At an impressionable age of 15, I learned how resilient my mother is. Somehow the discovery isn’t an easy one because it made me realize that my mother hasn’t had an easy life really. With a husband who believe that a wife should just be a stay-at-home one, taking care of the house and children, what will happen when suddenly she needs to be the breadwinner in the household?
It’s what happened to our family back then. For three months, I noticed my Tatay stayed more at home when he should have been working. My time then was just filled with teen activities and barkadas so I didn’t really give it much thought. But, I also noticed the whisperings and worried looks from my parents. Then as weeks goes by, my father was in and out of hospital to the point that the company allowed him to get a vacation for a few months. Since he already exhausted the medical benefits from the company, the weeks that followed was a hard one. With a depleted savings and no salary to fall back on, that was the hardest period in our life.
My Nanay, who hadn’t worked for more than a decade, took matters into her own hands because she doesn’t like asking for help. All along, I thought she only knew how to take care of us four siblings, household chores and the like. What does she know about making money, really? The only thing I can remember is her trying to sell ice, ice candy or juice in a bottle but it didn’t go well because we ended up eating the ice candy and drinking the juice whenever we saw it in the ref.
But for four months, she woke up much earlier than usual, prepared everything we will be needing for the day, prep the meals and meds of my recuperating father then off to selling in the market then back again. Every day she did that with no thought of resting. Unlike before, when she gets to rest and have time after the household work, she said she doesn’t have time for that. But then I see her crying in the nights when she thought no one was watching. You wouldn’t see any traces of that every morning, she would look very determined and start the day anew.
Looking back at that time, I realized that life was too long for us then with unwanted things happening but my Nanay showed us how to be ardent during the lowest point of your life. She needed to be brave for us and my Tatay, she said. We should always remember how to work zealously and that no one will help you but yourself.
In Korea, they thank the Mother for giving birth to their child every time the child celebrates its birthday. I think we should do that too, thank our Nanay for giving birth to us, for taking care of us because really, there are not that many who would do that for their children.
From the moment we first opened our eyes, to our first steps, to our first words, and the million other milestones that came after, they were there. At every high and every low of our lives, they have supported us, protected us, and loved us with no question. This Mother’s Day, Orocan celebrates the strength and dependability of all our Nanays, Inas, Moms, and Mamas. Nothing really compares with the TibayNiNanay.