Today, I celebrated my 12th May 2 birthday.
Many people ask me, what’s the story behind my May 2 birthday? Here it is.
My pre-meditated “accidental” birthday
I joined the first batch of Gurong Pahinungod volunteer teachers in April, summer of 1998. Our group of 10 from UP Diliman, Baguio and Manila were taking courses at the college of Educ to prepare us for our year in the barrios.
On the first week of class, (in retrospect, probably on April 1) a sheet of paper was passed around to gather directory information. When I looked through the list, I noticed there wasn’t anybody celebrating his/her birthday that summer. Oh, that would have been a missed opportunity for bonding. I knew very well how birthday celebrations can bring together a team.
Fast forward to a month later (and it was reaaalllly fast). It was May 2 and we just wrapped up our morning class. My GP teammates were insistent that we go out for lunch together. I had other plans as I was giving a presentation after lunch. I wanted to have a quick lunch and prepare for my presentation. They tried, but they couldn’t get me to join them. Lunch came and went.
Now I was in our afternoon classroom and was getting ready for my presentation. Then trooped in my teammates, all looking disappointed and defeated. We went through the class unremarkably.
And THEN they brought in a cake! And started singing “Happy Birthday Edong”!
Boy, was I SURPRISED! Surprised like a guilty cat! I’m sure they were surprised that I was surprised! Then with a lot of teasing, they began recounting how “dense” I was at not getting it that they had something planned for my birthday celebration over lunch. The couldn’t understand why I didn’t join them for lunch on my birthday! Hahaha! I wasn’t dense, I was oblivious! Hindi lang nila alam!
I couldn’t break the news to them, they were having so much fun. Typically, I’d have fun too, but their birthday preparation was waaaay more than I could humbly accept.
When I couldn’t take my secret anymore, I brought my teammate, Rhea, to one side of the corridor and spilled the beans. May 2 wasn’t my real birthday! I listed it as such just to bring together the team. And this wasn’t going as planned, with the cake and icecream and all … oh, I forgot, there wasn’t any plan, at least from my side! It was all their plan.
I can’t remember how I broke the news to the rest of the team. What I remember is that I owed them big time!
To make amends with the team for the prank I pulled on them, I had to treat them for lunch around a week later.
From then on, we had an inside joke, referring to “May 2” as “bola” or “drawing”. So if somebody’s pulling our leg, we’d say “May 2 ka naman, eh!”.
The tradition lives on
For many years thereafter, our batch of GPs together with the subsequent batches would gather on May 2 to have a little picnic or a lunch together. We’d share the story to the younger ones. And of course, I would take a bigger share of the bill.
It was all fun. I got what I had envisioned afterall. An experience that brought our team closer together. And a tradition that had been passed on through generations of GPs.
At least our team, the first batch of GPs, continues the tradition. We meet on May 2 to celebrate not just my birthday but our friendship which now spans 12 years. Last year, we had lunch at Dex and Grace’s home.
Tonight, I got a text from my teammates. While I am in Baguio, my team mates Rhea, Match, Grace and Dex were having dinner together at Chocolate Kiss in UP Diliman in celebration of my May 2 birthday. That was sweet!
The accidental tradition lives on!
More than just a fun day
May 2 for me has become more than just a prank or a tradition.
May 2 for me is a celebration of life and the blessings God bestows upon me.
May 2 means I don’t need to wait for an occasion to celebrate. I make an occasion and celebrate. Heck, I don’t even have to have an excuse to celebrate. I celebrate life with all its ups and downs, all its joys and its sorrows, all its blessings and challenges.
May 2 is a reminder that life is short and we might as well celebrate what we have today.
Celebrate! For this breath will not last forever. Our good God offers us every possible blessing that we deserve as a Child of God.
everyday is a birthday!