Life’s Gifts and Surprises

Another year. Another birthday. Another year older.

As I ponder on my yet another birthday, I cannot deny the fact that I am not getting any younger. In a few more years, I’ll hit the big 5-0. Then not far along, I will be in the retirement age. And I wish to retire early too. Then after that, what? The “golden” years? Somehow this “gold rush” is nothing I want to rush into. Is it really all downhill from here?

But there’s a lot to be thankful for. I have chased my dream and is living it. Nothing more can I ask for. (Or maybe that one dream of being a rock star got away.) I have a wonderful wife. I have two wonderful kids. The kids are grown up and in a few years they will be off to college and off on their own. I am healthy, or I think I am, and I have never felt better. Except for some ache here, and there, and here, and here, and …….Sorry I digress.

Over the years I have received some awesome birthday gifts. A full army fatigue uniform with matching toy machine gun when I was three. Did I tell you I dreamed of being a soldier when I was a small boy? A battery operated toy fighter jet plane that run in circles and spread open its wings, given by my Ninong, when I was six. I love it, even though I wish it could also fly. A red bicycle when I was eleven. I rode that bike until I was in college, and I even spray painted it purple once with the help of my friends. Purple? Don’t ask.

My favorite birthday gifts though are not cool toys, or some preppy clothes, or expensive gadgets. It is far more priceless than that.

About 2 weeks before my 31st birthday, my eldest child, my daughter, was born. It was an early birthday gift really, and it was a marvelous gift. A gift that just gets more precious as the years goes by. What could be a better gift?

Then nine years ago, exactly on my 36th birthday, my youngest child, my son, was born. It is a gift that keeps on giving. Because my son shares the same birthday with me, since then my birthday celebration turned into a children’s party or pushed into a secondary event. But I don’t mind. I don’t mind it at all.

Life begets life. Wonderful gifts of life. Nothing else can top those birthday gifts, right? Well I was proven wrong!

On this most recent birthday of mine, or just about that time, my wife and I had a surprise. It knocked my socks off and sent me into a tailspin! Quite unexpected, but it is a pleasant surprise.

I know I am getting old, but nothing makes you younger than this kind of life changing event. My wife and I may have shock and apprehensions initially, but now it is turning into delightful anticipation.

My two kids are getting excited too, for they know that love is never divided. It only gets multiplied.

The flowers are blooming. The grass is growing. The birds are singing. It is spring time. Life begins again. In diapers.

spring time in our home

Exchange(able) Gifts


Among the gifts that are sitting underneath our Christmas tree, there are two that I know exactly what’s in them. One is a gift of my son to his sister, and the other one is from my daughter to her brother. There might be some more gifts later that I will know, once I start my Christmas shopping. (I have a lot of time yet, right?)

Last week, I accompanied my son and my daughter, on separate occasions, to the mall, as they picked and bought their presents for each other. Even though I gave them recommendations in choosing their gifts, in the end, it was them who made the final decision. I told them to make sure that the present will be liked by the other, and that it is not horribly expensive since they will be paying it with their savings.

After several minutes of wandering in the mall, they found what they wanted. They were very sure of their selection, that they will not change their choice, even if I gently persuade them to look for something else.

I even helped and connived with each one in hiding their gifts from each other, until we can wrap them, and place them under our tree. Now both of them are so excited for each other as they are sure each will like their respective presents. Of course, they are excited to open their own gifts too.

Well, I  am excited too. I cannot wait for Christmas morning and see the surprise in their faces when they open their presents. I know one thing that my kids don’t: they got each other exactly identical gifts!