We had a short holiday in my hometown in Davao over the weekend. We haven't been home since our wedding; missed the barrio Christmas celebration. One celebration we didn't want to miss was our mom's 60th birthday.
She's now officially a senior citizen. I used to remember my mom being pretty and skinny. She never seem to wear any make-up. She puckers up her lips only on special occasions like attending my siblings and mine's graduation. Or my wedding.
I think life didn't treat her kindly. We were more than a handful growing up. And all her life she had been smoking. I feel sorry whenever I think about how youthful she'd look if only she took care of her skin, didn't smoke and had it easy in life.
When I think long and hard though, I realized that her weathered appearance is a testament to her selflessness in raising six children, five of them boys. She was our first teacher. She taught us to read, to dream. She instilled discipline in our rowdy brood. She never spared the rod.
She never held back for us. She worked tirelessly so all of us can get our education. Over the years, we made her proud with our small achievements but we also broke her heart many times over.
Yet, she was ever constant in our lives. Never asking much. She fuels us with her determination, persistence and love. We're a family that does not openly express our gratitude to each other. So, in small ways we send our messages through food, acts of kindness and coming home.
Ma, happy birthday! Know that my wings have spread and I have pursued my place in the sun because you inspired me to. Thank you for the the ever constant provision of your time, energy and grace. We love you, Ma.
It is my prayer that you will live long. And that somehow I'd be able to repay your sacrifices. One day, I'll make the things I secretly promised for you happen.
Tyrone and I will.