-Written on the 8th of August, in the Year of the Lord 2012 while monsoon rains battered Manila and flooded the city and nearby provinces
So ... thirty one, married, pregnant and alcohol-free. Who would have thought all that could happen in a year? Sometimes when I think of you I barely remember the girl you used to be. Things have changed dramatically, haven't they.
Clad in Marc Jacobs and Michael Kors in your beautiful home near L.A.'s coast, you are the perfect example of the girl living the American dream. God, Shobe ... you made it. Your fairytale came true; the prince, the castle, the jewels (I'm kidding!).
Sometimes, I envy you and the life you have. I suppose what I envy the most is how structured it is, how ... stable. Like everything's in place, things are exactly where they're supposed to be. No more roller coaster rides, no more lonely cold nights. Ang saya diba? Alam mo yan.
When I hear your stories: refurbishing your home, entertaining the in-laws, and the body-racking nine-month pregnancy journey, it's a whole new world. I can't help but feel how different our lives have become. And how, it will become even more different.
"By the way, I have two great news for you," you texted me. "I got a job at Kaiser, my dream hospital. Plus I am seven weeks pregnant! I am sooooo happy :):
Time stood still. I felt a mixture of emotions. I was shocked. Oh ... my ... God. Me??? Uncle???? I swear Shobe, I'll order your children to call me Kuya!
But as I stared at the photo of the small fetus growing in your womb, I couldn't help but be thrilled, excited, and ... strangely enough, I was scared too. I didn't understand why then, and I suppose I unconsciously pushed the thought at the back of my head. I wasn't uncomfortable about how I was feeling about it. But as your birthday approached, I told myself: it's time to face it.
And after some honest reflecting, I realized ... that I was afraid of losing you. I was scared of losing the girl who has always been there for me. I recognize that having a baby will mean a shift in priorities and I guess the selfish part of me didn't want to lose the spotlight.
You know how everyone says we have such an amazing relationship. And we do, no? We've always taken care of each other, and I got used to it. You've loved me unconditionally, you were always there for me: when I needed someone to listen, someone to cry to, laugh with, drink with, party with, and of course, dance with! You and I have a special bond, alam mo yan. You and I, it's always been that way ever since we were small.
Badj and I had dinner last weekend, and she was telling me how your priorities change once you have a child. No matter how much you want to see your friends, or go out: you just don't have the energy or the time for it anymore. Things do get better after awhile, she says, once you have adjusted.
I must admit I was saddened by what Badj said. But then I remembered what a wise friend once told me: life has its different seasons. And I realize what I must do: it's my turn to give more. To understand when you will be too busy, or too tired from work and from taking care of the baby to catch up and talk. Or if we can no longer travel as much as before. Or dance like we used to.
Because something is going to happen to you. Something magical.
In the film Venus, which tells the story of an old man (Maurice) falling in love with a young girl (Jessie), there was a scene where Maurice brought Jessie to the National Gallery and showed her Diego Velázquez's "The Toilet of Venus".
They were both gazing at the painting and Maurice tells Jessie a woman's body is the most beautiful thing to most men. What is the most beautiful thing to a woman? Jessie then asks him with a quizzical look on her face. Maurice gives her an answer which I think will ring truthfully in your heart: her first child.
You, my little sister, will soon gaze upon the most beautiful thing you have ever seen. Your first child. I can only imagine how that would feel like.
And so, if you remember what I told you right after your pregnancy news, it's true. I am overjoyed for you. It looks like you really are the girl who has everything. =) I promise to be there for you in whatever way you need me to be.
So happy birthday my love. I am excited to see you again, and to meet the newest member of our growing family. I miss you terribly.