[ We hardly see Mom in formal wear, so this is a treat! Taken during the wedding of her grandson Jay Bautista to Linnel de Villa last March, Mom is the lovely lady in the center. Also in pic are family friend Miggie Isla, my brother Doc Donald Bautista, and Dr Nick Cruz, one of the couple’s sponsors. Thanks and acknowledgment to the Facebook photo library of Jude Bautista. For more pics please visit http://judebautista.wordpress.com. woohoohoo!]
IF MISTER SLASH MISS PRECIOUS READER (that’s you) has read any of our previous posts about mother, motherhood or mother’s day, you’d probably know that we’re a big fan of mothers in general, and her special day (being Mother’s Day, besides her birthday, just where do you place that apostrophe?) is just one more reason to show her respect, gratitude, love and all other positive feelings and thoughts that affirm her place in human history.
But I also want to convey said feelings personally, about (who else?) my own mom.
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Let me balance it out first: Mom’s not perfect. She doesn’t always go the diplomatic route, is sometimes given to temperamental outbursts, and definitely, definitely speaks her mind. But it only underscores the indisputable fact that there’s not a single fake bone in her body.
Now for the good part : At 78, Mom gets up around 5.30 am most days to prepare for work. It’s not part-time work, a casual job or even volunteer, just-to-keep-busy work. It’s a real six-day, 52-week job that she’s held in the only career she’s ever loved: retail and point-of-sale. Only because she’s had the benefit of experience, and her savings, she’s her own boss, in her own business.
During the week, she supervises her staff who mind the kilns and cure the meat (it’s a ham baking business), fills out orders and schedules deliveries. Everything is in preparation for the weekend markets (when she wakes up even earlier, hears the first Sunday Mass) in Salcedo Village Makati, Mount Carmel Quezon City and Libis Pasig, where the actual selling takes place. There’s very little inventory because all of her kiosks nearly always sell out.
The rest of her time is divided into catechism work in their parish, indulging Dad in his favorite pastime, stud poker and Texas hold’ em poker, and reading the latest romance and suspense horror novels of her fave authors. Oh, she’s also anticipating news of her first great grandchild!
Long after her years of motherhood (where she raised five sons forever grateful), she continues to be motherlike. She looks after the tuition needs of dozens of children of relatives in Bicol, will send help to a sick family member but will forget about it as soon as the money transfer is complete, most days she will send food to sick kumares and old friends who can no longer look after themselves.
(btw, you won’t hear or get this confirmed from anyone. This is the sort of thing that doesn’t get talked about, least of all by Mom herself. It just isn’t her thing.)
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I could go on and on, but it would take the rest of the day. Just one last Mommy anecdote : On my last balikbayan visit, Mom pulled me aside to tell me to get serious about work and a more stable future overseas. Before I could finish, she asked me: howz your immigration going?
I said di pa tapos Mom, inadvertently letting on that the entry fee (application fee) wasn’t cheap.
She answered : I know. This isn’t much, but don’t spend it on anything else. I’m praying for you, pushing US$500 into my surprised hands.
I was speechless for awhile, marvelling at the irony of the situation: the OFW being given a handout by his mother. The speechlessness was broken by Fourth Brother (a migrant like me), who also took me aside to ask:
Binigyan ka nya ng pera ‘no? Magkano ? $500?
I said, yes, how did you know?
He replied : Hahaha! Utang ko yan sa kanya! kakabayad ko lang sa kanya kanina. He added that he had a feeling it would go to me.
She had paid her good fortune forward instantly!
As she has been doing and continues to do, all her life.
God bless you Mom! From all of us in Manila, Auckland and Wellington, New Zealand and New Mexico, USA, happy mother’s day! I love you always!
And Happy mother’s day to all!