This post was written last April 26, 2011 in time for my parents’ 42nd anniversary. This was originally written on my other blog– I intentionally did not renew its domain so basically the blog is already non-existent. Good that I was able to save a copy of this post, so I am sharing this here.
She came from a prominent family in Cebu City. She was one of those girls who would be taken to school by a car. Back in those days, there were not so many of them. She went to school in the University of the Philippines Los Banos Campus and took the course she always wanted.
She had no less than 27 suitors, but she decided to give her heart to only one. Her first and last love. Before she could finish her degree, my father already had to work somewhere far. They decided to get married. After a year, my father had to go home to our home town in Bukidnon, Philippines. That’s like miles and oceans away. She packed their bags and went on a journey with my papa… 2 days boat trip from Manila to Cagayan de Oro and almost 10 hours of long, bumpy trip to Bukidnon. She did not say a word when my father said, “our home is somewhere beyond that blue mountain.” She was journeying into the unknown. A city girl, inexperienced and so young– taken into another world. She was that brave. She did it all for love.
She had to endure those nights of having no electricity in our home town back in the 70′s.
She had to awaken the dawn to clean her in-laws’ house just so they would be happy about having her into their house, an addition to 10 other siblings my father have.
She washed clothes outside the house. No household help. She made peanut butter, roasted peanuts, sausages, or baked a cake late at night and sold them in the morning just so my older brother would have milk. Father had to travel for days sometimes for his work and she did not want to be dependent on her in-laws.
She cooked for hundreds of people when my father ran for office in our province, and warmly welcomed visitors anytime of the day. It would be worth-noting that father had one rule: people need not have to take off their shoes when they get inside the house. She did not complain one bit. She served– all for love.
She had to finish her degree while pregnant with my second brother. She did not finish her degree in UP, but even that she had to give up– all for love.
After graduation, she ended up being hired as a teacher in the university where she graduated from. But she had to give up her career when she had me. Again, a thing she gave up… all for love.
She had to be strong when life was hard. She had to pray with tears everyday when she was told by the doctors that it would be very possible that she had cancer. She said “no!” and bravely claimed God’s healing. She could not die. We still needed her. She got her strength at the thought that there is a husband who needed her and there are 5 of us whose world will be shattered if she was gone.
She willingly let us go when we had to pursue our own callings in life. She did not limit us. She was not selfish to keep us where we were. She opened her arms and set us free. And yet we know her prayers keep us on track. She still prays every single morning, with tears in her eyes. Mentioning our names: children and grandchildren… One by one, untiringly, selflessly. She does all these things all for love.
Mama Joy is one of the bravest women I know. She loves without limits, gives without any inhibitions– and she never tires in doing so. All the things she does never cease to amaze me.
These photos were taken 2 years ago, during my parents’ 40th wedding anniversary. Today is their 42nd. That young couple who moved to Bukidnon more than 4 decades ago has grown into a big family which I am proudly a part of. 42 years and counting… and going strong– that’s how I describe my parents’ marriage. Oh, the wonders you will see when you do everything for love!
Happy Anniversary, Papa Manny and Mama Joy… and this post is for you, my favorite woman in the world… my one and only Mother. There is none like you, and there will never be. I love you.