The best mother in the world

During idle moments at the Labor and Delivery Rooms of the OB Admitting Section, I try to imagine what it must have been like on that April night in 1987, when my mother gave birth to me, her smallest little boy.


Nanay tells me there wasn't too much drama during labor and delivery, which explains her amazement at the "unrealistic" portrayal of childbirth in the movies. She practically just expelled me into this world without fanfare. What she truly meant, perhaps, was not that childbearing is painless, but that it's nothing compared to the difficulties of actually raising children.

I almost forgot to greet her today until I asked a friend what day it is while I was filling out one of the forms at the Out-Patient Department. February 24. How could I have forgotten? Immediately I walked out of the clinic and called her up. "Happy birthday, Nay," I said. "You truly are the best mother in the world, and I thank the Lord for giving you to me."

She laughed to contain her surprise and happiness before she said, "Thank you, sweetheart." She calls me sweetheart during these special occasions, or when she asks me to wipe the windows or trim the grass in the yard or scrub the bathroom floors clean.

What I wrote on this same day in 2010 still rings true today.

Over the years, I've realized how bad a son I am, and how tender, gracious, and loving my mother has been to me. I like to joke around that I'm the prodigal son, the proverbial black sheep, because, when I think about it, I have received more reprimands, more corrections, more tongue-lashings from my parents than any of my brothers.

Because I was too unruly, my mother described me as "incorrigible"—my mother's exact words, believe me, and because my seven-year-old vocabulary wasn't vast enough, I had to ask her what it meant. "Beyond correction," she said. A lot of the big words I know today I learned from Nanay.

If I had another woman for a mother, I wouldn't have turned out this way. I would have been a lot more proud, bursting with self-adoration, deceived with illusions of self-sufficiency. My mother knew the right time to burst my bubble, to help me see myself for who I am. And yet, in her own weird way, she also gave me the sweetest pat in the back for a job well done.

My mother has never been one of those who aspired to have over-achieving children. What she desired was for my brothers and I to grow in the love and fear of the Lord.

Happy 56th birthday, Nanay! May the Lord bless and keep you all the days of your life!

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