Happy Valentine’s Day, everyone!
How’s your Valentine’s Day so far? Me? I’m dateless, but I wouldn’t say loveless. Despite my lack of a date tonight, I still celebrated true love because it’s my mom’s birthday!
Happy birthday, Mom!
My mom and I don’t see eye to eye A LOT of times. My sisters say this is because we’re too much alike personality-wise. But whether I admit it or not, my mom’s journey is one of those I admire. Because it’s her special day, let me give you a glimpse of that journey.
One of the greatest lessons I’ve learned from Mom is this:
One can live a simple life but still grow rich in experience.
She never said this to any of us out loud, but this is what I’ve been learning from her through the way she lives her life.
My mom had a stellar resume — high school valedictorian, college magna cum laude, MBA degree-holder, rapidly climbed up the corporate ladder — but left her career to become a full-time housewife to take care of us. I don’t see myself doing this in the near or mid-future, but that’s pretty admirable.
When we got a little older, her peers expected her to go back to the corporate world, but she chose to build an NGO (a LEGIT and internationally-funded one, by the way!) that aims to provide fair working conditions for Filipino farmers and local producers by promoting “buying local and fair”. No, she wasn’t getting paid for the job, but this didn’t mean she didn’t grow rich in experience. Aside from making a difference in the lives of our farmers, this job of hers has also allowed her to:
1) Travel the world (I seriously couldn’t think of a country she hasn’t been to. And yes, she was so blessed to have gotten to travel for free. I’m jealous!)
2) Gain friends from different cultures
3) Represent the country in various conferences to fight for fair trade for our farmers and local producers
Mom has since semi-retired from NGO work and currently serves as a board member, so she’s no longer as active as before.
Now, at 54, she says her new calling or cause is to “go grassroots” and actually lend a hand or an ear to those in need. (When I arrived home one time, I was so shocked to see a teenage girl who ran away from her home. She went straight to our house to seek my mom’s guidance.)
Nowadays, Mom volunteers as a Religion teacher at a public school located in a barangay near our village. Here she is celebrating her birthday with her students who love her dearly:
It’s very fitting that her birthday falls on the day of love, because she’s been spreading love and inspiration to people she comes across with.
Happy birthday and Happy Valentine’s Day, Mom! Really, I don’t know if I have it in me to tread the path you took and sometimes I don’t understand why you do what you do, but thank you for the important lessons that I take with me along my own ride. May you touch and help color many more lives along your journey.