We often think that motherhood is a wonderful thing. We always think of cute babies and big families, but what we often don’t see is that there’s a lot of pain and sacrifice that comes with it. When someone is in pain, you can often see it. They might have tears in their eyes, a contorted smile, and even a sharp cry, but those are for when mothers give birth or when you cut your finger. Motherhood’s pains can be deeper and much more painful, and can have no outward signs at all. Sometimes, mothers who are in pain choose to not even show it, for fear of hurting others or fear that no one may even understand. I would know, because I’ve seen it with my mother, in all her silence and her sacrifice to shield us from that pain.
Our life wasn’t easy, I know that; but my mom never made us feel like it. We always hear that “Ang nanay ang ilaw ng tahanan.” This is very true; my mom was the light and life of the house. Despite her being so busy at work, she’d always make sure to come home early to be able to make dinner and greet everyone as they came home. She wanted to know about everyone’s day even if we don’t have much to say about it. She smiles so brightly and makes the corniest jokes, hoping that her infectious joy also affects you. We weren’t rich, in fact we had a lot of money problems because my dad ventured into numerous businesses that basically put us under debt. There was also a time when my dad became unfaithful to her. (I won’t dwell into those parts of our lives) But despite all that, she never cried in front of us. She always kept her head high and smiled at us as if to say, “Everything will be okay.” This continued even after a tragic night. Cause you see, my mom is a widow—yes, my dad passed away right when I was about to graduate highschool. He passed away due to a heart attack. They may have had their problems, but my mom loved my father dearly. Imagine, a widowed mom raising two kids working a semi-middle paying job while having to worry about some unpaid debts. Even then, not a single tear was shed, or so that’s what she chose to show us.
One night, I was supposed to go home really late because of a “baby” thesis I had in college. But, I ended up going home earlier than what I had told my mom. I came home, my brother was sleeping in his room and as I was about to greet my mom in her room, I heard a sniffle. She was crying. It was the first time I saw her cry. I froze—I didn’t know what to do. I heard her praying, more likely begging; asking for God to give her more strength to keep on smiling. She was looking for answers on how to continue giving the life she wanted for us while paying off the debts. She was praying to God on how much she missed our dad; how she feels lonely without him. It was then that I realized that she hides her pain, so we don’t feel more pain. She smiles because she wants US to be happy. She’s been making so many sacrifices to make everyone around her happy. All this time, I thought my mom is just isn’t the “sobby” or “crying” type. But it turns out, her heart is strongest for her family but it begs for comfort and love. As much as I wanted to go inside her room then, I know that she wouldn’t want me to see her that way. So, I waited for her to stop crying and I made footstep sounds, pretending that I just arrived—then, I opened her door, greeted her with a hug her and said “I love you Ma”. I felt a tear fall on my shirt, and that tear made me feel more appreciation and love for my mom than ever before.
This was a few years ago, now that I’m working, I hope she gets excited with the surprise I am about to tell her on Mother’s Day. I’m so glad, I can finally give back at least half the joy she has given me.