I woke up morning of November 8 to gray and dreary skies, had a birthday lunch lovingly prepared by mom, then dashed off to work, waiting for super typhoon Yolanda’s deep impact (international name: Haiyan).
Birthdays were much simpler and blissful when we were kids, weren’t they? My earliest memory of my birthday was in prep school. It was my special day because I got to wear casual clothes (a striped sports shirt, white short pants and rubber shoes) and not the school uniform. I brought to class lots of balloons and a cake with marshmallow icing topped with super hero action figures to share with my classmates.
As you get older, birthdays evolve. Some years it’s happy and memorable, some years it feels like a chore, other years, it’s a downright struggle. As it has been tradition over the last several years, my birthday dinners are celebrated with the people in the late-night news team in the newsroom, more than 50 of them, who’ve become like extended family to me. They’ve seen me at my best and worst, and birthdays have become signposts of the previous year’s experiences and of what is yet to come.
For this year, we shared a modest feast, shared some laughs and good cheer, and for a split second, we forgot that there was a super storm wreaking havoc in central Philippines.
But just as quickly as the celebration started, the party broke up to prepare for the news program which was airing in less than 3 hours. And the stories of that evening were no less than heartbreaking.
Our news teams on the ground were soaked and drenched to their socks, buffeted here and there by rain, wind, storm surge and flying corrugated tin roofs, with little or no food and water. But the citizens suffered way, way much more.
Life, with all its twists and twisters, does not stop even for birthdays. With hope in our hearts, we blow a birthday candle each year with all the joys and heartaches, the happiness and grief, the blessings and losses, the comings and goings. But when you really think about it, you do realize that you’re still so blessed.
And with God’s grace, you may have a birthday cake again next year. Hopefully, it is topped, not with a super storm, but a super hero action figure.