IT’S THE SMALL THINGS
By ALEX M. EDUQUE
I write this on Mother’s Day (which also happens to be the day before the elections) and realize this will come out the week after still. Nonetheless, the flurry of social media posts paying tribute to the one who carried us in her womb, gave us light, nurtured us, and continues to show us the way is a very welcome respite to what would otherwise have been a heightened last-minute campaign buzz. An article, in this very same newspaper, came out today, featuring me as somewhat of a mother to many children because of the non-profit organization I founded, MovEd. To be honest, when I was first asked to be interviewed for it, I was reluctant. In no way do I consider myself to be a mother (except maybe to my eight-year-old shih-tzu), but when it was explained to me, and the feature was presented from a different angle, I was enlightened in a multitude of ways. Not only on the way the media ultimately has the power to shine things more prominently on one perspective versus another in the way they so please, but more importantly, on how Mother’s Day (and being a mother at that) goes beyond celebrating the woman who physically carried us.
Then it dawned on me that there are those in this world who because of many different circumstances were even deprived the chance of growing up alongside their biological mother. It was rather shallow of me, I realize, to even confine motherhood to such. And while no one will ever replace their presence in our lives – at least for those of us who know them, have them around, and have a good relationship with them – this is my attempt to be more inclusive, and to pay tribute to the many women in our lives who have stood as mothers to us in more ways than one, at many different times.
To our nannies and yayas – our second mothers who helped raise us, and more than filled in when our own mothers could not be around – your selfless love and sacrifice, even leaving your very own behind for our sake, completed us, and made us feel more than loved.
To our teachers – some of our very first love-hate relationships may have been with you. We cared so much to please you, never wanting to frustrate you, and you, in turn, brought out the best in us by challenging us, sometimes pushing us beyond what we thought we were capable of, and ultimately, teaching us the basics of what we needed to get by.
To our lolas – our grandmothers who nourish our soul with a love like no other. We, who had the chance of meeting you, are indeed blessed. Because beyond the special relationship you have with your grand-children, it is how you raised your very own, the amazing women we have come to know as our mothers, that have turned them into the moms they have become and who we dearly love.
To our ninangs and titas – mothers in their own right of their own off-spring, but who still so generously share their time, wisdom, and insight with those of us who are not their own. Thank you for enlightening us, and showing us a different side to things at times we may disagree and butt heads with our own. You are blessings and shining lights.
And to every other woman out there – a colleague at work, a mentor, a friend, or simply anyone who goes the extra mile to care, and puts someone else’s needs before their own – because you are someone who so willingly shares your own time to nurture and nourish, you too, are a mother whether you recognize it or not. And it is because of women like you, that despite all the crazy and darkness this world can sometimes drown us in, that it still is mostly that warm, fuzzy and welcoming embrace we all need to thrive.