"Sorry son, that's all we have now."
I witnessed how my friends celebrated their birthday. A small feast with the children like me invited. It was painful. I could tell how my friends were so happy during their birthday. While me, I only had spaghetti as a sign it's my birthday. I felt jealous of my friends having this kind of birthday celebration.
"It's fine mom."
Even a 10-year-old boy like me understood how hard my mother raised me alone. She has been a single mom since then. I understood how tough it was.
"It's delicious mom."
Actually, I lied. I showed her a smile but my tears never stopped falling.
"Thank you, mom. You alone on my birthday is more than enough."
My mom cried so hard while hugging me.
"Don't worry son. Mother will go abroad soon to give you a better life."
I had no idea back then what she told me. I just ignored it and we continued eating.
"Happy Birthday Gerald."
One of my classmates in college greeted me. I'm living in a boarding house near my school. I'm in college already and it has been 8 years since I had my birthday with my mom. After that birthday I celebrated with my mom. She went abroad to work. I am living alone and thanks to my mother I have a better life compared to before.
"Wait, are you crying Gerald? Was my greeting that emotional?"
A joke with my friend. My classmates are both laughing.
"I just remember a fun movie that I couldn't help but cry."
I gave him a foolish answer.
I decided to celebrate it in our boarding house where my board mates and classmates are there. My mother sent me money and love just to make sure I have the happiest birthday. Although, she didn't know that she's the one I need on this kind of occasion.
"How are you son? How's your birthday?"
Mother called me through a video call.
"You're crying again. Don't do that. You know that I miss you so much."
If I just can tell her how much I miss her. How desperate I am to have her on this day.
"Sorry mom, I'm just thankful for everything because of you."
I wiped my tears so I will not make my mother very sad.
"Okay son, it's morning here and I have so much work to do. I just wanted to greet you and want to see you happy on your birthday."
"Thank you mom--"
I didn't continue what I wanted to say because she suddenly cut the call. My chest feels so heavy not to be with mom during my birthday. We were always together before but now it's difficult because she's working abroad.
"Hello? Who is this, please?"
A call from my mobile phone.
"This is from the Department of Foreign Affairs. I need you to come to our office A.S.A.P."
From the word A.S.A.P. I feel bothered and I sensed something bad. It's from DFA and of course, they're in charge of the people who work abroad.
I rushed in going to their office with a nonstop fast heartbeat. When I arrived at the office my face was frowning. I didn't make a voice but my tears were already falling. After a year of my birthday, my mother looks so pale sitting in a wheelchair.
She barely recognized me. According to the people who are in charge there. My mother had fatigue and this was the result. Most of her body is not functioning well. She can't walk or talk because of the tension in her body.
"My poor hard-working mother looks so pathetic." In my thoughts, while hugging her.
I brought her home immediately. We now have a home thanks to her. Thankfully, I finished my studies already. I was thinking of searching for a job so that my mother will stop working. Since she's like this I canceled my plans and focused my time on my mother.
"Mom, this house came from your hard work."
I said it when I pushed her to sit in a wheelchair. She didn't answer me but I thought I saw her glimpsing.
"Mom, here's spaghetti. It's not my birthday but we can eat it anytime. Thanks to you we have food like this."
She still didn't answer but I saw tears falling. I couldn't help myself not to cry. My mother became like this because of me. I keep on wiping my tears as I'm feeding her.
I didn't send her to the hospital. I sent her to a herbalist instead. According to the people there, the Doctor will not find a cure for an illness like this. I brought her to the sea to swim because the sea can help as well. I also treated her with some herbal plants. I sacrifice everything just to make sure my mother will be fine. I still believe that my mother will be back to normal.
It's almost a year already and I can tell she's going better compared to before. Although every day of taking care of my mother is a bit tiring. I didn't know but I was suddenly unconscious while sitting outside our house.
"Today is your birthday. Today you own the day."
I heard someone singing. When I woke up it's early in the morning. Of course, I'm worried about mom since no one is taking care of her if I will not be around. I ignored the singing because I was more concerned about my mother. I went to her room, dining room, and everywhere in the house. I became so uncomfortable because I couldn't see mom. I just decided to go outside to find her.
A sweet smiling face meets my eyes. The pretty woman whom I knew since I was born is in front of me. The one who always cried because it's my birthday.
I cried running towards her. She's standing while smiling towards me. She's holding spaghetti in her palm. I couldn't believe what I was seeing right now.
I'm like a child crying on the shoulder to my mother. I sobbed as she's rubbing my head and said.
"My sweet little boy."
She hugs me tightly.
"Happiest birthday son. Thank you for everything."
I smile while crying staring at her.
I forced myself to speak.
"Thank you, mom."
"Oh, don't cry too much. It's not just spaghetti food you have today."
She said to make fun of me.
I stopped crying and we both went inside the house. I'm clinging to her like a little child. I then keep on talking about what happened during my studies. I told her about the savings I saved when she sent me money. It will be used to build a small store so that she will not be bored at home. We keep on talking and smiling like it's the first time we have.