July 9, 2011

A Girl's Coming of Age - 18th Birthday

Being born on the month of July has many downside on my birthday. When my father was working abroad, I would not be able to have a big party for Papa can't send money because July is the time when his Sheik boss would be in London. He has to wait for the boss to come back, plus the fact that during that time, in the late 70's, it was harder to send money, it will take weeks. The month before July, as we all know in the Philippines, means spending a lot of money for tuition. And since we were four kids studying in private schools, my birthday party must take a back seat.

July 12, 1991 was my actual 18th Birthday, it was one of those lowest point in my family. My mother was already suffering from a renal/kidney failure. Our homegrown businesses went bankrupt, and most of what we have were sold to buy medicines for Mama's peritonial dialysis.

On my 18th birthday, I wasn't lonely because I'm not having a grand debut celebration. I was sad because of Mama's weakening state. But then again, I was happy because Mama was right there beside me, telling me how much she loves me. You see, when I was in Elementary and High School, I felt jealous of my 2 elder sisters, and my elder brother. I thought Mama loved them more. But on my 18th Birthday, Mama told me that she loves me too just as she love my siblings, it's just that she knows that I'm strong - that I have a strong personality and that Mama believed I can get through whatever tough times that'll come my way. She apologized and said, "pasensya ka na anak, laging natataon pag birthday mo".

Because I'm not having a party, naturally I didn't invite my friends. But then, from the many friends I have, only one surprised me, Neil Valenton. He came and brought some bread for us to share. Then Mama gave me money to buy 1 liter Coke.

It is that wonderful time when I can say, the girl in me turned into a fine young woman, comprehending what life really is all about. And that happiness comes not from having too much material possessions, but that of having love, care, forgiveness, acceptance and understanding from people who matters most.

I have not seen Neil in almost two decades, but every time my birthday comes, it is him and Mama who comes into my mind. They remind me how wonderful life is even without a fabulous party.


  1. This story made me cry...I miss your mama, we were close during the times you stayed at lola salud's house. I cried, too, for your happy-sad sharing...our moms really know us best! Will not forget to greet you, of course. Paulit-ulit na nga, baka mas nakakatanda yun? LOL!!!

  2. Ms.Joy I couldn't say anything much po but if I can just give you a *hug hmmmmmmmm..*

    we have our own stories to tell po..but the most important thing is..how did we respond?

    you are a strong woman Ms. Joy..God bless you and your family po :)

  3. ahh super touch naman ako sa story mo kaya pala your so blessed because mama mo ang angel mo na nag guide sayo ngaun!!

  4. your mama is right,,you have a strong personality, so all i can say,,,always thank HIM for all the blessings en care taht HE gave you,,,,

  5. Ate Chel, it's nice having you here. It's like we just getting to know each other. Di ko nga alam na nag stay pala kayo sa U.S. if not for your comments zero knowledge ako sayo.

  6. Sie, your blog is an inspiration to me too! It's like I'm reading Chicken soup for the soul...

  7. Bedai. ano pa ba sasabihin ko sayo, sawa na ko sayo e...labyu girl!

  8. aw!! tulo uhog ko .....

    newis thnks for visiting n joining...thnks dn sa pg visit mo in my other blogs :) here are the others you might wanna like in fb and follo via gfc - http://www.sitbackandrelax.info/welcome/


  9. JJ worked in the East Coast (NJ) in 1996-1999 and Steve&I stayed with him during those times, on and off. Then again in 2003-2004, he worked in the West Coast (California).

  10. oh my debut 15 yrs. ago I remember my best friend asked me if I want to have a party, she will handle the gown and shoes for me (she borrowed it from her friend)my sister in-law pay for the invitation,and another best friend took care of the chairs. Thanks for their help but it's really hard to have a party without organizer or if your the one celebrating imagine they forgot to bring out the cake!!! even the food and drinks was not properly serve because everyone was busy...I promise it will never happen to my daughters. For you girl even though dka nag party before you are so blessed right now kahit ilang party pa pd hehe...pag nag 40 ka kya mag debut ka at ng makapag gown ulit tyo hehehe...


Thank you for the joyful comments!