“Ingat ka po mama ha” (Take care mama) –This was the text message I received from my ten year old son on my way to the office today. I was so touched at the same time sad when I suddenly realized how grown up he is now. Gone are those days when his concern only goes as far as his toy cars, snacks and playmates. He now worries for his mother—a single mom struggling in the corporate world in the busiest city of the Philippines. I so longed to embrace him right then and there. I wanted to tell him “Leave the worrying to me. Your role is to be happy and carefree just like any other child”. But he is not like any other ordinary child. His parents are separated; he lives with his grandfather in the province, 12 hours away from his mother; before that, he lived with his grandmother who lost her battle to cancer…so NO, not the kind of life that a child deserves. A child should not suffer for his/her parent’s mistakes. There are gazillions of articles, research and studies about parenting and child rearing, none of which I found helpful. I have been treading the murky waters of single parenthood slash long distance mother-son relationship for a significant number of my son’s growing up years. I am not writing this post to justify why I have to work so far away from him otherwise I would just be explaining myself to people who might not understand the situation—those living an ideal life and made very wise decisions early in life. I am writing this post to express how proud I am of my son. I am proud that he is not evolving into some little rebel, for being so caring and thoughtful despite the not-so-ideal situation. I try to keep the tie that binds as tight as I possibly can. I was not guided by any book…I communicate with him as often as I can, teach him things as much as I can, hug and kiss him every opportunity I get. Most importantly, “I love you so much” is never awkward. I utter it to him with utmost sincerity and when he says it back, I feel him too. I am hoping that in X number of years, I would get to write another post telling everybody how we both surpassed the struggles together.