One stormy August night in 1991, I was admitted to Capitol Medical Center to deliver you, my second child. It was barely two months after the Mt. Pinatubo eruption and Metro Manila was still reeling from the ash flow, which made the floods worse than the usual.
You were born at 8:37 am on the 26th of August 1991. You were 7 pounds 12 ounces at birth. My doctor wanted to do a C-section because she said the you were big. I said, "No, I will opt for a normal delivery." Oh, the pain, the episiotomy, was unbearable! I felt total relief after it was all over. I had a son! Hairy, chubby, and so cute!
You were such a handful growing up. You started to walk early and was practically running at 18 months. You babbled your way asking for your milk and toys. You gave yourself your own nickname. You were having difficulty in saying the "s" (and "r") sound in words so "Jason" evolved in "Aton" (pronounced with a short "a" sound, like "ah-ton.") At two and a half, you were writing your name with your finger everywhere - on the car, the soil, on the table (using ketchup). You didn't know how to read yet, but it seems that you memorized the shapes of the letters spelling out your name. When your younger brother Mickey was born, the popular song on the radio was "Achy, Breaky Heart" and so you called your baby brother "Bwekky Heart." You would rock Mickey's crib and start singing "Don't bweak ma heart, my ekky bwekky heart.."
You were so full of energy. You were three years old when I got you a trike. He rode it almost the whole day. One day when we were visiting my grandparents, (of course, the trike had to be with you), you tried an aerial stunt from the porch to the driveway. As expected, you fell from the trike and your cheek hit the corner of a concrete flower box. Your cheek was so swollen and I had your pediatrician check if there was any facial bone fracture. Luckily, there was none. However, when the swelling subsided, a dimple appeared right on the spot where your cheek hit the flower box. The pediatrician looked at it again and said the muscles could have suffered a tear and gave rise to the dimple. So that is the history of your deep dimple on the cheek.
You hated afternoon naps and Lola made sure that all of you took naps. You would obediently lay down and close your eyes but you never slept! Just to comply with the rules, you would pretend to be asleep. It was funny how you could lay perfectly still for an hour and a half just pretending.
It broke my heart to leave you guys to work in Taiwan. I had nothing but thoughts of you everyday. With every meal I had, I was thinking about what you were having. On my first night back home, you said, "Mama, wag ka na ulit aalis, ha?" ("Mama, don't leave us again"). That is a promise. I won't.
We've been through tough times. We had arguments, disagreements, and fall outs. But nothing will ever change. You are my first born son. I know that you will be successful someday. I know all of you will. Sometimes I feel I don't have enough time with you guys. I hope you understand that it is really difficult to manage a full time job and run a household. My promise though, is that I will always be here for you.
On your 23rd birthday, I wish you all the best that life has to offer. I pray that God will guide you in your every endeavor. Do your part and study hard. Your future is within arms' reach. I will eagerly await the time when you start carving your name in the corporate world.... just like you did when you were a baby. And don't forget you promised me a shopping spree on your first payday! Hahaha.
Happy birthday, Aton, Toniks, Katong, Kuratong, Atonski.
I love you!
P.S. Here's your birthday video! :)