June Holidays Giveaway!

Yay! Giveaway time!

Has the holiday fever hit you yet?

Well Little Foot’s mummy is also restless at home wishing for some sun, sand and sea time fun! Remember to protect yourselves from the sun when you are out to play!

Mummy Joyc decided to share some love from her Ju-ju-be collection this June, and will be giving away one Ju-Ju-be Iconic 2.0 Be Shady to one lucky reader of A Little Footprint.

How to take part

Simply complete the following steps:

  1. Like A Little Footprint Facebook page.
  2. Like and share the Facebook post of our Giveaway (make sure you make it a “public” post!)
  3. Comment “I need a Shady for my Shades!” and tag at least 5 friends in the post.

Terms & conditions:

  • Contest is open to participants residing in Singapore only.
  • ONE comment per participant, duplicate entries will be disqualified.
  • The giveaway runs from now till 8 June 2018, 2359hrs.
  • Winner will be announced on A Little Footprint pages and will be contacted via Facebook message. The winner shall provide A Little Footprint with your Singapore mailing address for the prize to be mailed to him/her via Smartpac.
  • The draw will be conducted using Random.org.
  • Decisions relating to the results of the giveaway is final.
  • The contest is in no way related to Ju-ju-be or its subsidiary entities.

Thanks for supporting Mummy Joyc’s random musings over the past years, and stay tuned as I intend to pump some life back into this blog again.

XOXOXO,

Mummy Joyc & Little Foot

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Reminiscing Waterplay

Dear Baby Pie, I write this as I am on the way to the hospital…

Just a simple gastroscopy, but still unsettling nevertheless, to think of undergoing sedation.

Before my eyelids grow heavy, I wanted to remember our weekend, a weekend of play and play.

The school excursion on Friday was a trip to the water playground. You have never been to one properly to play, and I know you were apprehensive as I was about running through the jets of water.

“Be careful!” Must be ringing in your mind whenever you ran through the grounds. My bad. Yet you ran when your favourite teacher and your good friend came to bring you along. And you enjoyed yourselves so much, so did I as we got soaked through and didn’t give a care about it.

And then the next day you wanted papa to swim with you because he had missed the excursion. And so we ended up at Punggol Safra for more waterplay.

Watching you play to your heart’s content made me happy too. It also made me a little wistful that I spend too much time away from you… that is, till your next tantrum.

You take after me too much, baby, and I’m not sure that’s a good thing. Wearing your heart on your sleeve too much – your happiness, sadness and anger shows all too easily. And a mind of your own, wanting to walk your own paths, a thing that I’m not sure the world truly cherishes.

Grow up well baby, and I pray that I will continue to kiss you good night every night at bedtime.

Love you lots and lots!

~ Mummy Joyc

Dare to be, my little lady

8 of March, a day we celebrate women, Happy International Women’s Day to myself, my daughter and all the ladies in this world. 

And really, I ask myself, why do we need just a day to celebrate ourselves, rather than celebrate ourselves everyday, but that is a topic for another day.

 This year, I haven’t written much, as I  tried to refocus on family, and attempt to be more conscious about making what little time I have with Little Foot quality time. Purposeful time. And, even in my absence, I hope she feels my presence and love. And so I slowed down on the various things I like to do in my leisure time, and focused on her.

Yet, some things going on around us, have been setting me thinking about various things.   And so, I will try to find some time this month to pen them down. 

This is the first part to a series of thought bubbles that have been forming lately in my mind. 

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 The world we live in.

As a nation with one of the lowest crime rates in the world, with capital punishment, with caning, jail and effective policing, it is easy to become a complacent parent in Singapore. Where we are perfectly fine to sit back and watch from a distance while our toddlers are at play, we have primary school children who walk home or take a bus alone after school. A place where adults feel it is okay to leave our children unattended in a food court to “chope” seats during a meal. 

Yet it may not be the case at all, that we can always be assured that our children, especially our daughters will be able to avoid the dangers that this world have to offer.

 I said this because of late I have been feeling disturbed by disturbing reports published in the media, of middle-aged men being convicted for sexual assaults which involved statutory rapes, and more disturbingly, from the reports, the sexual grooming of young girls. 

  • In one case, a 52-year-old man raped his neighbour’s daughter some years ago, ran off to Malaysia and was only caught when his wife, spotted him in JB. The girl was only 11 when she was repeatedly raped over a period of time. Here in Singapore, rape carries jail and caning. However, because he had fled and was only caught at 52, he was spared the cane. Understandably, netizens are angry. Had he been caught there and then, surely he would have gotten the caning as deserved for the heinous acts.
  • In another case, a 47-year-old man raped his son’s supposed “ex-girlfriend” and then convinced her that he had feelings for her, and the girl was led to believe they were in a relationship.  And continued to be sexually involved with the man.  The girl was 11.

 There are more such cases. 

Just reading the headlines are sickening to say the least. My heart cried for the girls and their parents.

11 years old. An age when perhaps puberty has just started, at an age when a child starts to have awkward feelings and wasn’t quite sure if she was an adult or a child. An age we call them “tweens”, not yet a teenager.

11 years old. An age where as parents, we want to baby them just a little bit more. When mummies would sit and watch wistfully as their babies start to sprout and perhaps grow as tall as themselves, and wonder where the diaper-wearing, toothless grin, chubby cheeks baby had gone, and wished time could stand still and they still had their little girl.

And then to have to face a situation where their little girl’s innocence was stolen by disgusting old men. I am not mincing my words. I will not. If they are not disgusting, what are they? These are men with wives, and even children. And they prey on the daughters of others. Imagine the parents’ anguish and pain. 

Parenting today is complicated, and yet parents have so little time to navigate the complex terrains because of the demands from work commitments. It is not the easiest reality to grapple with, but we have no choice, we have to try to wing it. 

In the past, when our parents took away the house keys, restricted access to the house phones, and set curfews, they could more or less “protect” us from going astray.

Today, the internet, smart phones and social media leaves a door open for the world to come in. Friends and foes alike. In the second case, the girl had foolishly sent naked pictures of herself via Facebook private message to the man’s son (purportedly her boyfriend), and that was how everything went downhill from there, when he saw the photos on the account.

 I had so many questions running through my head: Why didn’t they speak up? They did not think they could confide in their parents or an adult? Did they think no one would listen, no one would believe them, or that they would be “punished” or shamed for having been sexually abused? 

 There are no easy answers. 

There are many more of such reports, and with each one, I hug my child tighter. How can I shield my Little Foot from this very complex world, where children seem to mature younger, parents seem to lose tab on them earlier, and with psycho men out there?

 And so I pen this now, for my baby girl. For a time not to far away. 

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Dear Little Foot,

If you ever read this years later, and we have somehow reached a stage where you find it difficult to understand my intentions and hard to have a decent conversation with me, I hope you read what my heart wants to say to you today and everyday. 

As a woman, you are empowered. To believe in your own self-worth, to define your own self-worth, to love yourself. In weak moments, it may not seem true or possible, but it is, and I tell you I know. I have been there. Many times, doubting that I can be anything worthwhile. And in the end I am, because I became your mother. 

First, don’t let anyone make you feel lesser than you should be; don’t let anyone make you think that you are incomplete or nothing without them. With or without a relationship, you are complete and perfect. 

You are and always will be the most perfect in my eyes and your Daddy’ eyes.

We loved you from the day we knew you existed, and we fell even more headlong in love with you the day we first set eyes on you. This love we have grew and grew, so much so that we would not be able to breath well again if you were taken away. And this love will be.

In some places, women are treated like commodities, but this is Singapore, where you are as worthwhile a human as any other person, man or woman, whatever your skin colour or religion. 

It is a place where we can dare to be. And I hope you will be.

Next, your body is your own, God gave it to you, we gave it to you. Cherish it, protect it and never think you could or should use it to gain anything, because when a person want you not for the person that you are, but the body that you are in, that is not true love. And it will not last.  It hurts when you hurt. Just because we are your parents. We may not say it, but it does. And so, love yourself well. 

I will always remember that first nail clipper accident when I ran blocks carrying you to the doctor because my newborn was bleeding from a small cut. The blood had drained from my face, but I hugged you and ran frantically to get help.  

I will also remember the day you fell and hit your head on the marble floor, and had the biggest bump on your forehead ever. I didn’t sleep that night, thinking if you would feel sick because of the effects of the bump.

My list can go on… but you get it. It hurts us when you hurt. So take care of yourself. 

Third, never feel like you could not approach us to talk about something or ask for help. Within and beyond our capabilities, we will help you or find help. Always. Unless we are no longer in this world. And if that day came, you have my sisters, your Yiyis, to turn to. I would trust them with my life, and you can too. 

A nun I knew once told a story of a teenage girl who found out she was pregnant, and the girl told her “My mother will kill me if she found out”. The nun’s reply was simple – “Don’t be dramatic. No mother has ever KILLED their daughter for getting pregnant”. Nothing can be more true. Being furious is one thing, and one ought to face the music if one has gotten into trouble. But yet at the end of the day, we will sit down and sort out whatever mess it is with you. Because you are our child. That is simple. We have a duty to do what we can for you, and we love you.  

 Dear Little Foot, it is International Women’s Day. 20 years from now, 50 years from now, women may have finally reach an enviable social standing, on par with their male counterparts in all parts of the world, and in all parts of society. Who knows? Yet we will always be just a little different. Because we are daughters, girlfriends/wives and mothers. We love, we listen to our heart, and sometimes we will feel burdened by these roles. And yet we will and must plough on, because we are strong that way.  My mother was like that, and I try to be like that too. 

May you grow up to be brave, street-smart, and most importantly discerning. See through the superficial, be aware of the dangers this world has to offer. Let your head lead the way, not your body, and I daresay, rein in your heart.

Dare to sing your own tune. Be not afraid. 

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 I am not saying that you should restrict yourself because there is much to fear. I am saying dare to be. And dare to say no. Dare to ride the rainbow, go after that pot of gold at the end of it. Along the way, there will be dangers and harms, you will fall, you will and must pick yourself up. Dare to be. and dare to do some ass-kicking along the way.  

Life will be full of potholes and craters, but discern my child, and don’t lose sight of your destination. 

And finally, just know that no matter how old you are, you will always be our baby, you can always come home to us. 

 You are only three now.  And I hope that the years we have together will allow me enough time to prepare you for this world. You will never be quite ready, but we will try. 

Till then, as your mother, along with other parents, I can continue to trust, support and even advocate the policies that will do its best to keep you and all our children safe. If tough laws will keep Singapore just a tad safer, then let’s work hard to make sure the laws are adequate and effective deterrence, and allow due justice to be served to those who destroy lives and families. 

And in the end, it if you could read my mind, you would know I fear too. I fear to let you go, but I know one day I must let you spread your wings. 

Dare to be, my little lady, because you can be all you want to be. 

I love you. Always. 

Love, 

Mummy 

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Dear Dad, I bought you socks…

Hey, this is Little Foot’s mummy, and this is written to my dad, Little Foot’s grandfather.

On Christmas Day, I gave my Dad four pairs of socks.

If I am not wrong, this is the first time in my life I had a Christmas present for him (our family is not Christian, and I am the lone Catholic convert in my family).

I didn’t add a note to the gift package, just “Merry Christmas!” Written on the wrapper and signing off with my name and Little Foot’s. And he received it amidst the mayhem of our family gathering.

The point is, when I finally had time to sit down and pause for awhile, I regretted not writing a proper note.

So here goes…

Hi Daddy,

Hope you like the socks. They aren’t the most sexy or expensive things to buy, but I know you need them, and I tried to choose the colours you used to wear.

Since the diabetic diagnosis, and having been there with you on a few of your check-ups, it finally dawned on me that the years have caught up with you and Mummy.

I see the lines on your face, the shuffles of your feet getting more obvious, and I see you slouched over, dozing off while we wait. And I felt heavy-hearted. Mummy too, looks washed out.

“Where had all the years gone?” I wondered… and I have to choke back my emotions.

We never had many deep conversations, in fact we hardly talked. Over the years, sometimes I did wonder if we could have had a better relationship … I guess we just took for granted that you will always be you, polishing your beloved cars and watches, letting the TV watch you sleep, eating your favourite things like canned fruits and drinking teh-O…

That you suddenly didn’t look so good, and suddenly was diagnosed with diabetes, it was a wake up call for us.

The doctors have talked quite a bit about adjusting to things, taking better care of yourself – diet, exercise, hygiene etc.

And you needed to start wearing shoes and socks for better footcare.

Hence I bought you socks.

I hope that with baby steps, we can all help you adjust to the new way of life, make it a sustainable lifestyle and one that isn’t so dreadful to bear.

Children forgive their parents always, and whatever inadequacies or absenteeism from our growing up life is really already water under the bridge.

End of the day, deep down, we just care.

And so, with four pairs of socks, I just wanted to tell you, we care, and we want to see you continue to enjoy the life and routine you always had, with a little bit of extra effort.

I hope you wear them and know you are loved by your children and grandchildren.

And I wish you many many more Christmases spent with us.

With love,

Joyc

Reflections on Two… a year of grow grow grow

Little Foot turned Three in what feels like a blink of an eye…As with each year, I take time to reminisce this motherhood journey, and find time to write my Little Foot a little note.

No one was kidding when they said the days are long but the years are short. It never fails to amaze me that it wasn’t so long ago that I had a little bundle in my arms, so tiny we were afraid we would break a bone of hers if we were not careful… and now? She’s more than half my height, and twice the personality I am. Everything has moved so fast, but I am thankful and grateful each day that she is growing well.

What a year it has been…

From Hello Kitty to Elsa

Remember how she loves Hello Kitty soooo much? Well, she’s kinda outgrown Hello Kitty, but still “alright” with the Sanrio character which I also love. And now she has moved on to being a big fan of Elsa, so we made her wish come true and got her the full works for her birthday party.

Just play….

It was also a year of play and play, as we cut back on enrichment classes and allowed her (and ourselves) time to roam free.

We went out to meet Mr Sun..

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We had picnics…

We took selfies…

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We sang, we danced,

We giggled and we laughed…

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We had so many “birthdays” because she loved it so much…

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And we went out to see the world…

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And through it all, Little Foot learned and we learned too.

It’s been a year of great self-exploration and adventures, I daresay.

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It’s was also a year where I was more absent… And also a year where we found it trickier to deal with her tantrums and antics.

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Through it all, we learned and she learned too. We grew stronger and closer.

Dear Little Foot, this year, we all had to adjust a lot to Mummy’s new work routine, which would take me away from you a lot more, and see me more distracted when I am around. I can sense how much you miss me these days, and I feel your anguish at my sporadic absence. And I thank you for your neverending, overflowing love for me.

As we approach THREE, things may not be easier, but hopefully you will be able to better understand and be more patient with me, as I try to be with you. Let’s continue to grow together!

Thanks for a year that was filled with so many Little Foot memories that I thank God over and over again for you. As always, Mummy and Daddy hope that your days be filled with happiness, and may you grow up well and healthy. Know that through good times and bad, you will always be my baby and I only have the deepest love for you.

Happy Birthday, my dearest girl… let’s celebrate all through December!

Love as always,

Mummy

Don’t be Me, my Little Foot

Been rather swamped at work recently, hence the blog seemed to have collected some cob webs.

(Actually, who isn’t? In this climate where even journalists get laid off, you better be busy or be gone!)

Little Foot has resumed much of her carefree ways during her time outside of preschool, and it brings a smile to my face when I sit here recollecting her cute voice singing the full “Doe A Deer” song accurately while swinging high on a swing.

She was mesmerised by the song when I first sang it to her when she came back from school doing the Solfege Do-Re-Mi hand signs. And I think she practised over a couple of days during her naptimes to perfect it.

I do wonder how long I could actually keep stresses away from her. Especially when mummies around me are talking about alphabet and numbers recognition and writing.

We had dropped all enrichment classes for nearly half a year. A break for all of us. We were all just a little burntout.

And so we played.

Besides her ambition of being a princess (must be Elsa), she’d also fallen in love with Peppa Pig and had watched the episodes on YouTube so many times, she could complete the sentences sometimes as the clips play.

There are moments like yesterday, when I paused at work late at night wondering if Little Foot’s development would have been more spectacular, and perhaps she was “wasting time” because I am hardly around and when I am, I indulge her as all guilty mamas do.

And then I pause.

She is not yet three. And I don’t want her to be me. I want her to be like Papa, never harassed, always self-assured, steady and fearless.

Why I am me…

Before 3, I was starting to write, reciting Tang poems (according to my mother, but which I have no recollection of). At 5, I had completed alot of basic chinese character words (remember writing a page full of the word “草”) , wrote and counted well in English, even basic additions and subtractions, and did some spectacular feat of drawing an apple and colouring it at the same time with with a colours pencil in each hand (I do not recall this either).

My mother loves to reminisces such things. I was that brillant child she tried to hot house. I wanted to play, she wanted results. She loved me, but she saw potential and she wanted me to shine.

And at 8 years old, I burnt out.

To end up with a month-long stay in the hospital with gastric ulcers.

Finally someone said it – she is stressed.

Whatever she did or whatever I was born with however saw me through schooling life rather easily, but I never wanted to do more anymore… a perpetual tiredness follows me, together with the gastric pangs and occasional panic attacks.

And so, I dont want Little Foot to be like me. Hopefully our slack attitude will not be a reason for her to blame us in future, but for now, I try to think we are ok.

Because I love you so very, very much.

A Letter to my Little Foot – Sometimes, it is okay to challenge rules

Dear Little Foot,

Today is Children’s Day, and coincidentally, today you turn 34 months old.

As we inch closer towards your Terrific Three, which I am sure will be more amazing and full of mountains and molehills that we can conquer together, I wanted to write you a letter about our experience today, and a lesson that your 36-year-old mother learnt on this day.

Today, Daddy and I brought you to the Mindchamps “I’m Proud of You” Day. Almost everyone in your class attended as well.

What we were told when we paid for tickets (nearly $80) to this Family Festival to celebrate you and your little friends was this – that this was a day for us to share fun challenges, activities, and events that bonds the family… and it will immerse you and your little friends, in Confidence, Gratitude, Compassion, Seeing the Beauty in Others and Embracing Setbacks as Setups. These are values that I feel strongly for.

What I did NOT know, as most of the other parents did (because Mummy has been so engrossed in work that I sometimes do not pay attention), was that the Daddies and Mummies were told that attendance was compulsory.

We went today because Mummy felt that an event to celebrate you and celebrate family, and an event filled with promises of fun challenges, pony rides and bouncy castles sounds like a treat for Children’s Day. Yes we went on our own accord.

However, it turned out to be an event that made us wait and wait.

  • Little kids like yourself, and some even younger than you sat through a long wait for the event to start, a long spiel on why we are doing “I’m proud of you” from the founder of Mindchamps, while Mummy had to disappoint you for countless times telling you that you have to wait and not go on the bouncy castles which were in set up all over the hall. I saw many mummies and daddies telling your little friends the same thing too. I suppose this taught us Patience and Delayed Gratification.
  • Once the boring part was over, we were greeted with long queues for all the activities. Don’t get Mummy wrong. It is okay to wait, as we did at Disneyland, and many places we have visited since you were barely half a year old. In fact, it is only right that take our place in a queue properly. That is courtesy. However, Mummy and Daddy couldn’t help but wonder why there was only one Pony when there were hundreds of little ones like you attending the event. And there were only two bouncy castles for younger ones like you.

It also turned out to be a series of disappointments for us…

  • When we queued for the pony ride (there seemed to be only one pony for riding), and were told to come back later. And when we did come back, the queue had ended. We had talked about the pony rides for days, and it was a shame that Mummy and Daddy were so lost in the chaos that we did not go back in time. I couldn’t help but wonder why there was only one pony.
  • When we were turned away at the door of the pottery workshop although Mummy had bothered to do the pre-registration some days earlier and told to return at 1pm which is the universal naptime for all little kids in this preschool programme. So we never got to see how a pottery session looked like, nor got to feel how the clay for pottery making felt to our fingers.

And in the end, was it for you or for us? We wonder…

With the numerous sponsored booths – the filled up one side of the hall, conducting activities from the golfing station to bubble performance, to pottery classes, to mini tennis and skate scooting, even the Pororo booth right in the middle of the hall, and the AIA station dangling walk-the-dog balloons, we got confused.

And we wondered if this was really an event to celebrate you, or an event for them to get exposure to this captive audience, because we had paid for tickets, we were not going to leave.

A silver lining of sorts however was our insistence that we should not have the day wasted, and so we did go around trying to enjoy whatever that was available, and so you did have little pockets of enjoyment, such as the pleasure of putting coins into a vending machine for your favourite Green Tea, successfully putting two golf balls, and trying out some new age block toys, where you spent quite some time at.


What I want to say is this…

  • I want to tell you never to make this mistake of thinking that little children could stretch their patience and attention span like rubber bands. God did not make little children this way, nature can only be trained to a certain extent.
  • I want to also tell you that in whatever you set out to do in future, if it was anything that took up others people’s time, effort (whether or not it costs money), learn to put yourself in the other person’s shoes. The people who planned this had not thought much about how disappointing it was for you and your little friends to queue very, very long and only get less than 10 minutes on the bouncy castle, to have waited in anticipation for weeks to try a pony ride, only to have walked away with nothing except a coupon to visit the stables another day, they had also not thought about the mummies and daddies who had to deal with the fidgets, which is not your fault because you are very young, and to deal with the disappointed faces and meltdowns – which we have to do anyway every day because we are daddies and mummies, but any extra episode, especially at an outing meant to make you happy makes us upset in more ways than one. And in the face of this, Mummy and Daddy still felt we had to set good examples to you, and so we did not lose our tempers, take it out on any of the people manning the queues, or try to shove others out of our way as some did to us just to get a little ahead of the queues.

More importantly, I wanted to tell you this – sometimes, it is alright to say “No” to rules.

You may think it is shocking that as your mother, I say this, but I say it as it is.

In life, there will be people who set rules, and there will be some people who follow rules, and some people who do not.

Of the people who do not, we have to sort them into two groups – those who break rules for the sake of being anti-establishment (without reason), and those who break rules because the rules did not make sense, and they feel strongly that they should have the rule changed rather than blindly comply.

I say this because today is the first instance that you have encountered (although you would not remember) of a situation where we were told it is “compulsory” and therefore we have to go, whether we like it or not. And then on hindsight felt that there are compelling reasons to challenge this rule.

And so I say it is okay to be in the latter group.

There will be rules in place that may not make sense for one reason or another. Sometimes they are rules that have become obsolete over time. We see that with our laws. That is why we regularly see amendment bills passed in Parliament. The rules must befit the times.

Sometimes there are rules that are put in place by people who may have other underlying motivations for putting that rule in place. They may have a hidden agenda. And so it is for us to uncover the truth, and challenge the rule. Fix things.

Sometimes there are rules put in place by people who do not know any better, or based on superstitions. Ancient history has many of such lessons. Rules such as having people buried together with the Emperor who passed away is one such rule. If you lived in that era and did not fight that rule. You may be one of those buried. Would you not challenge the rule if your life is on the line?

So, even as we have felt disappointed today, I wanted to walk away with a strong message to you when you are older and understand what I am saying.

Yes, some rules are meant to be challenged and if need be, break them.

In this instance, if the “rule” applies again next year, you know I will ask questions and not readily accept it as a rule to comply with.

I have lived my 36 years of life with conviction, believing in work that will make this place we call home a better place. In helping to lay good foundations for a better future for you.

Your Daddy and I work very hard each day to do work of value, and work that befits our conscience. Sometimes we feel our contributions may be so little, we do not know if there is indeed any impact to the future that you will see. Yet we keep at it. And we never give up. It is fortunate that while we hold on to our conviction, we make enough to pay for things that we feel matter to you and us, such as your education and our holidays. Not everyone who work for their beliefs can be so lucky. Some sacrifice their freedom and their lives for conviction.

As your parents, we want to raise you this way – have a strong moral compass, have compassion, have faith, and enjoy what you do. And when you see something that is not quite right, never fear to stand up and say so. Moral courage is a value that is underrated in today’s society, but still a value that one must desire.

And so I hope I leave with you this legacy for years to come. That if the rules are wrong, dare to stand up, speak up, and if need be, break it. As Nelson Mandela once said, “May your choices reflect your hopes, not your fears”.

Love Deeply as Always,

Mummy Joyc