My Final Fantasy III
"Some day, you will be old enough to start reading fairy tales again." - C.S. Lewis
When I was young, fairy tales (and cartoons, in general) provided me with a world of vast opportunities and possibilities, allowing me to be transported to different realities with no limitations and no fears. I would routinely battle bad guys with King Arthur and the Knights of Justice, with my powerful dragon coming out of my shield and burning my enemies. My fear of heights would not hinder me from showering with pixie dust and flying together with Peter Pan and the lost boys, playing tricks on Captain Hook and his band of pirates.
One of the first books that I bought for myself was "When the clock struck thirteen". As a young child with very few life experiences, I could only imagine the fear, excitement, disappointments, and hope that the iron boy felt when the clock struck thirteen, allowing him to move and embark on an adventure to become a real boy. I remember feeling so scared and excited for the iron boy as he discovered that he can move from his place on top of the bell tower, scanning the rooftops and the horizon and thinking of his next move. It was clear to him that his goal is to become a real boy, it was also clear that he needed the magician to achieve this goal. Thus, the real challenge comes from the dangers and obstacles that he will face in order to achieve his dream.
As with many things from my childhood, I seem to remember things differently from what actually/really happened. Specifically for this book, I remember the iron boy successfully achieving his dream of becoming a real boy. Researching the story for this blog, however, revealed that this book is just the first of five books of Puddle Lane's Stage 4 reading program. The story in this book ends as the iron boy leaves for the Country of Zorn, where he can find the Silver River which can turn him into a real boy once he bathe on it.
Maybe that is one of the perks of being a child, being able to remember good things more than the bad ones, focusing on what could have happened instead of the failures and cliffhangers, being stupidly optimistic despite all the challenges and difficulties in life. Or maybe I simply have a sucky memory.
Alas, as I grow older, life doused me with a cold, shivering, wake-up call of reality and adulting. Fantasy, escaping to an imaginary world, standing triumphantly on top of my conquered castle, became a luxury that seems foolish and just a waste of time. And unlike the iron boy who immediately knew what his goal in life is, reality is nothing like that. I was instead given with a lot of options, with people around me saying that I could be anything or anyone I want, but my school, my employers, my wallet, and my responsibilities begging to disagree. I was bombarded with advices, both solicited and otherwise, about how to live life, how to earn money, nifty "lifehacks" to make life easier and more practical, until every ounce of magic and creativity from my childhood slowly drained and squeezed out of my tired body and mind.
But I never lost my stupidly positive outlook in life. And as much as life has thrown me many things to make me forget the magic and wonder of my childhood, it gave me one thing that I've only encountered in books and fairy tales - the perfect girl.
Unlike typical fairy tale princesses, however, my perfect girl is not a princess in distress who needs to be saved. On the contrary, she is a constant and strong partner, leading and supporting as the situation demands. And with all the fantasy-busting realities thrown our way, my life with her makes me cling on to that childlike enthusiasm of the amazing wonders and experiences that life has to offer, this time not in fantasy, but in reality.
To my dear wife, as we embark on this momentous milestone, may this be our renewed chance to dream like a child, pursuing things that are dear to us without care of what other people will think or say. I will anticipate with utmost excitement the opportunities to dance in the rain, to build pillow forts, and to battle monsters with you, laughing like lunatics and wailing like babies.
I promise to strengthen our home with more Faith, Hope, and Love, remembering to put God above everything else, followed immediately by you and our family. As always, I continue to place my full trust and confidence on you, that everything we do, we do as partners, we do as one. Ilang bagyo na ang dumaan, ilang bagyo pa ang darating, hinding hindi kita iiwan. I promise to always fight for you and with you, for I believe in us forever.