the surprise

Tomorrow is my mother’s 64th birthday. Last night my sis and I, chatting over Yahoo Messenger, toyed with the outrageous idea of me making a weekend trip to Davao to surprise our Ma . Surely, it would be the ultimate surprise for her in recent years.

We debated on the feasibility of the Surprise. I had heard that an airline was offering big discounts on flights to Visayas and Mindanao. But a quick visit to its website revealed otherwise. Either the promo period had already elapsed or they’re not publishing the promo rates online.

Me: May kilala ka ba sa Cebu Pacific?
Sis: Si Lance Gokongwei, pero di nya ako kilala. Hehe.

I had to decide quickly. The online reservation process stipulated a lead time of at least 48 hours before desired departure; otherwise the normal (read: more expensive) rates would apply. So I began doing arithmetic to assess my capacity to finance the Surprise. It could be done, my mental spreadsheet proclaimed. Sis offered to shoulder part of the cost but demanded that I arrive on Friday, the day of Ma’s birthday, instead of my proposed early Saturday. (Impossible to take a leave from work on Friday as I had scheduled important, long-oeverdue meetings.)

More exchanges on YM. ‘Smilies’ galore—frowning, grinning, guffawing, raising eyebrows….

We agreed that my showing up at the front door barely a month after the December holidays would definitely be something that our mother—queen of prudent spending and certified no-nonsense haggler—would find surprising, largely in its impracticality. I suspect that the minute I rear my pimply face at the front door—all-smiles and possibly peeking through a bouquet of flowers—the initial reaction of my mother would be to generate a mental list of 101 more practical ways to spend the money I dished out for airfare!

In the end, practicality prevailed. I would have loved to pull off the Surprise, but instead I have now decided to use the money to help my sis get Ma something useful: a digital blood pressure reader. It won’t be as fun as the Surprise, I know. But I really hope it will say the same thing to her:

“Ma, we love you todo-todo. Happy Birthday.”

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