DALLAS,TX, May13, 2012/ –I come from a line of very strong women. In fact, when I think about it, my grandmother and her two daughters were ahead of their time. They have declared women’s liberation long before feminists symbolically burned their bra.
So, why am I saying that? You see, my grandparents sent their two daughters to college! This was the 1940s, before WWII started and after the war ended.
My mother Lucy went to the Philippine Normal College to be a teacher before World War II started. Her studies were interrupted when the Japanese bombed Pearl Harbor.
After the war, my mother continued studying to be a teacher while my aunt started college, going to Centro Escolar University for a degree in optometry.
Surprisingly, the two sisters took different paths after their university days were over. My mother decided to continue teaching even after she got married and had children. My aunt chose to be traditional and became a stay-at-home mom.
Because of that, my aunt Lilly had a very big hand in raising me. Though she was not my baby sitter (we had nannies back then), my aunt was still the one at home during the day when both my parents were out working.
So, it’s not really surprising that I feel that I have two mothers because I was actually raised by two women! With their personalities so different, I can honestly say that I got the best from both of them.
You see, my mother is the bookish one between the two sisters. Lucy is well-known in our hometown as “a very smart and intelligent woman.” She taught me how to read. In fact, it was my mother Lucy who taught all their kids to read, except for Hilda who actually grew up here in the U.S. and learned to read here.
Auntie Lilly is the adventurous one. She was always the one challenging us kids in a physical aspect. She was the one who would take us to long walks to Sisilmin or other barrios during summertime. Though she never insisted that we learn how to cook, she taught us by example.
It was a long time ago when I was a child. My mother and my aunt are now in their 80s. When I think of my childhood in Cavinti, these two women dominate my memories. And of course, now that we live here in the U.S., albeit in different states, the two sisters still find time to visit. I also make sure that they see each other as often as we could make it happen.
To these two women – my mother and my aunt: I say… HAPPY MOTHER’S DAY! Thank you for teaching me how to be a good student, how to be adventurous and most of all, thank you for teaching how to love because during all my growing up years, one thing that was constant was the love for one another that we share with the whole family.