When I was young, you bought me this basketball rubber shoes with a red pump from our neighbor Ate Cora. It was at night when you bought it, and I was so happy and excited to use it that I had to wake up early the following day to go to the basketball court to play. It was at this moment, when I first learned to be excited about things.
You bought me this blue Walkman, when I first used it to listen to music, I was lying in bed with my eyes closed pretending to play the guitar. I already forgot the song I was listening to, but I know you saw me and I can hear you giggling. It was not so much about the Walkman player that made me love music, it was the thought of you being happy because of how I appreciated music. It was at this moment, when I started to love music. And, then you wanted to give me more other than me loving music, you wanted me to make music. You then bought me this Yamaha electronic piano and enrolled me in a music class. I played “Waltzing Matilda” in my recital while Paul sung “The Greatest Love of All”.
We went to Church every Sundays, and right after, we’ll go to SM Cubao or Ali Mall for lunch. Afterwards, we’ll go to the 3rd floor of SM Cubao to buy toys. As a young boy, I never knew why we needed to go to Church, for me it was just some place we had to go before going to the mall. When I grew older, I found myself going to Church even by myself because it reminded me of good ol’ feeling that came after J
You enrolled me in Lourdes School of Mandaluyong (LSM) – an exclusive school for boys with great values education. Quite expensive but you wanted to give me the best education. I enrolled in swimming lessons, joined the Boy Scout of the Philippines, and participated in field demonstrations. I had everything the rest of my classmates had. I never felt that I was less of a kid compared to the other kids, you’ve always been telling me that there’s no reason for me to be ashamed of anything for I have 2 hands, 2 feet, a nose, 2 eyes and 2 ears – I am complete. Your words gave me the direction to find myself and has been the strength that holds me up during the stormiest of times.
When I was in my teens, you’ve always supported me with my choices. I can’t remember how many girlfriends I’ve introduced to you, but every time I did, you’ve always welcomed each and every one with open arms and a smile. All my past girlfriends loved you, to them, you’re the best Mother-in-Law to be– understanding, loving and supportive.
I joined a Fraternity in my College days. I made you so upset when you learned that I won’t graduate because of a fraternity-related administrative case (note to the public: I am innocent). You cried the whole night because you felt that I have just lost my future. I also lost hope and tried to overdose myself with 5 paracetamol Biogesic tablets. Little did I know that 5 tablets won’t even get me close to having a headache. But then, you woke up the following morning and went back to work, as if life went on. I found strength from your strength, and renewed hope from your focus and determination to hurdle the storm.
When I grew older, only then that I realized…
That, when I was younger, we were not a rich family. But you bought me things that I wanted even without me asking – clothes, toys, shoes, Walkman player, etc. You hid your struggles and hardships from me, and showed me all the things that would only make me smile.
You enrolled me in expensive schools with kids from wealthy families, but I never felt that I was any different from the wealthy kids. I had everything the rest of the kids had – new books, notebooks, bags, school supplies, school bus service, uniforms, etc. You did not only tell me that I am complete, but you made me feel that what I had was complete.
You’ve been giving even until I’m older. And, when I was old enough to take care of myself, you’ve been giving to my kids.
I can only imagine the hardships that you went through for me. And, I want you to know how much I appreciate all your efforts to guide me, mold me, and make me happy. You have not failed. I have learned a lot from your life lessons impressed upon me by both your words and deeds. I am forever will be a happy person because of the fun and loving experiences and memories you gave me since I first opened my eyes in this world.
Please forgive me for I know that I have a lot of shortcomings as your son. Many times, I have taken you for granted and how I wish I can turn back time and make you a happier person.
On your 60th, please know that I will start to do my best to make it up to you. I may falter sometimes, but know that I love you more than any person in this world. Thank you Ma for everything.
Happy 60th Birthday!