Birthday celebrations are not part of my vocabulary.
I mean, I do not make any advanced plans on how to spend them. Coming from a poor family, I got used to waking up on my birthday without any expectations. For me, thanking the Lord first thing in the morning is the best way to commemorate my natal day. As I grew older and had worked hard to gradually improve our living condition, I was lucky enough to experience a couple of private and very simple birthday celebrations with my family and sometimes with my chosen best friends.
This year, on my 47th birthday, was partly different though. Okay, it was still the same routine when I woke up. I said my prayer of thanks right away and had zero anticipation that my three sons had again connived with their Father to mark my 47th existence! Yet, I wore a big smile on my face early morning when I acknowledged Arthur’s, Alexander’s and Lancelot’s wishes because it was a working birthday for me. April 20, is the commencement exercises of the College of Arts and Sciences (CAS) of San Beda College Alabang. And I, the birthday girl, was tasked to be one of the masters of ceremonies.
When I was requested to host it again for the third time, I couldn’t turn it down and cite my very special day as the reason. In fact, no one would know about it from my Benedictine family if not for the Facebook notification. Looking at my job at hand, I treated it as something unique to observe this gift of life. Imagine, I’d be accidentally having it in one of the biggest event venues in the metropolis — the Philippine International Convention Center (PICC). Cool, isn’t it?! Hahahaha…
I know my attachment to number ‘7’ is so strong. Considered as a bringer of luck, this number in my age has something in store for me that Wednesday afternoon.That day, I had to drive myself to PICC for the first time after failing to make my Plan A materialize in going there. Problem in transportation could only be solved by taking the risk of using our vehicle, which is on number coding just to arrive before three o’ clock in the afternoon. My adrenaline was pumping to its maximum level when I braved the traffic and very humid weather. To cut the story short, I made it miraculously 30 minutes before the time without being apprehended along the way! What a relief! Well, I was already prepared with my dialog in case I was stopped by an MMDA enforcer. I bet you know what it is. Hehehe…
Honestly, this year’s hosting job is best remembered because of these highlights which added to my colorful birthday: wearing a new hairdo and receiving compliments about it, hurdling a challenge with my co-host in containing our laughter while at the podium because of an unnamed member of the stage party during the processional, thinking of the best catch phrase to save myself from making a faux paus, having my first photo with a former student who has springboarded himself to success as an undergraduate, and having a rare light moment with our Dean, whose term in the CAS would already be ending.
These lovely episodes in the graduation ceremony had me in high spirits, thus adding to my courage as I drove myself home now after my colleague, Sir PJ, first assisted me in going out of the PICC compound to a familiar route before transferring to their own vehicle. It was already around 7:30 pm. While going through the bumper-to-bumper traffic, I received a text message from my youngest son. Lancelot inquired what time I’d reach home. My gut nudged me at once. Hmmm… Something in his text made me suspicious. This time, I allowed my imagination to do a guesswork. I was enthusiastic as I reached our gate. Only my eldest son Arthur and my youngest met me. Then, the main door was dramatically opened by Lancelot to finally end my curiosity.
As the surprise unfolded to me, I could clearly pinpoint the brains behind the touching birthday surprise. It’s Alexander, the younger twin. Imagine, he went to the mall alone to buy the cake from his savings. Lancelot and he had to walk more than two kilometers just to buy me those flowers. In moments like these, I couldn’t help but be uber mushy and sentimental.