A Mother’s Love, Wisdom and Grace: Reflecting on Her Impact
Inay, or Mommy “Aying” to some of us, was an extraordinary woman who navigated the challenging role of motherhood with grace, even without a formal guidebook. I attempted to write about her more than a decade ago, shortly after her passing, and it was a tough endeavor. Putting her entire motherhood journey into words was emotionally taxing, but it was something I felt compelled to do to convey my deep feelings for her by putting into words the profound impact she had on our lives.
Although she’s no longer physically with us, Inay remains a constant source of guidance, protection, and friendship in our hearts. There have been moments when she visited in my dreams (especially when I was abroad) alongside my father, who departed before her, reassuring me that they still watch over their children, celebrate our accomplishments, and provide solace during life’s trials.
As previously shared in a previous blog, our mother was a devoted homemaker who raised her children and attending to our needs with unwavering dedication. She played a pivotal role in shaping our decision-making abilities and interpersonal skills. While her hands may not have graced the corporate boardrooms, they certainly rocked the cradle, embodying the very essence of motherhood.
Here are some endearing and remarkable facts about Inay, which she may not have been aware of, and I believe recounting them is the most fitting way to honor her (a humble tribute) on her birthday.
Selfless Kindness and Generosity: Inay was incredibly selfless, kind-hearted, and generous, yet she had a firm and resolute character. I remember how, as kids, she would gather us to recite not only the Angelus at 6 pm each day but also the Holy Rosary with the Litany and other prayers, and not starting until every one of us was present. If someone was still playing outside, she had a distinctive way of calling us home, a bird-like whistle that let us know it was time to come home. While it was somewhat amusing, we were also aware that it came with responsibilities and consequences if we were late.
Entrepreneurial Spirit: When some of my older siblings embarked on their college journeys, Inay ventured into a small store business to supplement the family’s income. She passed on her business acumen, teaching me about wholesale/retail consignment and pricing strategies. She had a knack for the barter system, exchanging our goods for commodities that poor farmers needed. She even fashioned dresses for her children, and her self-taught sewing skills extended to making our own curtains and pillowcases.
Patience, Relentlessness, and Piety: Inay’s unwavering patience, relentless dedication, and deep piety were hallmarks of her character. From a young age, I witnessed her waking up early, around 3 or 4 am, to kneel beside her bed and pray the Holy Rosary and other devotions. She continued this habit throughout her life, even into her later years. She attended daily morning Mass, often bringing us bread or food on her way back. Inay was not only my first teacher but my catechist as well, imparting spiritual knowledge, basic prayers, the Angelus, and later, the Holy Rosary with the Litany. Her constant prayers instilled in me a deep appreciation for the significance of this spiritual practice.
Doctor, Nurse, Mentor, Critic, and Friend: During our bouts of illness as children, Inay was our dedicated nurse, staying up all night caring for us, preparing our favorite meals, administering medicines, and providing emotional support. She was also our critic, always ready to comment on our attire. Her praises were often conveyed through quiet smiles. Above all, she was our dearest friend. After our father’s passing, she traveled between her children’s homes, organizing family reunions and spending quality time with us. Despite occassional disagreements and rivalries, these gatherings were filled with love and sumptuous meals.
On her last birthday, we celebrated her in grand style, showering her with gifts, flowers, and heartfelt messages. She was thrilled, as though she were a young woman turning 18 again. We sang “Through the Years” with a personalized twist, and I regret not having composed this tribute earlier to offer a more meaningful birthday message. My mother’s happiness came from seeing her children complete their education and grow into successful adults.
Saying goodbye to her was profoundly challenging and difficult, but I cherish and treasure the memories and the knowledge that she watches over us, prays for us, and comforts us from above. To our beloved Inay, on your birthday, we extend our heartfelt wishes to you, may your (and Daddy with our dear sisters, Mimi and baby eldest Teresita too) day be filled with boundless love and joy with our Lord God in Heaven, our loving Mama Mary, and with all the Angels and Saints. Amen.