Today, you turn 12. Frankly, that is quite hard to believe.
Because as adults will tell you, time goes by so so so fast. And it is true. Just last month, you were wailing away in your stroller, yesterday you just started Primary One and next week, you will be turning 13.
What sorcery is this?
And you know what? The older you get, the faster it goes.
You are no longer a little boy. The baby chubby cheeks are gone, you choose your own clothes to wear, and you snuggle on my shoulder only once in a while. Long gone are the days when you fell asleep in the car and I would carry you back to the house. My back will break if I do that now!
Today you are a young man. A young man who is one year away from being a full-fledged teenager (gulp). But you are also one who helps out in the house, look after your younger siblings, mediate disputes for them, assist in their school work homework, and you show concern for your grandparents.
You do all of that without complaining (most of the time) and even without being reminded (most of the time).
And I know I do not tell you often enough, but I truly appreciate your maturity and love you so much. You were the one who first made me a Dad and I will always be grateful for that.
But turning 12 is also a time filled with changes. Soon, you will enter the gates of adolescence to spend the next 7 years in the darkest ages of human development - being a teenager.
One day you will be asking me something. I will open my mouth to respond but all you will hear is gibberish - or just the word 'NO!'. You will not be able to understand what I am saying, because it will all sound like nonsensical yelling to you.
You will find that the Dad that you have known for the past few years will seem to have lost all his common sense and knowledge. I will morph into this ignorant fool of everything in the entire world: fashion, music, hair styles, movies, activities, and all other things.
You will be wearing an outfit to head out, and I will make you go back to your room and change. You will spend loads of time styling your hair, and I will want you to go back to your side-parting. You will be listening to the songs that you love, and I will remark that the music sounds like rubbish. You will going out with your friends, and I will demand to know who they are, where you are going, what you will be doing and what time you will return.
You will shake your head in frustration as you yell, "You don't know anything, Dad!!!" You will then slam the door behind you, thinking what an insane person you have for a Dad.
But no matter what issues we may face as a teenager/parent, know that I can never be more proud of you. Know that there will be times when you deem us unreasonable. but also understand that any decision me and Mum will make will be based on our love for you. Yes, we will listen and yes, we might not understand but remember that our responsibility is to love and protect you, even if you don’t like it.
I can’t promise I’ll never yell at you - just like how I know you are not able to make the same promise too. And I can’t say that there won’t be times where you will hate me for what it seems I’m doing to you.
But I can promise this - I will forgive you always. I promise I will love you always. I promise I will be here for you always.
Because anytime you feel lost, home is where I and Mum will be waiting for you.
Happy 12th Birthday, son!