In my time, (until today), most Filipino young girls dreamt of having a fabulous début, a special kind of party with all the splendid trimmings to mark their “grand entrance” into the world of adults, celebrated when they turn 18. A social rite of passage.
Just like many of my friends in school, I also had that kind of dream — yet as I was nearing my 10th birthday, somehow I felt a débutante’s ball would not be feasible, what with my mother about to give birth to the 9th and youngest in the family.
But surprise of all surprise, on my 13th birthday, my parents threw me a simple get-together with my friends at home. For me, that already corresponded to my dream of having a ‘coming out’ celebration, making me tickled pink, my heart overflowing with love and gratitude. My wish fulfilled.
Thus each birthday since, a début was no longer part of my girly wish for my special milestone because for a wallflower like me, except for the music, dancing and the like were not exactly my slice of cake. Having a boyfriend was more like it!
Yet, mine was a début like no other, for it was a simple day out with my mother as we ventured on a food trip out of town. So that meant riding on a commuter train. And being the 2nd time ever in my life, that sent me into visions of the train rolling luxuriously across the metro, with landscapes blurring past us.
Even so, the ride itself was not particularly impressive; more grown up now, since I first took the train when I was still a child, it just felt like being transported on a bus, not on a plane – so nothing really special about it at all.
Yet the thrill that filled me plus my fanciful musings were enough to kick off with much anticipation my bonding time with Mom on that day I turned 18. As the morning breezed into the late afternoon sun, and as we feasted on the variety of local foods from different regions of the country, the more I felt it was my best birthday ever – my tummy full, my heart overflowing with happiness, and it didn’t matter that I still felt like a little girl inside.
Time has flown into my golden age, my days will in a few more years become the colors of autumn, my beloved Mom now recently passed, yet – rather, especially because of her- the memory of my eighteenth birthday will forever be lovingly, hauntingly etched in my heart!
How about you, did you ever have a debut, or a ‘coming-of-age’ party? Tell me about it in the comment box below.