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How did I get here?

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Seventeen years ago, I barely turned 20 and was expecting my first child. It was a scary, exciting and uncertain time for me and my husband. We had each other and on the sideline we had our family but in reality, it was just the two of us.

Maria Viel Patricia was born at 3pm on a Saturday afternoon after over 12 hours of labour. Her name has a story, as do my other children. I always wanted Maria in a girl’s name, due to being raised Catholic I think. So at the last minute when my husband had to register the birth with the clinic, I asked him to add Maria in front of the names we had already chosen.

Corazon Aquino was in the last few months of her presidency then. Photographs of her family showed one of her daughters was called Viel. I liked the name and it stuck with me, plus it began witha V so I made a promise to myself that if I had a daughter I will name her Viel.

When I was a freshman in high school, one of my closest friends was called Pia Patricia Marie. Sadly I lost touch with her at the end of that year and never been able to get back in touch since. There was a bit of history with her which makes me really wish that I could find her and catch up. And tell her that I borrowed her name and gave it to my first daughter.

Today, Viel turned 17.

How did I get here? How, at 37, did I become mother to a young lady who despite the usual rebellious things any teenager goes through is a good girl and has the capacity to give so much? Surely it had nothing to do with me, right?

It’s sad that we are not with her to celebrate this day. We spoke on the phone, wished her well and promised to see her real soon. I know she would be shedding a few tears over this fact but it will be tears filled with hope. She has her studies to take care of and I know that, while it is cruel, it helps her keep busy and takes her mind away from the sadness that our little family is not under one roof.

I know you’re reading this, anak. Happy birthday. We’ll see you real soon. Be good always. Love you. Miss you.

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