may have. We will constantly remind ourselves that your curiosity is a blessing and we will never find them silly in any way.
- Sometimes, we may find it necessary to bring you to certain places around the world to further develop your curiosities. Singapore itself is a small country and the world will only get smaller each day. We know that your future classmate could be from a different culture. Your future colleague could be of another nationality. Heck, even your future partner could be from another race, religion, culture and nationality altogether. Being exposed to other races and cultures early on will provide you with a lot of mileage later in your life. It is a privilege that Mum and Dad did not have during our childhood but we recognize the importance of it.
- With all these experiences under your belt, we promise that you will grow up to discover your true self. That is why we named you Olympia. You will have your own voice, your own personality and ultimately- lead your own life. Just like how your mum is an amazing teacher and counsellor who improves the lives of those that she meets. Just like how your Dad is a zombie killer who saves the world from several pandemics.
Fine, that actually only happens when Dad watches The Walking Dead and imagines himself to be Rick. The promise is that we believe that you will find your own path eventually. We have given you a Chinese name of Liew Yan (刘晏)- it is simple to remember and a belief of ours that a one-word Chinese name is a small headstart in your life (I know this sounds silly, but hopefully we will be proven right in the long run). Don’t worry, it is our role to provide you with the right ingredients to flourish in your own terms. Most importantly, we will never coerce you to live our dreams.
- We know the huge influence that we will have in your life. Therefore, we promise to be good role models for you. Mum already have a head start as she is a caring individual whom you can look up to. Did you know that Mum even gave up her seat on the MRT to an elderly when she was in the last leg of her pregnancy? According to Mum, Dad definitely has room to improve. Covering his mouth when yawning is one immediate aspect to work on. The ugly truth is that we won’t always get it right but we can only promise to do our best.
- As you embark on this little adventure of yours, Mum and Dad will inevitably lose direction and stray from these ideals along the way. Therefore, it is your prerogative to dig out this letter and remind us of the promises that we as parents have made to you.
By the way, every time I set my eyes on you, I still couldn’t believe that we have made you.