Exactly 6 years ago, I was in Cardinal Santos hospital feeling an overwhelming mixture of happiness, fear, and excitement.
You see, for the first time, I was holding my son in my arms.
And there was something else I was feeling.
As I beheld my son, I felt an unmistakable tug of the heart.
It was the first time we met face-to-face, but never did I feel such an intense feeling of love for another person.
He was mine.
Then I had a quick realization.
I quickly looked for my dad.
Finding him, I gave him a hug and said, “happy birthday!”
It was also his birthday after all.
I then extended the hug a bit.
You see, it was also the first time in my life I realized and felt exactly how he loves me – as only a father can love his eldest, firstborn son.
It’s an amazing, surreal gift that has God designed for me – having both my son and my dad share the same birthdate. Every time July 26 happens, I get swathed with existential nostalgia.
Happy birthday Papa! Thank you for your expressive love, vulnerability, and your playfulness. I realize the way I love my children now stems closely to how you loved me growing up. Thank you for showing me how to treat others like myself. (won’t ever forget the time when I was a kid when you went down and helped that man)
Happy birthday to my son! My ultimate wish for you is that you get to know God and love Him. Well, perhaps I can also wish that you get out of your angry birds phase. It has been three years.
To my Father in Heaven, thank you for loving me so uniquely and intensely through these two people. Through them, I get a glimpse of just how much You love me. I love You more than anything.