Today is Mother’s Day, a day dedicated to all maternal units in the world. With the holiday comes an awareness of the great power and responsibility that the single most important woman in our lives holds. For who would put up with the hassles of pregnancy and childbirth, the Herculean task of changing diapers and feeding her young, the bother of watching over and giving her offspring advice time and again and most challenging, providing balance in the household as a reassuring voice and complementing force to the father’s strong will? If any job rivaled that of a teacher for the title of “Most Overworked and Underpaid Profession”, motherhood would be that occupation.

And yet women from all walks of life trudge into this world of minimal reward and monumental sacrifice, ending up as bearers of the crowning achievement of their role as a creator and protector of life. All because they, in putting great emphasis on the well-being of souls who seek a warm hug and a friendly ear in the crazy world of human existence, put less emphasis on their own needs and decide to become bigger than what they were before. And while they are not always placed into the situation by choice, the decision to accept and live with the life handed to them is a sign of the might they wield as the ‘light of the household”.

This is a picture of my mother and grandmother (her mom). There is indeed truth to the adage that "behind every successful man is a woman".

Writing this entry, I recalled the serious falling-out I had with my mother shortly before I graduated from high school. While she aspired for me to go to a big-name university in Manila, I went against her decision and ended up studying at a local university in Angeles City as I was not confident in her ability to support me and my sisters in our educational expenses. Having already stayed with my dad since their acrimonious split, I took on his more pragmatic approach to life and I decided not to burden her any further at that point. Coupled with my having to graduate by taking remedial summer classes, this led to a bitter argument where in my frustration with her stance, I actually ended up cursing her the links no one had previously (or since) seen before.

It would take almost seven months before we reconciled and by the time we had gotten to that step, I had just found out that she was leaving for the United States weeks later. That meeting would be the last time I would ever see her in person from that time on, as she has now called Chicago, Illinois her home. And while this was not the first time she had gone abroad for years on end, the guilt has not totally left my heart since I felt I had wasted precious time during the time she had not yet gone abroad.

My mother was not a prototypical martyr mother. Sure, she cared for us greatly. But she would always find time to hang out with her friends, join parties and events as they would come up and still enjoy life the way she saw fit. And while me and my siblings were commonly at odds with her due to her taste for higher living standards, we appreciated how she would look after us when we would spend time with her. And her decision to live in another country was not as selfish as many would assume, as she has helped us with our many expenses at home to this very day by getting jobs from different sectors of society. Even at the height of the recession, she continually found ways to help us get through with our expenses and even splurge once in a while through the many “balikbayan boxes” she sent on an almost quarterly basis.

While their annulment did pain me before, I have come to accept the facts of my parent’s situation and I have embraced my half and step-siblings with the same love that I have showered my biological sisters. And while my mother has gone through her fair share of suitors and boyfriends since, I continue to hope and pray that she will finally find the deserving man who will take good care of her in her old age and allow her to live the rest of her years comfortably. Considering a woman who had given up a fair share for us, it is the one thing I want her to have after seeing her tangling with myriad mighty forces for many long years.

If circumstances permit, my siblings and I will attempt to contact her later through the magic of modern-day telecommunication technology. Considering how much she has given up in our name, hearing from us is the least we can do. And if fate would bring her back to the islands, I would hope to see her alive and well so that I could pull this one last sharp thorn from my heart.

So to all the mothers in the world, biological and adopted, single and married, young and old, you are the reason we live and grow in life. Thank you for everything, and we love you so much. Cheers!

*****

The much-awaited bout between welterweight champion Manny “Pac-Man” Pacquiao and fearsome challenger “Sugar” Shane Mosley will be taking place in just a few hours. It will end a journey that began just a few years ago, when after the breakdown of negotiations for a bout with undefeated Floyd “Fish Lips” Gayweather, Jr., the reigning pound-for-pound king received a challenge from the veteran African-American pugilist. Other boxers would face the now-ready challengers before meeting today, but this bout stands out for many reasons.

For one, Manny is now an elected public official, the congressman for the sole district of his home province of Saranggani in southern Mindanao. In the build-up to his bout with Antonio Margarito last year, many noted that the boxer-politician was not as focused as before and he had even traveled multiple times between the chilly city of Baguio (where he was training and conditioning himself) and the capital city of Manila (where Congress holds its offices) interrupting his training. And of course, if the worst were to befall Pacquiao in his bout with Mosley, there is serious concern that he would not be able to exercise his duties as an elected public official.

Second, Mosley is no pushover. He has a career as a standout amateur boxer, winning multiple awards in the process. And as a professional, he has won world titles in three weight classes and has tangled with many of the best pugilists of the past two decades. Despite his being seven years senior, he can compensate for the advanced age and its slowing effects by utilizing the experience he has had in previous fights with world-class athletes.

Finally, there is a growing number of people who are actually wanting Pacquiao to retire soon while he is in the peak of health and well-being. Foremost among these is his own mother Dionisia Pacquiao, who is fearful of the deathly risks of the sport. And of course, seeing his young family without a father figure is seriously tragic. One only needs to see the recent trials of fellow boxer Z Gorres to realize the risks of a sport rooted in survival of the fittest.

But being a fan of perhaps the greatest boxer of this generation, one more fight will be enough for me. And if all goes well, it will be with Fish Lips and the last seconds of Pacquiao’s career will show the Filipino mopping the floor with the American. But for now, willing challenger Mosley should not be overlooked or underestimated. And my bet still stands squarely with the reigning pound-for-pound king, win or lose.

And while watching the bout live at a restaurant or bar as my sister and I had intended will not take place, I am hoping that the Internet will help cure my craving for lessons from the sweet science. For now, the suspense is killing me.

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