“You only turn eighteen once.” Nicole, one of my friends told me after my birthday party.
Several months ago, I was opting for a debutante’s celebration, a big ball that’s usually thrown when a girl turns into a lady at eighteen; the usual ball with 18 of your closest guy friends to offer you a rose and waltz you around the dance floor and 18 of your closest girl friends to give you their birthday wishes and light your 18 candles. The eighteenth birthday of a girl marks her entry to womanhood and is then one of the biggest events in her life, next to that will be her wedding day. I was starting to conceptualize my debut. I thought of a Mafia theme, which would be unique from the other debut themes and instead of the usual 18 roses and candles, I would have another set of 18: the 18 voices. 18 people who will render my 18 most favorite songs. I was thinking of hiring a live band for my birthday and make it as casual as possible.
Then, I changed my mind. I didn’t want a debutante’s ball after all. After being invited to so many debut parties, I realized that it’s actually well, a hassle, if I might say. It looks expensive and too much effort. And I didn’t want to spend so much for something that’s going to end after one night. So, I opted to make a more long-term investment: DSLR. So, in exchange for a grand party on my 18th birthday, I asked my parents to get me a DSLR instead and I got my Nikon D3100 on May 10, ten days before my birthday.
All I wanted for my 18th birthday is a small intimate gathering with my family. I suggested to just eat out at a restaurant, but my mother insisted on ordering the food and insisted on buying me 18 cakes. I said no, because it was already too much, but she’s really stubborn and she told me the same thing Nicole told me, “You only turn 18 once.” She also bought me 18 balloons, rented a karaoke machine and ordered a whole lechon. So, in the end, my plan of a small intimate gathering was upgraded to a small party.
My mom, with my closest friends were actually conspiring (lol for the term) to throw me off my feet by surprise. But I think I’m not the kind of person who’s into surprises because having suspected that there was going to be a surprise got me more anxious than excited. When I arrived home from my sister’s recital, my college friends had already arrived, but not too early enough to finish decorating our living room with balloons and a banner. The moment I stepped in of the house, my friend, instead of yelling, ‘surprise!’ just smiled at me and said, ‘She knew about this naman.’
Then, after dinner, my friends isolated me and everyone went inside the house and left me karaoke-ing alone. My best friend went to fetch me, while I was singing ‘Incomplete’. She ushered me inside my house and ‘Tada!’ the real surprise. Like a real debutant, 18 of my family and friends offered me a single beautiful thornless white rose and with that a heart-warming message. My friends also offered me a 19th rose, a red one that was supposedly from ******* who, unfortunately couldn’t come.
I might be sitting on our living room chair and not on a throne, in my living room and not in a hotel’s grand ballroom, in a newly bought Mental outfit and not in a gown, I still felt like a princess at 18. I really felt the love from my friends and my mother who put so much effort in this, even when I had insisted on something just ordinary.
My friends put so much effort in this. My special thanks to:
Nicole and Miko for organizing this, for trying to communicate with my sister (epic fail there) and to communicate with Dee, my high school best friend.
Nicole and Miko (again) together with Darrel, Sophie, Ken, Jay and Romar for witnessing me on my 18th. In addition to that, together with six others who couldn’t come (Eufeen, Michael, Kate, Wendy, Bea and Mikae), thanks so much for the tripod! (I don’t know if you read my blog posts but I was always stating how I badly need a tripod. Hahaha.) It’s a big milestone for me in pursuing photography as a serious hobby.
Dee, for her so much effort in her handmade present, her video presentation and for asking my old friends to give me their special message. She got Irvin , my childhood friend, Lyssa and Ana to send me a video.
My mother and Ate Vergie for planning the surprise and coordinating with Nicole and Miko.
To my friends: I love you, guys. Thank you for completing my 18 years of existence.
To my mother: Thank you so much for loving me unconditional these years and for rearing me up to who I am now. I love you.