Sixteen years ago, Alex and I sat on one of the benches at the UST Tinoko Park. The sun was beginning to set and suddenly, we asked each other, "Anong anniversary natin?"
Initially, we thought of April 1, but decided on April 3. So that sealed our relationship.
Sixteen years is such a long time. We had chicken pox, tooth extractions, car accidents, pregnancy scares, miscarriages, heated arguments, among others. I'm sure Alex will agree that there were times we were ready to give up and "isauli na ang isa't isa sa kani-kaniyang magulang."
There were years when I looked so panget and unattractive, but I didn't know it at that time. I was busy being a mother and a career woman that I did not pay attention to my physical appearance. These are the same years that, if only for that "mistake" on my part (if you could call it that), I would either forget and throw away to the nearest memory bin, deadma na lang; OR store somewhere in my mind to keep me from being kampante. Those were the years I have lost and can never regain. Ewan ko. Pero minsan, pinipilosopo ko na lang and tell myself, you cannot lose what you did not have (or own) in the first place. May sense ba?
Like any other couple, we have our ups and downs. We have our happy and sad moments. Minsan ok, minsan hindi. Minsan naiisip mo, ganito din kaya yung ibang mag-asawa? Pero minsan, pag may accomplishment naman kami or may bagyong dumaan na kinaya namin, I would pat my own shoulder and say, "Kaya ba nila yan?" I never realized how tough I could be (lesser mortals would not have made it through) and at the same time be soft and forgiving. For this, I can only thank Him.
At the end of the day, I think what matters is that we are still together, we have become better persons, we have learned a lot from our experiences and mistakes, and we have a lot to be thankful for. Kahit parang sirang plaka na ko. On the other hand, sixteen years may be great, but lessons still come and challenges still grow. Nag-aaway pa din kami pero madami na kaming natutunan - that we were really meant for each other and that kahit baligtarin pa ang mundo, kami pa din. We can argue and have different points of view and interests, but that doesn't mean we love each other less. In the same way that we can be on the opposite sides of an issue but wouldn't debate about it, but that doesn't mean we couldn't care less. Even though we don't always hold each other's hands in public, it doesn't mean we don't, in private. Even if we are in our own respective world sometimes, it doesn't mean we don't think the world of each other.
I also pray that the Lord continue to bless our lives together. Hindi man kami yumaman, matupad lang yung pangarap namin for Caitlin and Caehl, maintain the roof above our heads, maging writers pa din and still be together and grow old together like we promised to ourselves sixteen years ago.
Happy Anniversary, Dadi!
P.S. Happy Birthday, Tito Arnel!