Jan 3, 2023

A Letter to Ash because he turns 18 today & I'm getting all emo


Dear Ash,

We made it! Happy 18th birthday, son! While it may seem like an eternity for you, it went by in a flash for me. I think a word hasn't been invented yet that even begins to describe the rush of emotions flooding towards me right now. Joy, excitement, confusion, nolstagia, pride, fear, sad (just a little!)... the list goes on... all of these emotions bundled into one.

It’s crazy how much has changed since you were born. Back then, Facebook was not open to the general public, and there was definitely no WhatsApp, Instagram and TikTok. The Sony PSP was just launched and the Palm Treo 650 smartphone was still a thing. Heck, even YouTube was only launched 1.5 months after you were born!

So I guess that confirms it then - that you are not a baby anymore.

Which is why today is both a wonderful and miserable day for me.  I've found myself wavering between immense pride and joy at seeing you all grown up, getting a taste of working life, pursuing studies that you enjoy, making new friends and memories...and getting lost in a whirlpool of mixed feelings, being emo because my baby is all grown up.

Some days I do miss that tiny baby, the innocent child that you were. It seems as if one day I reached down to hug you and to hold your tiny had... and suddenly, you are nearly at my eye level. And in the place of my precious baby boy stood a grown man.

It is a wonderful feeling, exciting and humbling even. But at the same time, it is bittersweet for me.

If there were one moment that I can pinpoint exactly that I felt you are spreading your wings, it would be yesterday when you asked if you could go for a day trip to Johor Bahru with your friends. At that moment, reality really smashed right into my face. Travelling overseas and exposing you to the sights and sounds of other countries was what your mum and I love doing. But now, slowly but surely, you will be experiencing it with your friends too.

Don't get me wrong. I don't intend to keep you for myself.

In my eyes, you have grown into a thoughtful, respectful, responsible, and independent person. In fact, I was amazed at your thought processes and writing when you showed me your written assignment for one of your modules a few weeks back. You have truly grown up.

But letting go is tough... and necessary at the same time.

And I am still learning and discovering more about you all the time.

No matter what happens, you will always be my baby, my child, my son. So I want to take a moment to share some advice with you on this special day of your life:

  • Be confident, but stay humble and kind.
  • Life isn't about finding yourself, it's about creating yourself.
  • Be a voice not an echo.
  • The grass is only greener on the other side because it's fertilized with shit.
  • You were born an original.  Don't die a copy.

And finally, the most important one of all - Family is forever.

Yes, we can drive each other crazy at times but all of us will always be here for you. The door is always open, both literally and metaphorically. There will always a spot for you at our dinner table, in the bedroom, on the sofa, on the toilet seat or just a listening ear waiting for you at home.

So welcome to the ADULT WORLD, Ash. I can assure you that it isn't quite everything that it's hyped up to be. But it isn't quite that bad too, you know. Because it's what you make it. And I know you'll make it a beautiful one - similar to how you had made mine a beautiful one too.

This is it then. You get more control how you play this real-life role-playing game of yours from now on. But remember that no matter where this adventure might lead you, I will always be your dad, supporter, and friend.

Let's talk again when you turn 21. 😁

Until then, Happy 18 once again, Ash.

Always your #1 fan,


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