Kea welcomed her 18th birth anniversary while we are still quarantined, in Enhanced Community Quarantine to be exact. It is totally different from what we have planned and how she really wanted to celebrate, but okay. What’s important is we are together (at home) celebrating her life. There is beauty in simplicity – that is somehow how we are as family.
This year has laid a lot of different things for our family, for humanity, in fact. Who would have thought that the year 2020 we were all excited about turns out to be the most challenging one. Who would have thought that the plans and hopes we all had during the new year celebration had to be either set aside, re-arranged, moved, refunded and for some who got sick and quarantined, completely cancelled.
But, however we are coping with this pandemic, we still have so many reasons to be grateful and celebrate life. Kea has been expecting a joyous graduation last April, which did not push through, of course. And then, she had plans to celebrate her debut with friends and relatives too, which she had to give up. We opted for a simple celebration at home instead.
We raised our kids in ways we find simple but meaningful. We went through a lot of struggles, and I can not deny that they must have hurt, they were confused, especially Kea. There was that part of her life she must have felt left out – losing Mama and going through family issues when you’re the eldest child isn’t easy. There were times she is at her most fragile. Her entrance application for the university she dreams of was declined by the university she goes to – that really broke her heart. She somehow felt denied of her goal.
You see, this girl may be a softie, she may be petite and sweet, and too caring, but get to know the other side of her – be surprised by a hidden giant. She isn’t that much aware of her own strength yet, because she herself gets surprised how she gets through and past challenges. As her mom, I know within her is half a baby, and half a strict mama. This girl is my bestie. My first love-at-first-sight. And I am proud of her.
During her birthday, we prepared decors in secret – well, half secret because the decors arrived as a parcel and she was the only one available to receive it. Roey and I were still able to pull it off though. We were able to prepare her favorites, carbonara, chicken nuggets, french fries, and her cake of course. She actually had 2 cakes, the first one was a minimalist Korean-inspired cake I ordered from Tummy Yummy Cupcake Shop. The Black Forest cake was a gift from a good friend currently in Japan. She also wanted to have samgyupsal, which we enjoyed the next day.
Deliveries came in as well. She was all smiles to have received a bouquet of flowers, cash and gifts from her Godparents. Our relatives and friends also sent their wishes and prayers for her thru text and video clips – these I compiled and showed to the celebrator. Our birthday gift though has not arrived yet. It is still in South Korea, literally! I ordered an Army Bomb for my lovely debutante and it is expected to arrive by end of August.
Our debutante was extra lovely and happy. We may not be able to celebrate her 18th birthday the way we wanted it, without her closest friends and classmates, but it was still special. It was different, and simple, yet very special. There is indeed beauty and joy in simplicity. This I guess, is one important lesson this pandemic is teaching us. And I am but a parent who wants her kids to learn this life lesson too. There is a lot to learn even when we are quarantined. We are blessed to have Kea as a daughter, Roey too.
I hope and pray that you keep in mind and in your heart how we truly love you. Please be reminded of all our advices and don’t be too harsh on yourself. You are talented, you are blessed, you are loved. Keep creating your beautiful art, not to please people but to please the Lord. The more you use the talent He gave you, the more you will get better with it. Momi Lalalabs you! Happy quarantined 18th birthday our dearest Kea!