On my 18th birthday and fancy watches

I didn’t have a grand celebration for my 18th birthday which I kind of regretted not asking for. I know being the celebrant in your own birthday party isn’t that much fun with all the costume changes, make-up, walking from table to table in heels to take pictures… wait, what am I saying? Being the attention whore that I am, the sore feet (from walking) and cheeks (from smiling all night) would definitely be worth it.

Anyway, instead of having a big party for my debut, my parents told me I could have a small gathering with friends at our house. It was pretty uneventful. I wore this barely-fitting polo shirt that my dad gave me. He probably still saw me as his (literally) little daughter because those polo shirts were tight as fuck. I couldn’t sit down without having the makings of my big belly protrude in a very unattractive way.

I didn’t get a lot of gifts. Not that I’m holding a grudge or anything, but I vaguely remember my only gifts being a cool printed t-shirt, a key chain with the UP seal on one side and my name on the other,  and a green wallet. I have always taken such good care of these gifts and I still remember who they’re from. So don’t worry, guys. You will never be forgotten by me.

Even my girlfriend (at the time) didn’t give me a gift. Now that was disappointing. Looking back, I guess she knew that our relationship was doomed and she didn’t want to get my hopes up by giving me a gift. Which is total bullshit now that I think about it. I mean, how hard is it to buy a cliche and weird looking stuffed toy from the department store? How hard is it to write a freaking letter???? On a post-it?!

I’m going to stop arguing with myself about this and move on to the point of this story. The most precious gift I received that day was–no, it isn’t something abstract like love or wisdom–a gold wristwatch from my parents.

The watch was one of those clip on watches my parents had themselves. Do you guys know what I’m talking about? I tried googling what you call those kind of watches but I came up empty. To help you imagine it, it’s how Rolexes are locked in place. You just wear it in your wrist and snap the lock in place. For me, wearing watches like that meant that you’re very posh and very adult.

I can still remember my heart skipping a beat and getting choked up with emotion after I opened the box. I don’t know why, exactly. Sometimes, I think it’s because it’s their way of saying: “You’re an adult now. And because of this, here’s an expensive gift to express our trust that you will not lose it. May this always remind you of your loving parents and coming home on time.”

I was never cheesy with my parents so I tried to disguise my emotions with an airy “Awww, wow ganda ah!” as if it wasn’t a big deal for me.

I was always a daddy’s girl. Still am. And I know that he understood what my offhanded thanks really meant.

Writing 101, Day Twenty: The Things We Treasure For our final assignment, tell the tale of your most-prized possession. If you’re up for a twist, go long — experiment with longform and push yourself to write more than usual.

This is the first time I looked at my 18th birthday on a positive note since a very long time. There’s still a lot of pretty embarrassing stories from my 18th birthday celebration still untold. Maybe some other time. 🙂


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