An Open Letter to My Quarantined Son

Dear Timmy,

It’s Day 28 of our Enhanced Community Quarantine. For you, it’s 28 days of staying indoors unable to see your grandparents and friends. For me, it’s four weeks of grappling with uncertainty. Just when we thought things will go back to normal, our government deeemed it best to extend our lockdown up to April 30.

Outside, things look dreary. Busy cities have become ghost towns. There are checkpoints everywhere. Inside, people try go about their day as normal as they possibly can. Online, it’s toxic. You need heavy filters to get through it without going insane.

But when I look at you, I see hope. An unwavering one at that.

Every day you would pray for COVID-19 to end. You never get tired of asking God to protect us, heal the ones who are sick, and stop the virus from spreading. You pray for this even before meals aside from our usual bedtime prayers. And yes, you are the only nine-year-old I know who pray for NBA players to get better and for the NBA season to resume. Too cute!

When I look at you, I see innocence. It’s all black and white to you, my son.

No more COVID-19 means things will be back to normal. Plain and simple. Mall time with grandma and grandpa will be back, homeschool playdates will resume, our nature walks will continue, and more.

I am happy that you don’t have to deal with the gray areas yet like rebuilding livelihood, grappling with grief, and restoring relationships that are either broken during quarantine or needs healing after.

For you, this pandemic is like a switch. It’s simply turned on today but it will be turned off tomorrow.

I pray that I can preserve that innocence for as long as I can. I hope that you will transition into adulthood as painless as possible because the world is already cruel as it is. But the truth is, I can’t. Your dad and I can’t shield you forever.

So much so that I keep you updated on news about the pandemic. It is an ongoing discussion in our house.

We check the numbers together every day. We rejoice when the they are lower and we share our sadness when they are higher. Slowly, I am seeing you feel the gravity of the situation.

I have seen you teary-eyed asking, “Why is it not getting better?” And I will hug you tight and tell you a myriad of reasons—there is no cure yet, scientists are still working on a vaccine, our hospitals are having a hard time, and so on.

Then, your questions have become more difficult to answer. The when’s and the why’s are the ones that need longer explanations.

Saying, “I don’t know” has never been heavier to deliver. We encourage you to trust God, His will, and His time, but I also know that this has been challenging on your growing faith, too.

Still, your countless prayers show that your pure soul is not to be deterred. I have heard different variations of pleading from you, a child who just wants healing for everybody. With one heart we pray, asking God for mercy and rescue.

When I look at you, I see faith. You don’t use big words when you pray, just a lot of “please.”

A begging faith that is captured by “please, please, please.” Isn’t that all we’re asking for? Please relent, Lord. Please have mercy. Please make it stop. Please make it go away. In the Filipino language that is “parang awa Niyo na.”

You never get tired of saying, “please, Lord, please please please.” It breaks my heart but it also builds my faith. I know that God hears our prayers, particularly yours, my son. The wait may be long but the answer is coming. Trust Him.

The important thing right now is we don’t give up. We continue praying and helping in whatever way we can. We press on. We make the most of our days.

For mommy and daddy, that means continuing to work from home and taking care of you, grandpa, and our two dogs. For you, it means continuing with homeschool, helping with chores, writing your stories, and playing.

We continue to help others either by donating, uplifting other people’s spirits, keeping in touch with our loved ones, inspiring other kids, and being virtually available despite our limited connectivity. And I mean that literally and figuratively.

Literally because we have no internet cable. Our line transfer was caught in the middle of the lockdown. We are living and working on mobile data for weeks now.

But you know what? Even that has been a blessing in disguise! With no streaming options at our disposal, we are able to do more things together like make your favorite milk-powdered candy dessert (multiple times), create more art, and write more stories! This inconvenience has opened up a lot of time for us.

To find silver linings during this time is rare. These are just some of the many. If we only look closer, if we move a little bit slower, we will see them.

I hear them in your laughter. I feel them in your tight hugs and squeaky kisses. I see them in the clumsy but endearing things that you do. I experience them with the songs we sing together and the spontaneous jokes (#Timmyisms) that make us laugh until our sides ache.

Moreover, when I look at you, I see peace. When you quietly read, draw maps on your whiteboard, intensely write stories with eyebrows furrowed, and silently stare at the window wondering when you can go out again.

I can see peace in the way you are whisked away by your imagination as you play basketball games indoors with full basketball commentary (“Oh, what a block by James!”), putting yourself in your favorite player’s shoes.

There is calmness in your routine, and I like observing them and taking them all in. It gives me a sense of stability that things are still normal, in my child’s little world at least.

The sun rose today, my son. You are sleeping peacefully beside me. Things are slowly brightening up just counting my blessings. Perspective changes a lot of things, Timmy.

When we focus on the good, we increase our appreciation. When we focus on the bad, we increase our frustration. Finding the healthy balance between the two takes years of learning. I know you will get there. All things take time.

Take heart, my son. This will be over soon. Despite your joyful disposition, I know it has been tough on you as well.

While staying at home isn’t much of an adjustment for you since you are homeschooled and we really do work from home, you are slowly feeling the frustration of not being able to go out. I can see that you feel the weight that it has been taken away from you.

Here’s the thing, son. Some things that are taken away can also be given back. The privilege and luxury of going out will soon be back, and you will appreciate it more than ever.

A trip to the grocery won’t be an errand anymore. It will be a welcome field trip. A playdate will become a celebration of friendship and not just an ordinary get-together. A visit to grandma will be a grand reunion and not just a mere drop by.

Things will be a lot different after this. Hopefully, for the better. Let me rephrase that. Definitely, for the better. I am choosing to be hopeful, son. I am choosing to have a better perspective. We all need that today.

We need hope to get us through another day, faith to endure when things are not going our way, and love to bind all these things together.

When we get out of this, do not lose the faith you have built. Use it to be a light in this world. Live to inspire.

We are only given a specific number of days. Some more than others. Make the most out of it. This pandemic has shown us how short and uncertain life can be.

Nothing is guaranteed. We are literally one breath and one touch away from being separated from the ones we love.

This is why I am so grateful to wake up beside you and daddy today. I do not take this moment for granted. This could either be the last or still one of the many we will share. I don’t know which one. All I know is I will cherish it and be grateful for it.

I will store it in every memory box in my heart and in my mind. I am putting them into words now so that when you read them someday, you will be reminded of how you survived through all this—with hope, faith, peace, joy, and strength.

I love you, son. Always will. Get ready for some quarantine cuddles and kisses later. I will shower you with extra ones today for good measure. And probably more tomorrow. And maybe more the next day. While I still have the privilege to do so.

Keep the faith, Timmy. Hold on to it. It will get you through the darkest days and it will keep you grounded in the brightest ones.

Know that I will always be here for you as long as I can. Meanwhile, I will snuggle back in. Hug you tight. Pray while you’re sleeping.

I will be here when you wake up with a brave smile on my face to assure you that today will be better than yesterday and tomorrow will be better than today.

Love you forever,


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