They say that God’s greatest gift to a mother is a child. For a child like me, my mother is the best blessing that He had given me from the very threshold of my existence.

More than 30 years ago, she was that provinciana from Pangasinan—pursuing her studies in Education while working as a part time assistant in a furniture shop.

Years after her graduation, she married and then gave birth to her two daughters, and settled to teaching elementary pupils.

She spent 25 years teaching pupils who are now successful in their own endeavours. In that years, she struggle with our father, working hard and doing all their best to meet both ends and send us to school

Today, she is three years close from her retirement, contented that she has a nurse as a daughter, and, uhm, me, a struggling college student trying hard to take home that diploma for her.

My mother said that when she was as young as me, she was very neat. Her curly hair is tidily squeezed in a bun or effortlessly falls in her shoulders. She wears long skirts, neatly polished shoes, and a friendly smile.

Obviously, I got this curly hair of mine from her. While she has that cute ringlet hair everybody adores, I have my long, curly, messy locks that have not been combed for months (the hairdresser advised me not to to). And so, I did not really get all that tidiness of her.

Though we have the same curly hair and all, I am different. I have this kind of boldness. I wear clothes unconventionally—those that are from my lola’s old cabinet, those I get from thrift shops, and even from old baby clothes.

Before I go to college, she would not let me get out of the house unless I wear what she wants me to—that of a terno blouse and pants, with matching pearl earrings and the like, that I have always disobey.

Now that I am in college, I wear whatever I want, as long as it still pleases my mother and my sister’s eyes. I hang out with friends till dawn, drink (which they do not know), and make the most out of my remaining college days.

I’m scared when I see her piercing eyes looking at mine that make me realize that I’ve done something wrong. I’m annoyed when she turns into a nagger and repeatedly says my mistakes in my face or when she keeps on reminding me to memorize the subject verb agreement. I don’t like it when she asks who’s texting me in the middle of the night, who’s calling me early in the morning or who am I with when I go out.

But then, I don’t loathe her for that. I love her even more instead. Because, as cliché as it may seem, I know, that my mother knows best.

What I like most about her is that she deeply understands. She understands why I go home at pre-dawn, why I attend the 7 o’clock worship instead of the mass in our church, my own belief of God, my abrupt decisions and careless attitude , why I don’t attend classes due to a mountain of responsibilities, and why I cry without explaining. That in spite these circumstances I am in right now, she knows that I know my own track. That she believes in my capability as an individual and she trusts the decision I made.

Just a week ago, one of my happiest moment happened. And that is having a conversation with her about love relationships and all. Before, that thing was like a taboo. But last week was different. She open-mindedly answered my questions and advised me what to do and what not.

I know that when I fail, she’ll always be there; sitting in a chair, doing her lesson plans for the next day, while patiently waiting for me to come home.

But that’s the thing I am mostly scared of—to fail and disappoint her.

For the past four years, I have been a headache. I was hospitalized that cost us into a large debt, I have this on-going student disciplinary case, I’m on a limbo, and I have an unstable health condition.

But really, I love my mother more. I may not always say those words to her but I see to it that I shower her with love. Whenever I come home, I would kiss her in the cheek, tell her how my week was, and hug her when I sleep.

My heart cries when I see her cry but it leaps with joy when she smiles. I know her sacrifices and because that, I’m doing my all to make it up to her and pay her back.

She gave birth to me, introduced me to the world, and served as my first teacher of life. She scolds me when I’m being disrespectful and even slapped me one time. She listens to my rants about schoolwork and Dawn, laughs at my crazy jokes at home, uplifts me when I’m down and believes in my dreams.

She’s my strength, my light and my life and I’ll never be what I am right now if not for her.

I am now 20 – more matured and responsible in life. But still, I know that I am still her baby girl with that curly hair. Because through this curly hair of mine, I know, and I’m proud, that I am my mother’s daughter.