Yes.

Thirteen years ago today, I was in a hospital bed. Alone. Mortified. I was going to become a mother. I had no business becoming a mother at seventeen. I was so afraid. In my culture, being pregnant out of wedlock was shameful, more so as a young teenager. It was one of the most painful times in my life. I was too young to understand what was going on and I was not ready for all of the consequences of what I have done.

December 1998. I was sitting on the stairs by the Mercury Drugstore in Makati with Katz. I was eating my Dipping Dots ice cream while waiting. How can I eat at this moment? I was crying. I remember calling Sara every morning at 5:30 telling her I still haven’t gotten my period. I think I already knew. I just kept denying it for days… until three months later. I was in the stairwell outside the doctor’s office. Waiting. Hoping it wasn’t true. Maybe I was just stressed. It was time… they called us in. All of my fears realized. I was pregnant.

I was about to give birth today thirteen years ago. As I lay there alone, all I could think of was the pain of those contractions. They were not fun. I was in labor for hours! Blood, sweat, tears, and tears. Oh yes, those are two different words. It was horrible. But when I saw his face…. when I touched his little fingers… those little toes… All of the pain just went away…

Now, he’s thirteen. A little know-it-all, I’m-taller-than-you, please-don’t-hug-me-in-public, I’d-rather-be-with-my-friends man. Everything I was when I was his age. My one and only true love is growing into a young man. He’s growing up so fast. Too fast. I remember joking about it when I was younger, I said I’d go clubbing with him when he’s 18, I’d only be 35. Now, it’s just happening all too soon.

I am so happy I have you. Despite all the fights, the heartaches, theΒ tampo, the headaches, the screaming, the eye rolling, I love you. I cannot imagine my life without you. Happy birthday.

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