Though it may already be too late for me to write something about my Nanang's birthday (April 13), the thoughts are still as fresh as ever.
I offered a special Mass for Nanang on her birthday. I knew, it was the best gift I could ever give her. Prayers that she will finally be with the Lord in heaven. Wishes that she is happily united with the angels and saints and our family members who have gone ahead to the bosom of the the Father Almighty.
Nanang's birthday is doubly significant for me. A day after is our wedding anniversary with my ever sweet and loving ex-girlfriend. For Nanang, birthdays were always special. I remember those moments when she would text me that she prepared something for my birthday even though I was physically absent in Sanchez Mira. She would text me the special dishes that they prepared for my birthday.
For so many years, even as I could not be physically present in Sanchez Mira on my birthdays because of my work in Bulacan, Nanang always had something for me. Pancit bihon was always on the table. She knew that it was my favorite even when I was yet a kid. All the others would just be garnishings and additional exciting dishes of tinola, pinakbet, kilawen, tinuno, etc. On better days, there would also be imbaligtad or papaitan.
Haayyy... how I miss those days whenever we had special occasions at home. Everybody would have equal share of the best dishes only a loving mother could labor hard for. Arnel, my brother, eventually got his culinary skills from Nanang. Right now, Arnel is our best cook. There's no dish that he could not experiment on. He prepares the best kilawen in town, not to mention his imbaligtad. What about his pa-cham? It has always been my joy to buy the fish or the beef or the carabeef each time that I had a chance to go home. Arnel would prepare them for our sumptuous meals. Nanang taught him the secrets to her culinary art.
Nanang, happy, happy birthday. I miss your special dishes.