Dear Ganda & Bunso :
I don’t know why I waited till Valentine’s Day to tell you all these. Every parent should tell the sum total of their experiences in love to their children, not just so they’ll be spared the embarrassment of repeating the same mistakes, but also that the folks will be spared the awkwardness of not knowing what to say or do when an oh-so-wrong BF / GF is introduced by their kids to them. In short, this is for me as much as it is for you, tongue-in-cheek.
Ninety percent of the things I will tell you here, I learned as the direct result of my experiences with love, infatuation or any other intense attraction for anyone other than myself. Did I say ninety percent? I meant three-quarters. (Last chance, Papa.) OK, at least half of these golden nuggets of advice I learned from my own quests for love :
If you have a crush and change it monthly, weekly or even daily, don’t fret. That’s why they’re called crushes. You’re meant to be crushed because of an infatuation that runs its natural course. You will always, always survive.
Nine times out of ten when a guy says to you I love you he’s just fishing. He’ll probably be more surprised than you if you respond anywhere approaching positively. (Obviously that was for Ganda). For Bunso, it doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t try. The person you say I love you to might be the one in ten who’ll respond positively. Woo-hoo!
Not all the pretty girls get the best guys, and even the nerdiest geeks can and will get the pretty girl. Oftentimes being lucky in love means being in the right place, being persistent enough, excellent timing, and choosing your battles. Ganda, you will know in your heart if the guy means what he says, and Bunso, you will know in your heart if the girl you’re eyeing is really for you. But you have to try, and you have to keep trying.
There is no shame in giving love a shot, finding out he/she isn’t the right fit, and trying all over again. Better to have loved and lost than never to have loved at all. Extending that: better to take it one day at a time than believing that you’ll fall head over heels in love. That kind of love is a bit risky, and you can end up biting off more than you can chew.
They’re a bit rarer these days, but take time to pick out the gentlemen over everybody else, they’re the ones raised well by their folks, and more often than not will do the right thing over the popular thing. If old-fashioned means being modest and soft-spoken, polite and respectful to elders, then an old-fashioned girl beats cool and outspoken any day in my book, Bunso.
Don’t be guilty to be physically attracted to potential boyfriends / girlfriends who’re good-looking and gorgeous, because that’s the preliminary consideration you need before determining qualities that lie within. Let’s face it, you have at the outset no other features to assess before selecting from candidates that you’ll share the time of day with. So literally, you have to take him/her at “face value.”
There may or may not be love at first sight, often it is really an intense attraction that needs to be tested by time. However, one of the greater delusions is believing in the existence of one true love. Not only does genuine love between committed partners take a lifetime to develop, it needs constant work and renewal to outlast all obstacles.
Love is the one thing on this earth that cannot be bought, yet at the same time gives you both the greatest joy and profoundest sorrow. So it makes sense that it will take a lot out of you, more than anything that you have prepared for. The irony is that Love is also something you cannot prepare yourself for, because by being yourself, you are ready as you’ll ever be. By removing all your preconceived notions, by not taking yourself too seriously, and above all, by being interested in persons as persons (and not as polished shells of themselves) you’ll be, as Hillary Clinton says, ready from day one.
Like I started this earlier : Even before that someday comes, you’re very welcome.
I miss you both terribly, kaawaan kayo lagi ng Diyos.
And oh, happy Valentine’s Day!
Love you very much, Papa
PS. Kuya already has more girlfriends than I ever had, if you’re asking why I’m not writing this to him as well. Don’t worry about him. 🙂