four years


My nephew Francisco blew out the candles on his birthday cake last week. There were two sets of four—one from each grandmother—so we stuck all eight into the frosting, because we could. He sang along, clapped his hands, and squealed in delight when he was finally given a huge piece of cake; dessert has always been his favorite part of the day. Minutes later, there was chocolate on his teeth and chin and lips. "You look funny," I told him. He replied, "You're funny, Ninang Marla." Everyone in that room adored him. We were sure of it. And although four years is probably not a long time in the grand scheme of things, it is enough to remind us of the joys of family, of the nobility and necessity of looking out for one another, of all the love we are capable of giving and receiving. Happy birthday, handsome boy. Life awaits.