Years ago when friends would mention that they already had college graduates among their kids, I sort of felt that that was a long way to go for my husband and me. It felt like you had to be… you know… old to reach this stage.
Luckily, before I started feeling… you know… old, on March 23, 2012 our first born Martin graduated from Business Management with honors from our alma mater the Ateneo de Manila University.
It seems like it was only recently when my husband and I went preschool hunting for Martin. I was heavy with our second baby but that didn’t stop me from going around to observe and talk to the teachers and administrators of my preschool candidates. The eager mother that I was, I wanted to make sure that my son’s first taste of school would be “perfect.” I knew that his first day of school experience would set the tone for his school life. I wanted somewhere near our house and most importantly, a place that would nurture him and make him love school. I guess I was successful for Martin turned out to be a great student all these 19 years – 2 years in The Learner’s Circle, 13 years in Xavier School (2 in Early Education, 7 in Grade School, 4 in High School) and 4 years in Ateneo.
I can still vividly remember how happy and excited he was on June 15, 1993 his very first day of school. He woke up in a good mood, ate his breakfast, took a bath and put on his clothes. He carried his backpack and kissed his baby brother goodbye, “Bye Enrique, Kuya will go to school. I’ll see you later.” He was a picture of confidence – no crying, no pulling of mama’s skirt – that some of the parents thought he had been going to a playschool prior to that school year.
For his big school, he actually decided on Xavier School when he saw the colorful building of its Early Education wing which looked like a giant lego to him. He blended well with his Chinese Filipino classmates and Chinese was even his favorite subject in his early years at XS. He was always the Chinese dance leader of his class.
Martin is a gift to have as first born. He likes to excel and he motivates others to always give it their best shot. I was his tutor until Grade 2 and he was studying independently starting Grade 3. We had fun and arguments along the way doing his homework and mock tests. Those tutoring years were all worth it. He always brought home honors and awards every single quarter, no miss!
His love for school and excellent academic performance made it a lot easier for me to tutor his two younger brothers. Martin gave them a good example to follow. He loves sharing with them tips that he learns from experience. Despite his slightly domineering ways with his younger brothers at times, he sincerely cares for them and even encourages them to do better than him.
It’s amazing and a bit emotional for me to look back now at all those 19 years of my son’s school life. I’m very happy that I was involved from the very start and he continues to share his experiences with the whole family.
We’ve missed him for two months when he went to China in High School, and for four months when he went to France in college. We’ve seen how he has matured learning to live on his own cooking his meals and recording his detailed monthly expenses. We’ve gotten to know a lot of his friends who have come to the house for both parties and school work, sometimes staying up until the wee hours of the morning to finish a project. We’ve seen him go through all his triumphs and challenges, happiness and sadness.
Graduation is usually a time when children thank their parents for being their guide and support all these years. But on this occasion, I wish to thank our son Martin for all the wonderful 19 years of his school life.
Thank you for bringing out the “teacher” in me, I never knew I had the patience to tutor until I decided that I wanted to be involved in your academic life hands-on. Thank you for the thrills that you gave Papa and me every single quarter. Thank you for your great dance performances that always bring out the youth in us. Thank you for the proud moments I get during PTCs. Thank you for your thoughtfulness to Papa, your brothers and me. Thank you for giving us the chance to watch you in school competitions. Thank you for being a good role model to your brothers. Thank you for giving us “Reserved Seats” during all your graduation ceremonies. Thank you for sharing with us your life experiences.
We have learned a lot from you. You have brought us great pride and joy. You did well, son. We love you Martin!
(Image Attribution: Photos of school related activities of the author’s son put together to help deliver the message.
This article was published in RaisingPinoyBoys.com on March 25, 2011 after the graduation from college of our oldest son Martin.)