5 Things I Learned From My Mother
My mother is perhaps as one of the most influential person in my life, if not the most. Everything others observe in me now, both good and bad has been a product of long-term process called motherhood. Many have said that I am lucky to have a mother like her, very supportive and unconditional. She is always there whenever I need her. She will do everything just to ease everything for me, in the way she knows best, being a mother. Her presence is undeniably very evident, even to our cousins, my closest friends and ofcourse my nephew and niece. She extends her concern, full attention and care to everyone related to us directly or indirectly. Yes, no doubt, I am lucky enough, but I guess the proper word is blessed. And today marks her 50th birthday, so it is quite proper to highlight in this blogpost the most important lessons I have gained from her and her personal experiences.
1. Life is more meaningful with humble beginnings.
In the age of social media, my mother learned to use Facebook, Viber and other mobile application. She is more engaged in the digital world, not afraid of what others will say or comment. She is comfortable to what she has and willing to improve what she lacks. This is a significant contrast to her humble beginnings. Her family life was not ideal. Her childhood was not easy. She experienced the kind of poverty we could only imagined. I myself experienced poverty, but not to the point of struggling with food. We had problems with how to find the means to buy food, but my parents managed to keep us not hungry, in general, even they themselves were hungry. They literally sacrificed everything for us, and we are forever thankful of that. All of these are part of our humble beginnings. We are determined not to experience that again. We will show more hardwork and passion in all our endevours to ensure life will become better. That not-so-better past is not something I am ashamed of. It gives more meaning to everything we have right now.
2. There are surprises in life, but dealing with the consequences thereafter is more important.
My mother made mistakes before. I know I am not aware of all of them. Perhaps, some remained hidden from us, and will remain so in eternity. Honestly, I do not care of what they are. They were part of the past. I saw my mother enduring the lowest points in our lives. It was difficult. Those were the times we could not afford to pay for our electricity, and are struggling to earn resources to buy food and cover education and transportation expenses. Those were the times I learned what to prioritize and thereafter help me to hone my organizational skills. Those were the times I became more resilent and tolerant, such that no matter how bad the situation gets, the most important thing to come up is the first step out of the problem, not a temporary one, but a permanent and effective solution to the problem. My mother provided us rich experience and opportunity to learn and accept our mistakes, embrace changes and unexpected events, and work towards a better situation.
3. Education is important, but being wise and smart is more beneficial.
My mother did not finish middle school. She was young when she decided to marry my father. She said that it was quite norm for young women to marry that early, given that she has also started working as a househelp before that. So to improve financial and social status, marriage is both an inevitable life phase and a choice as well. Both my father and mother started humbly, so they were determined to do everything they can to give us better options when we become adults. There were many challenges ofcourse on the way, but I consider them successful in inculcating in us the value of education. This is something that made the difference in our lives. My parent's social status in the Philippines before gave a constrast on our objectives of finishing school and earning a living. However, more than being educated is being wise and smart on the lessons life offers. This is something I learned from them. This is the reason why yes I am good in school, but relatively as good in life.
4. Money is tool that moves eveything, but does not say the character of the person having it.
I admit money is something I and my mother have many disagreements. We use money in two contrasting ways. Actually, I am quite unique in the family in terms of this. I remain unconvinced by the way my parents think and see financial resources. I consider myself more restrained, controlled and perhaps more responsible. This is quite evident with the material things I possess. Money, I agree moves anything and anyone, but the use of it should be limited and more reasonable. I am not against pleasure and luxury, but there is perfect time in the soonest possible time for it. My opposition with the financial beliefs my mother has reflects her strong influence in me. However, she has always gave me the impression that money is only to be consumed, and independent from the character using it. She emphasizes character over money. I agree with her with that, but not to the extent that the consumption of money should not be taken seriously and more responsibly.
5. Being a mother is both a gift and a responsibility.
I guess the first genuine experience of care I had is with my mother. It was not just limited to us, but to everyone who surrounded us. It was unconditional and seems limitless. The concern was over the expectations of the role of a mother. My mother seems to be willing to carry the shoes of another, just for them to step on soil. She was literally hands on on everything. She was not strict, but she was plainly a mother, very concern with details, with only aim of making things comfortable and easy for one. I think I would never thought of being a nurse without my mother. She actually soften the mental and logical structures in my head. I realized numbers, facts and logic are nothing without human meaning. My mother kept me grounded, sane and real. She literally taught me to provide care to others, a level higher than what is expected. Simply, not being afraid of putting my heart over my head. This is what I always carry with me whenever I am infront of anyone, my patients, friends, relatives, students, my partner and even acquaintances.
Merlyn is my mother's name. She is far from perfect, but she is a special kind of mother. I can attest to that. There are things she has done for us, her children other mothers can not even attempt to do. Perhaps, she is a mother, who allowed her children to be decisive and determined in life, such that although it maybe inconvenient for her, she waived some her authority to us. I know there were times I may have disrespected her through words, actions and even silence. However, despite all of these one thing remains, she is my mother and remains to be very special to me. As a matter of fact, everytime I travel I always imagine how my mother, father and grandfather would react if they were with me during the trip. That is quite exciting to think. It leaves me a smile everytime to even the point of being emotional. My humble beginnings is a story that started with my parents. The resilence, social concern and kind of responsibility I exhibit now is a reflection of them, especially my mother. I am forever grateful of them. I am truly blessed to have a mother like her.
Ma, I love you very much.