It is birthday week in our home, with both my husband and our son celebrating their respective birthdays this week.
We started with Juanmi’s turning 6 last Sunday; and today, we have another reason to celebrate as my husband Migs turns a year older.
While Migs’ birthday was simply marked in my mind, Juanmi had a countdown in the form of a printed calendar page—where he could cross out the days leading up to the weekend.
On the appointed “D-Day” or rather, “B-day,” we woke up to a happy “whoopee!” and showered our not-so-little boy with kisses.
Later at night, the family gathered to eat Juanmi’s cake.
But whether we excitedly look forward to celebrating or quietly marking birthdays with our loved ones, each passing year is always reason to be thankful.
As I watched Juanmi happily blow out the candles on his cake, I thought about how grateful I was to have the chance to celebrate the occasion, as well as other milestones related to my son and my hubby.
Allow me to get a little sentimental as I recall the day I met Migs 16 years ago.
I was then in Subic with my mom and a friend. It turned out that Migs knew our friend, so he invited us to join him for lunch.
What started as a casual lunch, and another chance meeting two years later, would lead to a wedding—the marriage blessed with three wonderful children, and is now on its 10th year, each year filled with joyful memories.
There are many things I am grateful for having met and married Migs; I will start with being thankful for having him always by my side as a loving husband and best friend.
I am thankful for his efforts to create a secure relationship peppered with surprises big and small.
I am thankful for his devotion to our children and his determination to be truly present in their lives.
Second to none
The middle child in what I call my terrific trio—sandwiched between an older sister and a baby brother—is Juanmi. Though he’s second in birth, he’s second to none in my heart.
Like the typical energetic boy, he has no dull moment with his silly expressions, crazy antics and, yes, even the bruises he suffers every now and then. But he’s a very sweet boy, always ready with a warm embrace and kiss, and then saying he “very, very loves you.”
And then I have my dear daughter Adriana and my baby boy Santi, both of whom also brighten my days and teach me something new every day.
I am likewise grateful for my whole family, especially my Mama Dette, who patiently and lovingly continues to take care of me to this day, even if I am already a mother myself. The only difference is, now she has more people to care for as she extends her love and concern to my husband and three children.
I am thankful for my parents-in-law, Dad Joe and Mom Vicky, who have raised and shaped my husband to be the man he is today. I see his father’s generosity and his mother’s affectionate ways in Migs’ words and actions.
I thank my brothers-in law Joey, Manuel, Scott and Jonathan, and sisters-in-law Ana, Bea and Steph.
I am thankful for friends. We have been blessed with friends we have known practically our whole lives, but with whom every encounter still feels as fresh and new as the day we first met. I thank friends who have only recently entered our lives, though it feels they have been around for long.
I am thankful for good health. I am especially grateful for my children’s health. Recent events have reminded me how precious our health truly is and how much we take it for granted. I think of the things we enjoy in our lives and how none of them would mean anything or be possible without a healthy body.
I am thankful for the laughter in our lives as well as the challenges we have had and will face. The challenges have taught us to appreciate the good, and have given us new perspective on many things. The joyful times make life brighter and carry us through darker days.
And finally, what I am most thankful for is our faith, which gives us hope and strength even in the darkest hours. I am thankful for the intercession of the Blessed Virgin Mary, as there have been many instances we have turned to her.
I am thankful to God for all of life’s blessings that He has chosen to give, and nothing we could have accomplished or acquired on our own.