Twenty years ago, around this time of year, I celebrated my 18th birthday with a big party. With big, I meant, gowns, suits, good food, party coordinator, mobile band, photo and video coverage, the works.
My real birthday wasn’t until after two weeks, but since it was December and there were a lot of bookings for Christmas parties and weddings, the only available date for our chosen venue was the first of December. It was supposed to be a garden party but it started raining midday so the venue coordinator decided it was best to move the party to the main ballroom upstairs.
I remember visiting a nearby church that afternoon with my mom. I remember seeing her crying, angry at the weather for ruining the original idea of having a garden party. But as I prayed, I just offered a prayer of thanksgiving. I thanked the Maker for, well, making me and blessing me with another birthday. I thanked Him for the opportunity to celebrate with my family and friends. I thanked Him for everything that I had and I think the only thing I asked for was for my friends to be able to attend. (Oh, and I think I prayed for my accounting exam that I took the day before…)
Twenty years is a long time. Somehow, I still remember bits and pieces of my 18th birthday party…
- I had no boyfriend then.
- My escort was a cousin who was a couple of years younger. He was more nervous than me because we had to do the waltz.
- My sister and another cousin were the hosts of the evening.
- My sister lost the list of names for my 18 roses dance. She improvised. Ended up calling the names of her friends instead of mine!! (Dear, dear sister. I never let her host any of my events after this)
- I have a family friend nicknamed Booey who was asked to dance by a schoolmate of mine. With the music blaring, he couldn’t quite get her name right. He kept calling her “Boobsy” the whooole night. (Shame!!)
- I had a hundred guests. I think half of those were my parents’. Hahaha.
- It was 1990. The song of the night — if not the year — was… All right stop, collaborate and listen… “Ice, Ice Baby.”
- Ice, Ice Baby ended the evening.
I was a happy, single, 18yr old sophomore college student then. I was studying in a good university, I had great friends, my family was intact. Perhaps my main and only real concern at that time was passing my Accounting exams.
At that time I didn’t really know yet what I wanted to do in life. I was young, naive and pretty clueless about my future. Maybe I was a bit scared of uncertainty, but I was expectant of great things to happen.
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Now, 20 years (and about 20 pounds) later…
I am no longer the naive girl that I once was. Experience has taught me a lot. I can make my own decisions and I am firm about the things that I want as well as the ones that I don’t. I value my non-negotiables. I now know when to shed a silent tear and when to be a drama queen. I choose my battles… and I try to choose well.
Oftentimes I am clueless about certain things… but because I am a mom and children look up to me, I try to exude confidence and intelligence. Moms are supposed to be all-knowing, so I dare not burst the child’s bubble.
I still get scared of things unknown, things uncertain. But now, I have more faith in myself. I also have more faith in Someone greater than myself. I know I will be led.
I still continue being thankful. Thankful that I have a family that has been ever supportive. Thankful for my son — the very reason why I try to be the best person I can be, always. I am thankful for not being alone. I am thankful for my high school friends who are still my bestest friends ’til today. I am thankful for the new friendships that I have forged.
I am thankful for this gift called life and for each and every breath that I continue to take.
And I thank the heavens that I don’t have to take another accounting exam ever. Ever, ever…
Just as I was when I was 18, I am still expectant of greater things to come.
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I have no plans for this year’s birthday yet. Most likely I will spend the day wrapping Christmas gifts… then maybe have a quiet dinner with the family. Maybe my birthday weekend will be about baseball games and Christmas parties. I really don’t mind. At the end of the day, it’s about spending it with the people I love.
It’s 2010. I have no idea what this year’s best song will be… but I have a feeling I’ll be hearing Justin Bieber’s Baby over and over before the year ends…
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photos via google images and clipart