from a grateful son, on a birthday

Mom with 2nd Bro.  Thanks and acknowledgment for the pic to 4th Bro Jude, please visit his site at !

Mom with 2nd Bro. Thanks and acknowledgment for the pic to 4th Bro Jude, please visit his site at !

[Note : on the occasion of her 74th  birthday last Monday, we repost an old post we did for our revered mother on our high school batch chatgroup, hope the batchmates don’t mind. Please spare a thought and prayer for our kabayan in Bohol and surrounding areas affected by the recent  earthquakes.  Happy birthday Mom! ]

FIRST BIG BROTHER is the classic Type A management guru : ever stressed to the gills, but classy enough to keep his cool (and sanity) at all times. Within 5 mins. of your interview, he will have mapped out your strengths and weaknesses, guide you through your career pathing, and highlight in impressive, modulated detail in which specialty you will  contribute best.

Second Big Brother is the classic crossover professional. Starting out a licensed physician, he has expanded his medical training to build a diagnostic business patronized by both corporate and consular entities.

Young Brothers 4 & 5 are both talented and aggressive in their particular areas, give and take no quarters, and are as sharp with their wits as they are with their reflexes, both having milked their athletic aptitude well beyond their 20s.

And you know well enough about us, the ADHD-addled and underachieving jester among the brood…

We stand like deferential little boys however, before the ONE individual to whom we owe our gifts, personalities, and no exaggeration to say…our very lives.

***               ***               ***

Early on, after marrying her boyfriend at 19, she realized that she was not about to write Princess Diaries and live happily ever after. More like Journals of the Empress Dowager, as she quickly produced a noisy nest of three barakos by age 25, four Y-chromosomers by 29, and five kelots by 32. No rose among the thorns, except the one who grew them.

Lovingly nurturing us via the warmth of womb and breast, she quickly turned around and correctly concluded that a strong, tough approach to parenting was the minimum weaponology demanded by such a set of offspring.

But not without thoughtfulness and inspiration, somewhat complementary and yet contradictory qualities a parent might want to merge with tough love.

For boys will be boys, and these five siblings were never without a hairtrigger urge to scratch the naughtiness itch & sail into dark, uncharted waters at the slightest provocation.

Many a time were the bahala na forays into Thursday outings (our St Jude Catholic School free day was Thursday) without permission met with scoldings, dressing downs & corporal punishments that looking back, we richly deserved.

From her too was the weekly audit earned and learned. Allowances were raised, reduced, and raised again, it didn’t matter as long as you showed where it was going and how black your bottom line was.

Born without the sarcasm gene, she bluntly told you what you needed to know : grades are dropping, what’s wrong with you?  Out too often, enough time for priorities? Keep your room clean, keep the bugs and mice away !

She lost no time in showing you how strongly she approved or disapproved of your actions, giving her words an edge which might’ve hurt for the moment, but were well worth the sense of urgency with which they were said.

All in all, she gave up most of her youth for all of us, held fast to her old-world beliefs that we might survive in the new, and kept her spanking hand on-the-ready and tongue sharp-as-blades if only to keep us on the straight-and- narrow.

She wasn’t always successful, but it was never for lack of trying.

Going full circle, she now dotes after her 7 grandchildren with healthy servings of indulgence and treats, almost as if telling her sons-turned- fathers: see if you can top what I can give them; they richly deserve it just by being my apo.

On your 74th birthday, you stand tall as our tower of strength, and we love you more than ever.

Thanks for the lessons learned, and thanks for the memories Mom.

Happy birthday !


4 thoughts on “from a grateful son, on a birthday

    • hahahaha, judging from their mom’s benevolence, there’s every chance that will happen! 🙂 thanks for the nice comment Wall Bard-ess! btw, a local (Kiwi) recently won the Booker Prize, bringing out new booklovers here!

  1. belated happy birthday to your mom!! sana my children will appreciate what i have done for them as well…in the future, sana ganon din ang maramdaman nila.

    kudos to your mom for raising 5 of you….pro prang kakatakot ma meet si eldest brother…hehehe…prang walang makakalusot sa mga kalokohan…


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