“Can a mother forget her infant, be without tenderness for the child of her womb?” Isaiah 49:15
It was my high school graduation and being awarded as honorable mention, I was to march to the recognition with my mother. It was the teenage in me which prevailed. I left my mother, who was fully dressed for the occasion, I ignored her as the march was about to start. I marched alone. My mother cried and was very angry at me after what happened. Telling me why I was ashamed to march with her, my mother. All I can do was to say was one word – Sorry.
Her name is Elena. She walked with all of her ten children all of her life. When I came home from school or work, she smelled paksiw (a Filipino fish meal cooked in vinegar) because she tired herself preparing everything for us. She brought us to church and afterwards to the barber. Her good time is to be with her children plus plates of pancit palabok. She understood my mistakes. She disciplined us to keep our morals. She gave her all the time even I was selfish to give her back. She had this knack for what is good for us because this what she wants for us. She toiled day and night for us to keep up with education. She taught us to do hard work and harvest. She did not reach that far because she allowed us to reach farther.
Her name is Africa. She was the second mother of the house. An older sister of our father, she stayed with us until her last breath. She outlived our parents, and became our father-mother in one package. I can count with my fingers the times she raised her voice in anger because we disobeyed. She had only deep anger for the female antagonist of Marimar. She provided selflessly for us beyond our expectations. My brothers started and finished their college courses all with her aid. My children were born with her resources at hand. We run to her in times of need. She gave more and received less.
Her name is Belinda. When we came to the USA, motherhood became her career. She cooked, she cleaned, she does laundry, and she ironed clothes and care for her daughters. I know she is adjusting to her calling for now but she accepts it with gladness. It may be hard for her but she depends not on her own but on God’s grace. I was worried because she does not know how to cook but nowadays when there is a Filipino party, her bulalo (beef soup) and palitaw (Filipino dessert) are most requested. She learned how to do laundry in a small washer or even go to a laundry shop. She spends most of her time with her daughters which tires her but brings out the best in her. She is struggling but she is a mother.
Mothers walk with their children. They are friends and companions for life. And when we walk with them, they cheer for us, their children. They push us for the best. They will never forget their infants. In a mother’s life, her works and words are anchored for their children. A mother’s tenderness is from womb to tomb.
Mothers march with their children. Children march with your mothers. All we can do is say – Thank you.