The very first sign that I felt when I got pregnant with Vinny was I could not stand the smell of the perfume of my officemate. It was making me dizzy, it gave me a headache and na susuka ako sa amoy.

I was working for an offshore U.S. Airline, America West Airlines. Our office was in Rada st. in Legaspi Village. I was 29 years old.

The smell of the perfume of my officemate was too strong for me that I could smell her the minute she enters the building where our office was. Nasa labas pa lang sya na aamoy ko na sya.

I knew there was something wrong with me. I was also constipated.

I told my good friend, Noemi, who I was very close with at that time. She brought me to her OB-GYN in Makati Medical Center (I did not have an OB-GYN then). She brought me to Dra. Borromeo (who eventually became my doctor and she was the one who delivered my 3 babies).

Positive. I was 3 weeks pregnant.

I was too sick to even processed it in my head. When I got home I told TB. And I was thinking, shit, I need to tell Mom and Dad. I was not married with TB at that time, we were just living together.

So, I booked a flight to Cebu the very next day. Before going to the airport TB and I went to his parent’s house in Forbes Park. No one was there except my stepmother in law (his father and nana had left for the office already) (Nana is TB’s spinster Aunt who lives with my FIL and she is TB’s second Mom. She was the one who took care of TB ever since he was a baby). So, we told her and she asked me how many months and I said 3 weeks. She asked us to have lunch there but we didn’t have time ‘cos I had a flight to catch.

When I arrived in Cebu I could not tell Mom & Dad. I just couldn’t. The wife of my brother just gave birth and Mom and Dad were so in love with the new baby. I fell in love with the baby too. I did nothing when I was in Cebu but took care of the baby. This baby was Rhian’s Papa Andot.

After a week it was time for me to go back to Manila. I just could not tell Mom and Dad yet. I got scared. When I left Cebu I brought with me the baby’s baby blanket so I can smell him with me. I missed him so much when I was back in Manila and I would smell his baby blanket all the time.

The day after I arrived in Manila I called Mom long distance (di pa uso ang cellphones) and told her straight the minute she said hello: “Mom, I’m pregnant.” Silence. And she said: “maayo hinuon Tin.” – Good Tin.

Whew!

All systems go. Both sides already know. I can focus now on my pregnancy. I had to stop working ‘cos my morning sickness was so bad. My boss also told me to rest and not work anymore and to come back after I give birth. Gusto ko ng kalbuhin yung officemate ko dahil sa amoy nya. It went too far that I told her: “stop wearing cheap colognes! Nakaka suka!” She got so pissed at me and told me her cologne is imported. hahaha.

I was not ready for Vinny. I had so many plans yet. I still want to go disco in Faces every weekend. hahaha. Seriously, I was not prepared to be a Mom. I did not know how. I did not even know how to cook.

But what can I do? But accept this bundle of joy God surprised me with.

Today is Vinny’s birthday and he turns 28. I remember very well the very first time I saw him. The very first time I touched him. I was in love. Ibang level.

Vinny and I went through so much from then on… it was tough. Very tough. But hey, things are so much better now. And we had Vito and Claudia a few years after.

There is this Barbra Streisand’s song that is my most favorite among all her songs. And every time I hear this song, it reminds me of Vinny and how having him changed my life. This is what I felt the first time I saw his face.

 this is my tribute to him today, on his birthday.

With one more look at you
I knew I could learn to tame the clouds
And let the sun shine through
Leave a troubled past and I will start anew

I’ll solve the mysteries if you’re the prize
Refresh these tired eyes

With one more look at you
I might overcome the anger
That I learned to know
Find a peace of mind I lost so long ago

Your gentle touch has made me strong again
And I belong again

For when you look at me
I’m everything and more that I had dreamed I’d be
My spirit feels a promise
I won’t be alone

We will love and live more
Love and live… forever

With one more look at you
I’d learn to change the stars and change our fortunes too

I’d have the constellations paint your portrait too
So all the world might share this wondrous sight
The world could end each night
With one more look at you
I want one more look at you…

Watch closely now
Are you watching me now
How high can I go?
You’re comin’ with me, I’m gonna show you how
When it’s scary, don’t look down
Maybe I’m takin’ me too many chances
With no net at all
Maybe I’ll teach you at least that you’ve
Got to be free when you fall
Watch closely now
Are you watching me now?
I’m setting you free
From the lies you’ve been told
When they’re breaking your back
Bring your last straw to me
I turn straw into gold
I’m gonna need you later,
When you’re not around
But I can take it
I just won’t look down
Happy birthday my love, Mom
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