Monday, May 11, 2009

Happy Mother's Day!

My mother gave birth to nine children. I was the fifth of nine. In today's norms, bearing nine children is nearly unthinkable yet that was what my mother went through for the sake of marriage and family life.
My eldest sister I recall, once said that she could never recall mommy not being pregnant. I can imagine what she meant considering she had each of us nearly a year or so apart for over a decade and a half. Mind you, there were in addition to nine the births, two miscarriages and so there were 11 pregnancies all in all.

Mommy was a working mother. She together with my father both had to work long hours so as to provide for all of us. In the mid 50s, she was a government employee straight out of college when she began to work as a teacher at the then UP Prep school in Padre Faura, Manila. She would take public transportation to and from our home in Philamlife Homes Quezon City to get to work. It was a huge sacrifice for her then but she didn't complain much and went through the daily grind ever mindful of the need to work tirelessly in order to help meet the demands of a growing family.

By 1961, with three 4 children and the bills and expenses piling up, my Dad and Mom made the painful decision to give up our Philam Home. We could no longer afford to pay the monthly amortization of a few hundred pesos. We transferred to UP Village, a less expensive community also in Quezon Ciy. It was when we were living in this home when I came into the world in 1963.

In the late 60s, Mom quit her job at the UP and she and my dad put up a pre school in UP Village in Quezon City. The pre school was a house away from the our house in Mahusay street in UP Village. In that sense, we had a huge playground all to ourselves on almost a daily basis as we grew up. She was the directress of the school. She and Dad probably concluded that it would be cheaper to put up a school for the majority of the nine of us than to pay for tuition to enroll us in other pre schools. WE had a huge playground, access to all the books and materials and yes, all the toys!! It was a toy filled, book filled and play area filled growing up years for me and the rest of the nine. 6 of the nine went to this preschool before my parents finally decided to sell it in the late 70s.

The image of the mother in my mind as I was growing up was that of the tireless worker and lifetime partner of my Dad in raising all of us. I recall how we would do the groceries together and then check the bill to ensure that all items were accounted for. I recall how she would decide on the menu for us. I recall how she would bring home food items and snacks as well as candies (although Dad was more into candies than mom) for us all.

What I will always remember about Mom was how she took care of each of us when we were sick and as a young boy I was very sickly and was almost always more often more sick than the others. I had a lot more of growing up ailments compared to my other siblings save for our youngest, I think. So Mom would always be the one to care for us as we lay in bed recovering from a flu or a bout with diarrhea or the measles. The caring for us while we were ill may have left a lasting impression on each of us 9 siblings perhaps because apart from our birthday every year, this was the only other time that we would get extra attention from our parents because the rest of the time considering that we were 9, the attention was always spread around.

And so it was to be, bonding time with Mom as we lay sick in bed. To isolate me or any another who was down with a fever or some ailment, we would be transfered to the Master's bedroom. Mom would give us a sponge bath if the fever was too high. She would take our temperature. Sing in prayer and call on all the saints to grant us the miracle of healing. She would tell us to offer our suffering and pain as we lay ill to Jesus who went through untold suffering and died for us all. Like Dad, Mom was there for us and sacrificed career and personal comforts to raise us all.

The other vivid image of my mom which I have etched in my mind is her prayerfulness. She would like a candle every night without fail and say her prayers as we were growing up. Her religiosity was amazing and legendary. Up until today she spends an hour or so every night to pray for all of us and mentions each by name including all her apos who now number 26.

For all that she had to sacrifice. For all the pain she had to go through to give birth to each of us. For all the hard work she put into ensuring that we were taken care of and our needs met I say thank you Mom for being a hero to us all. Thank you for giving us that much needed boost so that we gained confidence in facing our own challenges.

Happy Mother's Day, Mom. I love you with all my heart!


michael said...

My grandmother passed away two months ago. she raised 11 kids mostly on her own. my grandfather died when my mom and titas were very young. but my 'mommy' (what i called my granny) managed to keep all 11 kids (plus the 30 or so grandkids she was able to see when she was alive)on the straight and narrow. I have never mourned a loss as much as i did when she died.

I always tell my mom i love her. Even when our correspondence nowadays is limited to texting, we'd still end our conversations with 'love u'.

it's not corny. it's telling people how much they mean to you while they can still hear and feel how much you love them.

Happy mother's day to mam SCP, and happy father's day to you senator!

elyse said... husband was a pupil of your mom at UP Prep, and he frequently mentions how he had learned so much from you mom.....also, perhaps it is an open secret, but he said that your mom was the crush ng UP prep students...I will not be surprised if all prepians will support your candidacy.