Joel S. Cruz, who is often referred to as “The Lord of Scents,” is the president and CEO of the leading Philippine fragrance brand Aficionado Germany Perfume. He is also a father of three sets of twins and two sons: Prince Sean and Princess Synne, Prince Harry and Prince Harvey, Charles and Charlotte, Zeid, and Ziv.
Below is a letter Cruz wrote for his first four children and opens up about his journey as a single parent, from his decision to go through the process of in vitro fertilization to the day each child was born. Cruz also writes about his personal prayers and dreams for his children.
To my dearest and precious children, Princes Sean, Harry, Harvey, and my one and only Princess Synne,
The way you were all brought into my life was unusual yet possible with God’s divine grace. As a single parent, I had to wait for years to have children. The days were equally exciting and fearful, challenging and demanding, yet rewarding and fulfilling. Failures happened, but with the courage and bravery I drew from my faith in God Almighty, you were miraculously born into this world. You are true gifts to me and to my family.
It was an easy decision for me to have children of my own flesh and blood. I wanted to pass on the fruits of my labor to my future heirs. I was motivated to go through the process of in vitro fertilization, and though it was an arduous task, it has enabled me to fulfill my desire to have beautiful children.
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The act of nurturing and caring for you completes me. Even though I am a night owl and would have heavy eyes when I wake up, I try my best to be awake, perk you up, and give you pep talks before you head off to school every morning. It takes a battalion of people to help take care of the four of you (believe me, it can be quite a challenge since you have different moods and personalities!), but at the end of the day, the sight of you learning and growing every day gives me a sense of fulfillment. Seeing you become who you are destined to be fills me with pride and happiness.
As you are growing up, I will try my very best to mold each one of you to be future role models in our society. Filipino values and traditions should be within your hearts, to be shared and passed on to your future children and grandchildren. My generation may not be perfect, but you should always strive for excellence as it is the result of always doing better. Mistakes and failures will happen, but these will mold you to be people of character and wisdom. You must start living the true embodiment of Christian life. And most importantly, I implore all of you to share your blessings by helping the less fortunate for they are also children of God.
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The day I picked each of you up from your respective cradles at the hospital in Moscow, I shed tears of joy and felt a surge of happiness in my heart. You heard my voice when I whispered, “Daddy is here.” The smiles I received from you truly signified that you are my flesh and blood, my children borne out of love for life and living life to the fullest.
Sean and Synne, my first set of twins, your names mean “precious gift from God,” and you are truly gems in our lives.
To Sean, as the kuya of the bunch, you are truly a light in our family. I believe that 20 years from now, you will be a good leader as the first heir to the perfume empire I have established. You are a very focused kid and your fascination with wheels and cars presets you with a mind of an engineer. This would be an asset in creating products for the company. However, if you choose to create your own career, I will be there to support and guide you.
To Synne, my unica hija, you are truly a delight and a breath of fresh air! Your regal bearing is truly captivating as you go on with your ballet lessons doing pirouettes and pliés. Soon, you will learn your arabesques. You will learn to fly high and carve an artistic career that will make us all proud. Your life choices will always be respected and supported; your inspired aesthetics will always be appreciated and remembered.
To my new twin boys Prince Harry and Prince Harvey, you are so similar and yet so opposite. An oxymoron indeed.
Harry, your name means “ruler of the house.” Being the elder of the two, you seem to have the bearing of a leader—serious yet charming. I envision you to grow up to be one of the managers of our empire, our house of perfumes. People will love you, and to be a leader, you should learn to love people. Being a true leader means being of service to people.
Harvey, your name means “battle-worthy,” and you must be a fighter or a warrior. But right now, you are the most charming baby, with doe eyes and a wide grin always plastered on your face. In battle, you must have the capability to disarm your nemesis with your charm. You will probably grow up to be a diplomatic person, someone ready to conquer the world.
I want to let you all know that the four of you complete me as a single parent. Society may give us its unsolicited critique or disapproval of our unorthodox family, but I believe that as long as we listen to each other, we would not be affected or dissuaded by them. People have varying perspectives in life, and we should respect each other’s opinions. I want to teach you this to help turn you into intelligent and open-minded people.
You are all so precious to me. As my family and I shower care and love on you, I hope you all grow up to be healthy, active, playful, intelligent, loving, and God-fearing. May you grow to follow my path and achieve greater heights as you learn to fly free and yet be grounded with our family.
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This letter was originally published in the book Letters to My Children, a compilation of heartwarming notes penned by public figures and celebrities for their kids. The book is published by Summit Books.