Tag Archives: birthdays

Happy birthday Ma!

27 Jan

I seriously need to go home.

Not because there’s a family emergency…well, in a way this is an emergency.  I’m running out of photos of my mom to post on her birthday!  I’ve just posted a poem on Facebook in honour of my mom’s birthday and I had to look through my photos to find a picture that I hope will be something she approves of.

My mom sort of hates having her photo taken because she says that she doesn’t know how to smile for photos.  I don’t think she’s ever used the word weird, but she’s always said that she doesn’t look good in pictures.  I disagree.  My mom looks good in photos when she doesn’t try to look good!  Like every child, they think their mother is the most beautiful woman in the world and I am definitely not any different.  Her university graduation photo is one of my favourite photos.  I’m fairly sure my dad took one look at her and went “hubba-hubba!” (the fact that she trained in his lab makes me want to wiggle my eyebrows at my dad! hahahaha!).

I miss my mom.  I miss watching her watch the tv at an angle (she doesn’t look at the telly directly for some reason!  she’s always done so, for as long as I can remember).  I miss how she cries at everything (yes, she will cry at a Hallmark or a Kodak commercial!).  I miss her gentle smile and her gentle touch and how she fusses over us when we’re ill.  I miss her cooking, especially when she makes a huge production (when I was little, every Saturday morning, she would make coconut macaroons and Sunday evenings were creme caramel evenings!).  I miss watching her glasses slip down her nose when she’s reading something intently.  I miss the sound of her voice, even when she’s telling me off for not doing something she’s asked me to do (as mothers are wont to do).  Most of all, I miss her hugs.  I think I miss them the most now because I’m ill and want to be taken cared of, tucked in bed, and fed and given 7Up.

Today is my mom’s birthday and I’m not with her.  I miss her.  I know she misses me terribly.  I hope she knows that there is nothing that I want more in this world than to be able to hug her and wish her happy birthday in person!

Happy birthday Mama!

Happy birthday Mom!


Happy birthday Lolo!

7 Nov

I woke up this morning instantly remembering that it would have been my Lolo Isiong’s 106th birthday.  I remember him with love and great admiration.  To a lot of people he was a man who fought for the freedom of his country.  To others his contribution to science and development in the Philippines was immeasurable.  But to me, he was a man who loved his family, his wife, his children and adored his grandchildren.

To the man who insisted in teaching me how to tell time at 4 years old, I love you three Lolo!


Brig Gen Florencio A Medina

Lessons my father taught me

27 Oct

Father And DaughterThere are so many things that I learned from my dad.  From the simple and mundane to the earth-shattering.  I know that if  he didn’t share them with me, my life would be so very different and I wouldn’t be where I am now.

He has always insisted that you do not wash your hands with cold water after you’ve been working with your hands for a very long time.  I’ve always followed this advice, until quite recently, since my move to the UK and I think this has contributed greatly to the pain that I am feeling in my hands.

My father taught me how to cook.  I know that, traditionally, cooking lessons come from the mothers.  But I remember when we used to live in a little apartment in Teachers Village in Quezon City, my father used to cook us a really nice tomato soup with veg.  He let me watch while chopped vegetables and stirred the pot.  I now know that that delicious soup was minestrone.

When I was little, he always reminded me to have my head covered in the rain or when it’s cold because if you don’t, you catch a cold.  While scientists have disproved that idea that heat escapes from your head more than any part of your body, I still believe in the wisdom that having your head covered in the rain or in the cold will keep you healthier.

My father taught me how pictures were made.  He has a small dark room in his lab.  When I was little he used to let me come with him to work and he used to show me how he developed the pictures of the chromosomes that he took for karyotyping.  He showed me how the developer chemicals were mixed and how each roll of film was processed.  He even let me print a photo and helped me place it in the trays with developing chemicals properly so that the picture appeared, almost as if by magic.  It was very exciting for a 5-year old to know!

My father didn’t teach me how to drive; I went to a driving school for that.  But after I’d learned the basics, it was his backseat driving that taught me the importance of being alert and driving defensively, as opposed to driving offensively.  I’d like to think I’m a safe and smooth driver—and I drive a manual transmission car!

My father taught me to appreciate languages.  He speaks Hebrew, German, French, Spanish, Portuguese, Italian, a smattering of Russian (I think), and a sprinkling of Chinese and of course English and Filipino.  My father’s love of languages and his constant encouragement of our interest in learning languages have equipped us immensely.  When you understand the difficulties in direct translation because the nuances are lost, you are more inclined to be understanding of the people you speak to be cause you understand how easy it is for the intended message to be lost in translation.

My father taught me to about recycling and being resourceful.  In grade school, my dad helped me with my science projects.  When I say “helped,” I mean he built my projects for me. He didn’t buy the bulb fittings and switches from a hardware store and simply wired them up.  He taught me about conductors and fashioned the bulb fittings and switches from old milk cans.  He explained to me how the circuits worked, so that when I was asked about my submissions, I could explain them in my own words.  I felt really proud bringing in my school projects because they weren’t like everyone else’s.  They looked very original.

My father taught me to work hard and to make sure I tried to do my very best at everything I did.  He believed in my abilities and pushed me very hard to achieve at school.  I remember once, when I brought in my report card and I got a 97% grade a school grading period on a subject, which I think was English, my father pointedly asked me where the other 3% was.  I was flabbergasted because 97% was a very high grade and why couldn’t I just get a “well done!” or a “very good!”  I didn’t understand it at the time, but now I completely get it.  He knew what I could do and he knew that if I set my mind to it, I would be able to achieve more than I had thought possible.  I’ve learned to push myself hard now, to make sure that when I do something, it’s done to the best of my abilities.  I think that has allowed me to accomplish the things that I have done, so far.

This collection of lessons doesn’t even begin to scratch the surface of the things that my father has taught me, in word and in deed.  The most important lesson he has taught me is the lesson of love.  This man would do everything possible for his family.  He would forego eating his favourite meal if it meant that he would be able to share it with us.  He has made sure that he has been able to provide everything possible for us.  I don’t imagine us to be wealthy, but we certainly have not gone without and we have not grown up wanting anything that was important.  He has made sure that we did not want for opportunities to better ourselves.  And even now, even when his children are grown up and adults, he never fails to encourage us to continue to work hard, he never fails to be someone we can lean on.

I am blessed to have him as my father.

Happy birthday Abba!

Happy birthday Duckie!

5 Oct


It is my baby sister’s birthday today!

I’ve been writing and rewriting (as much as my hands allow me to) this tribute to my dearest little sister for weeks now but my heart fills with so much love that it is difficult to put into words the wealth of emotion that fills me.  In lieu of actually writing, I rang her last night to greet her a very happy birthday to which she sleepily replied, “Happy birthday to you too!”

When she was born, she was my walking, talking, crying, eating (and oh, how she loved to eat!) doll.  Her baby hair was silky and straight and was lovely to practice my braiding skills on, and when asked she would sit beautifully still.  I remember being in awe of this little girl who taught herself how to read.  It was amazing!  At four years old, she sat herself down, opened one of the broadsheet newspapers and started reading.  It wasn’t just reading the words out loud, this little dynamo understood what she was reading!  How she managed to do that is still, and will probably always be, a mystery.

This girl has never shied from expressing her opinions.  I can’t remember how old she was, I think she was eight or nine, when we went to watch a Repertory Philippines production of Into The Woods.  It was the scene where  Cinderella’s Prince seduces the Baker’s Wife.  The prince sings “…Let us meet the moment unblushed/Life is often so unpleasant/ You must know that as a peasant/ Best to take the moment present/ As a present for the moment..” and as his voice fades, my little sister, into the quiet stillness of the theatre (despite the obvious scene of infidelity, the scene was strangely poignant), declares quite audibly, in obvious disgust, “YUCK!!!”  And I kid you not, very nearly the whole theatre turned round to find out where that loud commentary came from!

To my dearest, dearest Duckie, my clever girl, have a wonderful Wednesday (did you know you were born on a Wednesday?).  I hope the recitation goes well!  I wish I could hug you tight and celebrate your birthday with you.  You deserve the choicest of the Lord’s blessings on your very special day.

A sister’s love is special
in oh so many ways
Now miles stretch between us
and minutes turn to days.

We’ve shared so much as children
the tears, the joys, the pain
A lifetime spent together
those memories remain.

In times gone by we’ve pondered
the paths our lives have taken
Knowing that in spite of this
our sister love unshaken.

A sister’s love is special
in ways that are unspoken
Still that binding force exists
our sister love unbroken.

Happy birthday Aryeh!

4 Aug

To my dearest big little brother (ahem!),

Fighting, biting and scratching, our childhood went by,
I will always love you even if you keep making me cry,
This goes, to a brother whom I love the most,
On your birthday, to our friendship, here’s a toast!
Happy birthday my dearest boy!
I love you and miss you terribly!

And because I can’t bake you a real cake, have a virtual cinnamon roll, on me! 🙂

Ooey Gooey Cinnamon Roll!

Happy birthday you! :)

18 Jul

Someone very special is celebrating his birthday today.  And while he does (sometimes) count his presents like Dudley Dursley does, he does deserve every single present and more!

Best Birthday
by Joanna Fuchs

It’s your birthday…
and I’m thinking how glad I am
that you were born.
You have given me so much–
supported me, encouraged me,
cared for me; I didn’t even need to ask.
I celebrate your wonderful self!
I am in awe of your boundless generosity,
your infinite kindness–that gentle inner glow
that you so freely use to warm my life.
Your birthday is as much a celebration for me
as it is for you, maybe more,
and I wish for you the best of birthdays,
the best one ever.
May each birthday be better than the last.
Most of all, I hope you will always be
As happy as you have made me.

Happy birthday Lola Gening!

17 Jul

My much-loved Lola Gening would’ve been 106 years old today.  I found this poem by Donna C Elkins online.  I think this puts into words my memories of my Lola and how her life has shaped me.  It’s called Grandma’s Lil Girl.  Of course I changed it a bit to fit me.

Lola, I was thinking of you today and a smile tickled my face.
Remembering all the things you taught me, like always to say grace.
I remember sitting in your lap while you read the Bible out loud,
To hear me sing a gospel song made you so proud.
I thought of those Saturday mornings I watched them fix your hair,
I remember crossing the street and hearing GIRL YOU BETTER STOP RIGHT THERE!!!
I remember the goodness you instilled in me though’ sometimes it doesn’t show,
You played a very special part in my life and I thought that you should know….
My childhood is filled with memories of you that you couldn’t buy with all the gold in the world,
And even though’ I am all grown up, at heart I will always be LOLA’S LIL’ GIRL!!!

Today is also my Kuya Werner’s birthday.  I can only hope that his birthday was very blessed and very happy!  🙂