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TWENTY-THREE years ago, you came out of your mother’s womb to the music of Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov’s Flight of the Bumblebee. It had been a few hours before when we started filling the delivery room with a loop of classical tunes, on a CD player our good doctor permitted to be taken inside so that there would be soundtrack to accompany your coming. 

I vividly remember the second I first saw you, being held up by the good doctora. You first appeared violet in color, like Barney the obnoxious dinosaur. Then, after a few moments, I had let out a sigh of relief as your skin turned to normal. Finally, when you let out a brief first cry, I knew at once that all was really well. I had followed the nurse up to the next room, where she bathed and weighed you. I saw you and looking around the room, alert with hands together and fingers interlocked. I too remember our first conversation, with you gurgling behind a baby smile and me, baby-talking hello and welcome.

All of twenty-three years ago, today. 

So, how has it been, really? From countless Filipino folklore comics to dinosaur and nature books, then moving on to fantasy-themed paperbacks that initially inspired you because your class met a real author face to face in OZ land? Then, through it all, us inventing bedtime stories on the fly (as I did with your elder brother long ago), as we prepared for bed.

That felt like it wasn’t too long either, when you began writing your own fantasy book in grade four and finishing it before high school (which you sadly shelved later because you just simply didn’t want it being published).  Then as your high school swished by with all its adolescent fancies, we were just so glad that you’ve collected a few precious friendships along the way. The same goes with college too. Who can forget that time in first year at uni, you told your mom it was satisfying and a real high to be on the dean’s list, and then you kept at it and stayed there until you graduated?   

Twenty-three years is all of that, and all of that, shared with us. Not too long ago, your mum and I were talking about why is it that in our dreams, already-grown up children still appear as little kids? 23 years and I still can’t wrap that around my head. No matter.

As we celebrate this day, I realize I am likewise twenty-three years older, but that’s a-okey. Learned a lot along the way too, especially with you, son. 



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