No trial is so great for Mom
By Sarah Eliya Vistro Yu
THERE are numerous species in the animal kingdom that make all sorts of sacrifices for their young.
The lioness isn’t just the hunter of the family, she also raises her cub in isolation for six months.
The Pacific octopus lays a hundred thousand eggs, cleans, guards, and supplies oxygen for them for six months.
The offspring of orcas and bottlenose dolphins don’t sleep for the first two months after birth, like their mothers, who constantly watch over them.
Even the female strawberry poison dart frog has a gargantuan task—individually transporting each of her newly hatched tadpoles to different pools of water, and then visiting each nursery pool for almost two months to keep her tadpoles fed.
Many animal mothers compromise their health, safety and well-being for their young. And yet, I find that none of these species can compare with a human mother.
Stage 3 breast cancer
At 49, Mom was diagnosed with stage 3A breast cancer. The chances of survival were still high, given the right routine and medicine.
Mom wasn’t the type to take risks. She underwent a mastectomy, lost her hair to six months of chemotherapy, and finished 33 days of radiation therapy. She has been cancer-free for the last 10 months, and has grown back her hair.
Dad, Ate and I were there for her throughout her treatment, but I’m sure there were still nights when Mom felt she was completely alone. Cancer and its aftermath are more than what a person could endure, much less a mother who must give everything to her career, family, and personal well-being. But the worst was yet to come.
Eighteen months later, with Mom already in remission and teaching again, Dad woke her up at 1 a.m. He told her of his intense, consistent chest pain; they quickly drove to the hospital. They checked in, Dad was admitted for a heart attack, and underwent angioplasty.
It was only five hours later, when the situation was under control, that Mom called me and my sister to tell us what had happened, and that Dad was fine.
Upon discharge, Dad was confined to the second floor of our house, not being allowed to climb the stairs at all, on doctor’s orders.
No one could have predicted it. Just 12 days after the heart attack, Dad suffered a stroke that left his right body paralyzed and the family in panic. Relatives and friends visited. My sister and I spent most of our time in the hospital, doing our homework there, and going home only when it was time to go to bed.
But Mom didn’t leave until Dad was asleep. She alternated between staying at the hostel while my dad was still in the ICU, to sleeping on the poorly cushioned bench at Dad’s in-patient room. The entire time, she kept our family functioning: paying the bills, arranging trips to and from the hospital for me and my sister, updating her in-laws, and making sure the household was our home.
My sister and I took on some duties, running errands for Mom and the house. But while Ate and I could cry on each other’s shoulders at night and afford to falter in our schoolwork, Mom often slept in the hospital alone, and had no choice but to keep us on our feet and pray that things would turn out okay.
Christmas and New Year passed. My parents came home near the end of January, 41 days after Dad’s stroke, our house already adapted for his condition.
It has been almost 18 months since then, and he can now walk with a cane, and make “dad jokes” again, though with some difficulty in enunciating words.
Mom is back to her full-time teaching load, and still keeping our family running, together, and happier than we thought we could be.
They say diamonds are formed only by enduring the greatest amount of stress and pressure. In the past three years of crisis in our family life, Mom carried on and kept us together with passion, determination, and love. She has proven that nothing comes before family, regardless of any trial.
So, what about the lioness, the Pacific octopus, the orcas and bottlenose dolphins, and even that strawberry poison dart frog? Well, amazing as they are, they have nothing on my mom. She could do it all.
Mom, the wonder woman
By Brent Domingo
EVERYONE owes something to someone. For me, that someone is my mother.
Her unconditional love worked wonders for the family; it was the fuel that drove our metaphorical family engine.
When Dad decided that family life wasn’t for him, Mom had to pick up the slack. She doubled her efforts meant to be shared by two parents.
That meant working on an eight-hour nursing shift and then coming home to a sink full of dirty dishes and dirty laundry. Add the tedious task of raising two uncooperative teenagers to the mix—
enough stress to cause a weaker person to snap.
But Mom was tough. She worked overtime. She took out loans and hounded Dad for much-needed financial support—just so my sister and I could continue studying at one of the country’s most esteemed private schools.
How Mom made it possible to stretch her four-digit salary for household expenses and even to pay for our tuition fees for 10 years, I couldn’t quite fathom. And though we were given scholarships, I didn’t think it was enough.
You might think that, to be able to survive, we had to work ourselves. At the very least you would have expected that we’d have to scrimp on some aspects of our domestic travails.
But you’d be surprised. Aside from providing us the basic necessities in life and indulging our sometimes lazy ways, Mom was able to get us the same small luxuries that every other normal family could enjoy.
There was food in the fridge, potable running water, electricity powering up our gadgets. She even had Wi-Fi connected to the house.
But she was also quick to remind us that she could just as easily have those perks cut off whenever we crossed her (which we did with surprising regularity).
We went out to eat in restaurants, watched movies, strolled in the malls, and enjoyed out-of-town vacations every now and then.
Out of generosity she even decided that we could have a weekly cash allowance.
But sadly, as she found out, two inherently stubborn children were much harder to deal with than her debtors. And so the allowance was discontinued after a mere three weeks.
However, she made sure that we were never deprived of anything else. In return, she asked that we never slack off.
She became what you would call a helicopter mom—making it her business to be always aware of what we’re up to. Especially when it came to school, she spent many of her waking hours reminding us that we do well in school—or else.
While other kids could fool their parents into thinking they’re sick so they could be excused from going to class, good luck trying that with my mother. All you’ll get is a scolding.
Sometimes, she knew more of what we’re doing in school than we did. So much so that you’d be hard-pressed to wonder if she was not enrolled herself.
She nagged us about doing homework that we forgot we even had, helped us do the really difficult projects, made sure that we studied for exams, even making time to be there to help us review for tests, when she badly needed to go to work or to catch up on her sleep.
She even went so far as to enroll us in a secondary school, Kumon. Maybe you’ve heard of it? It’s this franchise of schools designed to make kids more proficient and advanced in Math and Reading.
To me, of course, it meant extra work—another unwelcome addition, something that I could do well without, because I wanted to enjoy teenage life.
But Mom was stubbornly convinced that this was good for us and nothing I said to counter it could convince her otherwise.
And while my sister meekly went along, I did Kumon only in a half-hearted manner and occasionally went on strike when I was not in the mood.
But Mom refused to bow down to my bad attitude and made sure I buckled down to finish the lessons.
The result was that we got good grades, even as Mom would not relax, always reminding us that we should maintain those high marks—under the constant threat of cutting off the Wi-Fi.
We aced more tests than we failed and secured positions in our respective batch’s top 10. In short, we excelled in school mostly due to Mom’s prodding.
I owe a lot to that wonderful woman who brought me into this world—however much we might have disagreed on the worth or worthlessness of junk food and Dota.
I love you so much, Mom!
My mother ’s love
By Anna Austria
THEY say you can never understand a mother’s love unless you become a mother yourself.
That’s exactly what happened to me, and I’m thankful that my mom taught me well about everything in life.
My siblings and I grew up in a middle-class family. My father worked as an OFW in the Middle East, while my mom was a housewife.
She was very strict with us. She was also very organized and didn’t want a messy house; all our toys had to be put in their proper place once we were done playing with them.
Household chores were divided among the children. Since I was the eldest among three siblings, I had more chores than the other two.
Though I thought it was unfair, my mom would explain that my siblings were too young to take on the heavy chores.
She made me understand the difference between equality and equity. If equality was exercised at home, my younger siblings would have a hard time doing chores for big kids. That’s why equity ruled in our household. Chores were divided depending on our ability to handle them.
She taught us the importance of education. She helped us review our lessons. She made questionnaires which she expected us to answer correctly. We were spanked if we made a lot of mistakes.
While we were afraid of her, we also respected her and following her orders. Even if she spanked us, she also taught us to love and avoid fighting with each other.
Problems have always been part of our lives. When my father’s income was not enough to sustain our education and daily needs, I saw my mom cry almost every night. I wanted to comfort her, but every time I tried, she assured me that she was OK—even if we both knew she wasn’t.
Then, one day, she told us that she needed to work abroad, too. She had to do it so we could have a better life.
We all cried when she broke the news to us. We didn’t want her to go. We didn’t have our father with us, and now our mother was leaving, too? Who was going to take care of us?
She explained that it was the only way for her to give us what we needed, but we insisted that all we needed was for her to stay with us. Her decision was final though.
To this day, she is still abroad, working in different jobs. I know she is lonely and misses us badly, but she doesn’t want to go home yet because she feels she hasn’t made enough money to start a business back home.
Because of that, she has missed many of our milestones. When we graduated from school, it was our grandmother who was there to witness our receiving medals.
Our Christmases and birthdays have been celebrated without Mom, though she never forgets to greet us on those occasions through phone calls and Facebook messages.
She has made a lot of sacrifices so she can send us to good schools. I know her life is not easy and I can feel her loneliness.
But I also know my mom is a strong woman who can fight her feelings of loneliness for the sake of her children’s happiness. Distance will never hinder a mother’s love for her children.
Now that I have become a mother myself, I truly understand the meaning of “a mother’s love.” Like my mom, I will do anything and be ready to give up everything for the sake of my baby.