Two Mother's Days ago, I wrote a post on the lessons that my mom taught me. Re-reading it made me appreciate my mom even more, because now that I am a mom to two kids, I realize how difficult it was for her to raise 5 kids, while her husband, our dad, was away most of the time on field assignment.
Let me tell you about my Mom. She sounds frivolous and out of touch with reality at times, but she taught me so many valuable life lessons, that I will share some with you today aka Pamana ni Nanay:
Marrying for love. One huge thing that I thank my parents for is that they let us grow secure in the fact that they love each other. They have been together for close to 50 years now and they are proof to me that people who love each other will always make it work.
My parents, in their 30s. Taken at their friends' home in Vidalia, Georgia
For one, in this day and age when a long-distance relationship sounds like the scariest thing on earth, my parents carried on a 7 year long-distance relationship (pre-Skype/Face Time/Viber/Whatsapp, etc yan ha) before they tied the knot. I don't know how they managed, but they did. While studying in Manila, she would write long love-letters to my Dad who was then a PMA cadet in Baguio. My dad would reply, writing "newspapers" = letters written in Manila paper with Pentel pen. Telegrams (kids, ever heard of that?) were exchanged. It was romantic stuff. When I was ten, I would pore at their love letters, feeling a mixture of kilig and cringe factor levels. My Mom went on to work in the US for a few years after graduation, before getting married. At the time my Dad was already in Mindanao, living in the jungles, heading a small platoon of soldiers. He would regale us with stories of being in battle, bullets whizzing past his head, he and his soldiers bravely dodging enemy fire, saying it was like a scene from a movie...
Unflinching faith and prayers. If I were in my Mom's shoes, the thought that my fiance was risking life and limb each day would have scared me shitless. But my Mom said she put my Dad in God's hands and prayed and prayed and prayed for his safety every single day. This went on from the time my Dad was a scruffy, ill-fed lieutenant up until my Dad reached the peak of his career as CSAFP. She supported my Dad's dream to be a four-star general, and took the backseat, gamely giving up her career to be an army wife, raising five kids while my Dad was busy serving the country.
Taking on responsibility wholeheartedly. She's the 2nd of four live siblings. Her eldest sister passed away when my Mom was 26, and she suddenly found herself thrust in the role of eldest child. Something that she probably wasn't prepared for, but she stepped up to the plate and took on the responsibility, valiantly. When my grandparents grew old and got sick, she was the one doing the hospital rounds, while managing a household. Even at that, she still found time to drive us to and from school, bringing us piping hot sinigang for lunch, to the envy of my classmates who by then had cold, wrinkly hotdogs in their lunchbox.
Quality over quantity. When I was 7, my Mom, my sister Trina, and I visited my Lola Imas in San Francisco. I remember my Mom only ever shopped twice for herself. One, to buy a strand of Mikimoto pearls and two, to buy a Nikon SLR camera. Quality > Quantity personified. Which reminds me of this lady who was struggling to stuff her bag on the overhead compartment on our flight back to Manila. My Mom tried to help her but she wasn't nice to my Mom because she was being careful daw about the oranges and apples in her carry-on luggage. Baka she had corned beef packed in her maleta too, along with clothes from K- Mart. Uy joke lang ha. Just taking a dig at that nasty woman. Yes, 30 years later and I still can't forget how that lady's mom forgot to teach her good manners and right conduct. Sya na nga tinutulungan, sya pa yung galit. Plus, nobody talks to my Mom like that, ok? Sorry Mom I wasn't able to defend you and give that lady a piece of my mind. I was only 7 then. But I already knew that was no way to treat a stranger, especially one who was only offering to help.
Which leads me to this - we all are a reflection of the people who raised us. And I think, the best compliment a child can ever give a parent is when a child shows his/her appreciation not just in the grandest of gestures but in the sincerest, most heartfelt words ever. Because a grateful child is a constant recipient of God's graces, and will always be a blessing not only to his/her parents but to others as well.
With that, I leave you with this touching video from Ceelin of five children who went beyond their way to show their moms how grateful they are for all the sacrifices and lessons that made them who they are today. Here's what they did to thank them on Mother's Day.
I can only wish my kids will be as proud as me, and will see me not just as a Mom, but a friend whom they can trust and confide in. I hope they will enjoy my company even when they grow into their teens and adult years, and I pray that with our help, they become the person they dream of being, savoring the life they dream of living.