Dear Jana’s Mom,

I don’t know what to call you – after all, we only met once and that was when you were in the hospital and we brought you flowers and you told everyone that you got flowers from me even before your daughter did – and I am still at a loss, especially with Mr. Lopez who has been welcoming every time we cross paths.

I just want to let you know that you brought up Jana really well. She chooses her friends carefully, never hung out with the wrong crowd, has a really good job in a great company. And I can see your handiwork in the way she acts, like her taste in food, music (Thank goodness, I told myself one night, she listens to Natalie Cole!), and clothes. The way she figures out things and makes tough decisions, the patience with which she deals with things that do not work the first, second, third time.

But one thing that’s imprinted in your daughter’s fabric is that she always looks at the other side of things. She never judges people because of their past. Your daughter can be discriminating sometimes, but she always bounces back and looks for the good in everyone. Your daughter is right – if people want to know how giving you were, all they have to do is to look at her. I want to add to what she says: everything she is right now – the beautiful, smart, strong woman she has grown up to be – has your Assumption College handwriting all over it.

Of course, you should know that I love your Jana so much, and that all these things I just mentioned made me fall in love with her so much, that, in a year – give or take a day – I will be waiting in a church somewhere. In a year, I hope to see her walking down the aisle. I’m sure you and my Nanay would be laughing at us right now. Nanay never taught me about this whole wedding and engagement thing, and I’m pretty sure both of you are up there somewhere, like kumares that have met for just the first time, but felt like they’ve known each other for decades. How we wish you were there to teach us things, to help us get ready for that big leap. I would’ve very much wanted to see you there, too, along with my parents, but it’s all right. We know you’ll be there in spirit to guide us.

Hopefully, in a year, I would have earned the right to call you “Mom”, too. But for now, let me just pay my respects to someone who gave so much of herself and demanded so little of others.

Your future son-in-law,