Tatay would time and again remind us that when we eventually decide to marry someone, she should be as smart, godly, and beautiful as our mother. Nanay would pretend to dismiss the comment, but her face would betray her anyway: she'd beam with pride and, well, blush. This usually happens at dinner time. I and my brothers would look at her and say, in unison, "Uy, na-flatter!" She's always been a no-nonsense person, keen at pointing out our unruly, uncivilized manners, and forever patient at reminding us to brush our teeth before we slept at night. She's terribly sweet, too; nothing parallels the feeling I get when I hear her soothing voice calling me sweetheart. For these and for a lot of great things in my life, I thank my mother. Happy birthday, Nanay.