Today is your blessed day. Let me start this letter by greeting you, "Happy Birthday". Wow! I can't believe you turn 40 today. It seemed like it was just yesterday when we were playing (together with our younger brothers) inside our 40-sqm rented apartment in Laguna. That place was our haven, our secret place where we had fun and dreamed together. Honestly, I miss those days. If there was one thing that I really cherish in my childhood days was that the four of us were so close. Mamu really did a good job in raising us, her children.
Alright, back to you... There are so many things I would like to do (not to mention, buy) for you so you would feel happy today. And so many words in my heart that I wish to say to warm your heart. I know I won't be able to tell you these without tears streaming down my cheeks... from my heart to yours. I believe you need to hear these:
You are beautiful inside and out.
When we were still in shorts and shirts, I always looked up to you. What Ate wore, I would like to wear. How Ate looked like, I wanted to look like it too. When people asked, "Who is more beautiful, you or Ate?" My answer was always the same, "Ate po." Because that's true. As we grew up, people may have had different views about how we looked (some said we looked like twins, others said you're prettier while still others found me a tad beautiful than you are, heehee), but in my heart, you're still my beautiful Ate. The reason for this is because I know you are fearfully and wonderfully made by the Lord (Psalm 139:14). You are "you-nique". You are you. There is no other "Jinky" in this whole wide world (or even in the world wide web) with the same DNA strand like yours. Your beauty is beyond skin deep. It's that kind of beauty that enthralls the hearts of many because it comes from within. I pray that you won't let that loveliness be ruined by people whose judgment depends merely on what is seen by the naked eye.
You are smart.
Remember that time during our school days when I was always topping my class while you were, let's say, an average student? You asked me at that time, "Why can't I be like you? Why am I not as intelligent as you are?" I recall to mind that my reply to you was, "Ate, you're smart too. We are smart in different ways." At that time, I didn't know about the Multiple Intelligence Theory yet. Had I known I would have lambasted those people who were comparing us two.
You are body-smart. I could still see you dancing oh so gracefully, captivating the attention of the audience. Someone could just show you the dance steps and you would move like those steps were yours, effortlessly. I could never, ever dance the way you do. Honestly, I envy you. How about those Declamation and Oratorical Contests? You always won. You brought home medals. I never did (just academic medals, heehee).
You are picture-smart. You are an artist. You could draw, color and do those Home Economics projects with ease. You never struggled completing them, I did. It was so easy for you to fulfill all the requirements. The truth is, your only struggle at that time was you were not inspired (or should I say, lazy?) to do it.
You are music-smart. You have a beautiful voice. Given the proper training, I know you will be able to do singing gigs someday, somewhere. So, enhance it. :)
You are a nice and very kind person.
So kind that people take advantage of you. You are known for it. I have never met a person that knows you who has said otherwise. It was always, "Ah si Jinky (Jing), sobrang bait na tao nyan." But you have to know that kindness doesn't mean you don't have to speak up when it is called for. Being nice doesn't always mean you just have to bear the pain, insults and hurts that some people are inflicting or causing you. It's never wrong to stand up and let them know how you feel. It's your right to express what you feel and not be scared of letting them know they cause you pain. Yes, you are a kind person, show them that, but you're not dumb.
You are a sister and friend.
There are sisters and there are friends. You are both. I am just so blessed to be called your younger sister. You have been a very, very good one to me. I still remember that time when all the toys that you had ever wanted were given to you by Lola and I had none; how you always made sure that whatever you had, I had too. Be it toys, dresses, slippers/shoes even jewelries. Wow! Who could ever ask for more? Another instance I recall was when I was in college and you bought this chic and expensive Guess shirt for yourself. You had not worn it and yet you lent it to me and said, "Suot mo muna para okay naman ang itsura mo (Wear it so you'll look good)." Hahaha! You were (and until now) so concerned about the way I look. You want me to be the best in everything. You were my number one fan! Hahaha! And now my number one sponsor, hahaha! You are my sister and my friend rolled into one.
You are here for a purpose.
You were brought forth into this world not by accident. Forty years ago, when Daddy and Mamu fell in love with each other, you were born. However, even before time began, you were already part of God's idea. He knows you. He knows you by name. He has you in His mind as He created the world. In His manifold wisdom He determined the country to place you in (Acts 17:26) and also the family to which you should belong. What's more, He foresees the plans He has for you; plans to prosper you and not to harm you; plans to give you hope and a future (Jeremiah 29:11). You were born with a purpose. So, know that purpose and live it for only you can fulfill it.
There are other "up-worthy" stuff to tell the world about you but I believe what I have enumerated above are enough to make you feel your worth. You are precious to me, to those people who love you and most specially to the Lord who has created you. Your worth is not defined by what negative people are telling about you. Your worth is determined by God who loves you and your family and loved ones who are always here for you.
A blessed and blissful birthday to you, Ate Ganda. This is my little surprise. I may not be able to buy you the most expensive gift on planet Earth but I tell you this post is worth buckets of tears and was written with my heart brimming with love. You are one of God's greatest gifts to me. I could never ask for another Ate than you. I love you and I want the world to know.