Kalabaw lang tumatanda… That’s what my Nanay always say when I tease her about her age. We share the same birthday which works for both of us. Tipid sa handaan. Last Thursday, she turned 61 and her favorite son, 22! (a fly just buzz’d pass me).
As far as I can remember, birthdays are celebrated exclusively at home. The sorbetes, pancit, maja blanca, adobo and biko matched with ice cold coke are regular “handa” in our old home. We don’t serve fancy cakes – our parents prefers the traditional kakanin over Goldilocks (one of this bakery’s first store in Pasong Tamo is a jeep ride away from our home) as they’re far cheaper. All dishes are cooked and made by her with the eldest son and me sometimes helping on the side. This hands on preparation made the occasion all the more wonderful. I’ll never forget the anticipation and joy we all felt knowing something special is cooking.
We don’t receive gifts from our parents but we never mind it. I don’t think we know then that children are suppose to have parties, balloons and gifts – for us boys, birthdays are simple get together.
We don’t sing happy birthday – I don’t know why, perhaps no one thought of it. Looking back, I find this strange. We just ate and teased and played around the table. But to this day, we all remember that special feeling of being in that old circular wooden table during our birthdays – being there with our parents meant the world for us.
Sadly, all things must come to an end. This simple yet wonderful family affair vanished when my brothers left home to pursue their careers abroad. This salu-salo are now just memories we relive whenever we talk about our old lives in Manila and Makati. Amazing how time pass so fast.
Central to the boys birthday celebration was attending mass with Nanay. When we started secondary school, we had to go to on our own.
Instructions from my Nanay was that if you fail to hear mass (since some already have classes) pray and give thanks for all the blessings God has given you – if you don’t “you’ll have a bad year”.
Of course, we all followed.
Today, hearing mass is the highlight of my birthday “day”. None is more important – probably a sign that I’m really getting old. I believe that with age the more you get intimately connected with the spiritual side of you.
I faced some challenges lately that drove me to the edge. I made decisions.
Very difficult ones. Trying to see the silver lining in these storm clouds.
I pray that I made the right choices.
“… We seek guidance, forgiveness and comfort in the trials of daily life.”