Hogging all the attention and affection from every child’s eye is an edifice standing in the middle of all great and humongous buildings whose height reaches out towards the skies. Despite its beauty that is beginning to diminish because of the fading paint, the edifice remains as strong and gallant with its Corinthian columns in which the acanthus leaves are sitting atop. Its simple wooden doors and windows are wide open for everyone; welcoming, heart-warming, and hospitable. Its light is different and is brighter from those others that require a large amount of energy just to be described as dazzling. It radiates not only beyond one’s eyes but also through one’s heart. These edifices are our mothers.

Mothers have always been associated as the light of a home. Sometimes, they may also be called as the foundation. There are also times that they are both. But, they are greater than that. They are the home. They are the edifice. They are the place itself.

But what is it like in a mother’s place? What is it like to be in her shoes?

A Mother’s P-ain

Maureen and her baby, Marianne, smiling at the camera.

            Mothers spend nine gruelling months of sacrifice, dedication, and passion. No, it is not work. It is neither a husband and wife relationship that is on the rocks. It is the period that many women await in their entire existence. As the universal reply to the pageant question, “What is the essence of being a woman,” goes, it is a woman’s motherhood.

Maureen Bergancia, was 18 when she discovered that she will be bearing a child after 34 weeks. It was terribly hard for her because of the various pains she would feel all over her body.

Ang sakit ng lalamunan ko sa kakasuka. Iyong likod ko naman masakit din kasi lumalaki na tiyan ko. Lagi akong gutom tapos parang hindi nabubusog. Nahihirapan din akong kumilos dahil nga sa buntis ako. (My throat would ache because of constant vomiting. My back would also hurt because my tummy is growing larger every day. I always felt hungry and I never was satisfied with what I ate. I had a hard time moving because I am pregnant.),” she remembers.

Until finally, the day that everyone was eager about but was also afraid of came. It was not as easy as the delivery of pizza or of any food from a fast food chain. It was much more difficult than that. “Parang hinahati iyong buo mong katawan sa gitna. Manghihina ka sa kakasigaw pero kahit anong gawin mong sigaw ang sakit sakit pa rin. Parang ang tagal na pero hindi pa rin natatapos. Sobrang sakit. (It was like your body was being cut into half. You will feel exhausted because of the shouting but whatever shouts you do it doesn’t relieve the pain. It felt like more than a day and yet it was still unfinished. It was very painful.),” Maureen recalled.

After the long wait, Maureen and everyone else from her family was happy. It was a baby girl. It was a vigorous bouncing baby girl. Her baby, Marianne, was finally born.

Maureen said, “Sobrang saya. Mapapa-iyak ka. Hindi mo ma-e-explain basta nakakatuwa. (I was very happy. I cried. No words could explain what I felt. The only thing I knew was that I was happy.)”

A Mother’s L-ie

(photo by: geopoliticalmonitor.com) This is only a representation of Mira and her lie. To preserve her privacy, Mira did not allow her picture to be taken.

            Every mother would do everything just so her children will not have their tummy’s rumbling, just so her children will not grow unhealthy, just so her children will not cry and bellow. They will give you everything, more than their life, just so you could have the best

Mila is a 35 year old single mother who takes care of six small lasses and toddlers.  She resides in Tondo and does garbage scavenging as a living. She only earns at about 300-500 pesos a day; insufficient for paying the bills, buying the food and infant supplies, and many others.

Every time her children and she would eat, she would always lie to her children that she have already eaten just so her children will not have a hard time sharing the food with each other. “ Minsan po, nakakain na po talaga ako kapag sinasabi ko sa kanilang nakakain na ako. Pero madals ay hindi pa. Mas gusto ko pong nalalamang busog sila kahit gutom ako kesa sa busog ako at walang laman ang tiyan nila. (Sometimes, I have already eaten when I tell them that I have eaten. But most of the times, I haven’t. I would choose to be hungry with my children’s stomachs full than to have my stomach full while my children are hungry.),” Mila said.

A Mother’s A-gony

            Every pain that a child feels is also felt by a mother; a scraped knee from falling down a bicycle; a bruised hand after stumbling from running; or a wounded foot after stepping on a sharp and pointed object. All of these are also felt by a mother. For a child, it might be a superficial wound. But for a mother, it was a lesion in her heart. It is a mother’s agony.

Clavel, a mother in agony.

Clavel Martinez-Pritchard, has been having the agony that every mother would not want to experience. Her son, Johnny, is experiencing depression due to the loss of his sense of sight.

“He would not open his door. He doesn’t go out. He doesn’t eat. He always cries. We cannot talk to him,” Mrs. Pritchard sobs as she states.

It all began a year ago when Johnny crossed paths with an accident. He bumped his car to a post leaving him with a few injuries. The reason why he bumped his car was he can see vague images. He has been experiencing it for a few months but he did not give much attention to it thinking that it was only short-term. Until, the unexpected came. He finally lost his sight.

It was an illness that he inherited from his grandmother in his father’s side. The incident left him jobless. He stopped school. His girlfriend broke up with him. And his friends, vanished without even any trace.

Mrs. Pritchard, until today, hopes for that day when her son’s sight will be returned. “We have tried looking for some compatible organs for his eyes. I have a cousin who is a nurse in the Philippines and she is trying to help us find it,” Mrs. Pritchard said.

Until that day when his son’s sight returns, her agony will be relieved and it will only be joy that will be sheathing her.

A Mother’s C-ontentment

Lola Cordia in the middle with her grandchildren.

            No other recognition, plaque, or reward would be best for a mother than to see her children all grown-up with their own set of families and have a successful life. It is a living proof that she, alongside her husband, have done a swell job in raising their children into successful and happy individuals.

            Concordia Obrador-Martinez, or Lola Cordia, as she is mostly called by her grandchildren, has received this recognition, a recognition that is far more important than the Nobel Peace Prize or the Academy’s trophy.

Rodel, Lola Cordia’s first child, now has his own house in Manila and a van rental which is very popular among students and friends who like to go on out-of-town trips to nearby provinces in Manila.

Rodel’s son, Alex, is happily married and is living with his wife in Dubai. His second son, Haron, is a call center agent and is planning to get married in a matter of years. Lastly, his daughter, Aleka, is a varsity basketball player in Philippine Women’s University which recently won their basketball championship.

Lola Cordia’s daughter, Jeanette, on the other hand, is now living peacefully in Australia with her husband, Peter. In Australia, they live with Peter’s two daughters in a large farm filled with chickens, horses, and sheep. Jeanette visits the Philippines with her husband after every three years.

Masayang makita na bawat anak ko ay may kanya-kanyang buhay. Kahit wala na ang asaaw ko, alam kong masaya rin siya dahil nagging maayos ang pagpapalaki naming sa kanila. Makakaalis ako ng payapa sa mundo na walang pinoproblema kasi alam ko na masaya na ang mga anak ko. (I am very happy to see my children happy with their own families. I know that my late husband is also very happy with the state of our children because it shows that we did well in raising our children. I can now die at peace, without any doubts, because I know my children are happy.),” Lola Cordia said.

 

A Mother’s E-uphoria

Lola Miyang standing strong and happy two years ago.

            Masaya ako. Mahal ko kayo. (I am happy. I love everyone.)” These were the parting words of the  late, Lola Miyang, as her eyes closed, bit by bit, while a grin was imprinted on her face. It was last year when the angels welcomed her back to paradise and opened the pearly gates to heaven. Anna, one of her granddaughters, recalled the few days she had before God gave back Lola Miyang’s angel wings.

Anna said, “Sabi ni lola noon, natutuwa siya kasi sina papa, tito, at tita ay lumaking hindi bulakbol kundi masipag. (Grandmother said that she was happy that my father, my aunts, and uncles grew to become hard workers and not slackers.)”

According to Anna, Lola Miyang knew that it was only a matter of time before the kiss of death damps on to her face. So, she decided to stay at their house in Taal, Batangas with a few relatives.

Lagi mo lang makikita si lola na nakangiti noon. Kahit masakit ang katawan, umaaray, tapos ngingiti ulit. Laging nakatingin sa taas kasi raw marami siyang naaalala noong bata pa sina papa. Malaki daw pasasalamat niya kasi maligaya na sila papa, tito, at tita. (You will notice her smiling all the time. There are times when her body aches, she will complain, then smile again. She would always reminisce the time when my father and his siblings were still young. She was very thankful because my father, my aunts, and uncles, are very happy with their lives today.),” Anna stated.

 

Inside a Mother’s Place

            A mother’s pains, lies, agonies, contentment, and euphoria, these are just some of the things that a mother experiences as a sculptor that moulds her children into great individuals. Yes, most of us, will never know what it is like to be in the shoes of our mothers, unless, we experience what it is like.

However, what we are sure about is that inside these edifices, inside these homes, inside our mothers, we are safe. We are nurtured. We are guided. We are blessed. We are loved.

There are still a few more mysteries and secrets inside a mother’s place. But, isn’t it already enough that we do not know? Besides, there are no definite formulas. There are no definite rules.

What is important is we know that there will always be mothers. Not only their doors and windows are wide open; also their hearts.