A Tribute to My Mother on My 29th Birthday!

fort santiago

I think every girl reaches a certain age when she realizes how she’s turning out to be like her mom, how much she truly values her or how much she wants to be more like her.

I turned 29 yesterday and on my birthday, I took a couple of kids to Manila for a historical tour of Intramuros and the National Museum.  When our tour guide, Jay Buenaflor, asked me why I was doing it for the kids, I simply answered “I just want to”, too shy to share much at that point.  I sensed that he wasn’t satisfied with my answer but he let it go in the meantime so that we can go on with the tour.

While the kids were busy marveling over Jose Rizal’s works of art in Fort Santiago, the conversation between me and Jay went something like this:

Jay:        So, all of these kids’ parents work for your family?

Me:        Not all of them.  Leah is the daughter of our family driver.  The four others are my mom’s students.

Jay:        Your mom’s a teacher?

Me:        She volunteers at a public school.  She teaches Values Ed there.

Jay:        I see.  How long has she been volunteering there?

Me:        Not that long.  She’s been with an NGO for the longest time.  She’s retired na but she’s still a board member there.  When she retired, she started volunteering at the public school.

Jay:        Really?!  You know, you no longer have to answer my question on why you’re doing this for the kids!  The answer’s very clear to me now — it’s because of your mom!  She helps people and that’s why you also want to.  That’s history right there!!!

Boom.  Wow, I never saw it that way.  See, during my early to mid-20s, I used to hate my mom a lot because of her disapproval of an ex-boyfriend whom she believed wasn’t right for me.  Hate is a strong word, I know, but that was how I really felt.  In the end, though, she was right.  With all my eye-rolling and rebelling back then, I never thought I’d see the day when I’d say I’m truly grateful to have her as my mother, and how I’m happy that I’m slowly turning out to be like her.  My love for travel, for country, for so many other things and yes, my longing to make a difference through my work and/or vocation, to believe in something larger than myself — all these, I just realized, I got from her.

Thank you, mom.  Everything that’s good in me, I got from you.  I hope to be able to touch lives and travel to more places like you do, but I’ll do everything in my power not to gain as much weight as you have.  Hihi I’m kidding.

I can’t promise an argument-free relationship (because we clash like that) but know that I appreciate you and everything you’re doing for us.

Special shoutout to Jay Buenaflor for being an instrument in all this.  You were right, we did meet for  a reason!  Special thanks as well to Paula Peralejo-Fernandez for introducing me to Jay.  Thanks to you both for helping me arrange my birthday project.  A meaningful birthday weekend, indeed. :)

Have you ever had the same “epiphany”, i.e., that moment when you realized how much influence your mom has over you?  Share in the comments below! :)

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