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July 2013

Birthday Memories

On July 13, sometime in the Philippines in the early seventies, I was left in Butuan City with my younger siblings while my parents went to Manila to attend to some business. As a third-grader, I braced myself for a very sad birthday. No birthday candles to blow. No father and mother to celebrate with. No gifts to unwrap. But my three younger siblings made up for all the woes I was facing. First, they shooed me into my room so I cannot see what they were doing. Then, they got together in the living room and started working with lots of paper, boxes and a bunch of surprises. I peeked in for an instant and saw my 7-year old brother, 5-year old sister, and my 3-year old youngest brother, putting some candies, chocolates, and other goodies in three boxes and wrapping them with a birthday wrapper. All these they bought from Bimba's Store, the neighborhood variety store, earlier that day, using their own money. I feigned surprise when they came to wish me a happy birthday and hand out three gifts. Beautiful memories. Even now, as I think of this day, I feel the love of family and the support of my brothers and sisters.