Top left: Athelstan & Mom, 1986; Top right: circa 1995;
Bottom left: 1999, Bottom right: 2007
Twenty-five years ago the most wonderful thing to happen in a woman’s life (bar none, I insist) happened to me. I had my firstborn son. His father named him Athelstan, after an ancient English king. I had added the name Emil in honor of his paternal grandfather, Emiliano.
For a time he didn’t have a proper nickname. Everyone called him Athelstan in its various Visayan permutations, but none was ever officially his nickname until we started calling him Pakluy, when he was around four years old. The pakluy is a Visayan term for a bird whose scientific name escapes me right now but I was told it’s a very noisy bird, which is why we named him after it.
The eldest child is always privileged, he earns the oohhs and ahhhs of his parents, awed by his first baby steps, his first words, the first book he reads on his own. He becomes, whether he desires it or not, the standard by which all other siblings are measured. He is, whether he likes it or not, the first thing that comes into his mother’s head when the word “baby” is mentioned. His mother worries, whether it embarrasses him or not, what happens to him and how his life turns out.
I wrote about him once, here, a long time ago. It may be scrambled eggs time again, but thanks to the Internet and mobile phones we can still eat virtual scrambled eggs together.
Happy birthday Athelstan Emil.