Birthdays are happy occasions -- when the celebrant is 95 years old, then it makes the birthday even more meaningful and blessed. My mother in law turned 95 this October and we celebrated this momentous event at Modern China Restaurant in Makati. Because her birthday was on a work day most of her grandchildren could not attend.
My mother in law is a retired doctor who raised six children along with my late father in law, who was also a doctor. They have always lived in Lucena, Quezon and commuted every week to visit their kids who all studied in Manila. Even to this day, she stays in Lucena and still travels to Manila a few week-ends a month to visit her children and grandchildren.
While she was a trained physician, a graduate of the University of the Philippines, I think she is more of a creative and literary person. She has always loved to write.
In the 1960s, she wrote a weekly article for a magazine chronicling their family's one year round-the-world journey.
While she continued to write -- speeches and talks for various occasions, reflections and papers for her various religious organisations I was surprised and amazed when in her eighties, my mother in law enrolled in several creative writing classes. Where did she get the energy to do this, I asked myself.
After her creative writing courses, she published a number of books, compilations of essays about her life and experiences complete with admiring and encouraging forewords by her creative writing teachers.
Her interest and enthusiasm in continuing to hone her craft is an inspiration to me.
For all aspiring writers out there, remember -- be like my mother in law and know that it's never too late to sit down and just write.
Like my late mom, who was her great good friend, my mother in law is not a big eater.
I remember that when eating out, they would order one dish and split it between the two of them -- sometimes they even had left-overs for a doggie bag!
But one thing my mother in law enjoys with gusto is Hot Prawn Salad. The few times we ate together in Kim Suy, our favourite chinese restaurant in Lucena, she always made sure that Hot Prawn Salad was on the table.
Another thing my mother in law enjoys eating is chicharon -- but then again, who doesn't like those crisp and crackly pork bits? The broccoli in Modern China was garnished with crunchy chicharon which totally negated its health benefits!
Because the wait staff were told that this was a birthday celebration, they brought out a small dish of ice cream with a candle on top and everyone sang an energetic if slightly off-key rendition of Happy Birthday.
As mama blew out the candle and I silently made a wish -- for more happy, healthy birthdays to come.
This is my mother in law, 95 years old with her great grand daughter Martina who is turning 5 in December. They are 90 years apart yet completely enjoy each other's company. I think it is wonderful for Martina that she has a grand Lola like my mother in law -- I hope she grows up and inherits her Lola's love of learning, reading and writing.
Happy Birthday again, Mama -- thank you for being a blessing and inspiration to us all!