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Page added on May 23, 2018

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All About Mom

By Consuelo (Chit) E. Munar

Long before “Mother’s Day” was conceived, the month of May in ancient Greece and Rome, dedicated to pagan goddesses connected to fertility and springtime (Artemis and Flora). This, combined with other European rituals commemorating the new season of spring, led many Western cultures to view May as a month of life and motherhood. In fact, Long before “Mother’s Day” was ever conceived, the modern celebration is closely related to the innate desire to honour maternity during the spring months.

Mother’s Day is a special day of celebration honouring the Mother of the family, as well as motherhood and the influence of mothers in society. On this day children give cards and presents to their mother as a sign of their love, their appreciation and gratitude. Knowing my mom loved plants, flowers and religious articles, those were things I pampered her with on Mother’s Day.

My mother passed away last year at the very ripe age of 98. She truly lived a long, fulfilling life. At her funeral last June, 2017, I delivered my emotional tribute to her. I opened my eulogy with this: my mom was an ordinary, strong woman who did extraordinary things during her lifetime. First of all, she was a woman of great faith, deeply believed in the power of prayers. For decades, she was very devoted to Our Mother of Perpetual Help, the great intercessor, the perfect Christian.

My mom lived a true Christian life, manifested her faith with actions. Her generosity, kindness, love and hospitality were boundless. She opened our home in Manila to many people-kins, relatives and town mates who needed a place to stay, either while pursuing careers or just visiting the city. Her hospitality was impeccable.

Etched in my mind was her demonstration of her generosity and kindness.  During my teens, she hired women to do laundry and iron our clothes each weekend of every month. Besides the daily wages she gave them, she fed them at breakfast, lunch and gave them snacks. In America, she did the same to Mexican helpers she hired as cleaners and gardeners. She provided them, too, extra clothing and food to bring home.

From the time my mom and dad started a family in 1936, my mom was a stay-home mom in her entire life. Although short of financial resources, she had other resources to her disposal when my siblings and I were going to college. She said, “ I don’t mind losing my inheritance for as long as all my children can secure a college education, the education I never had.” That was one of the greatest sacrifices she had to face and endure- to lose several of her land inheritance and assets.

In her nineties, I can’t believe she could still sing Latin hymns like Tantum Ergo, O Salutaris Hostia and others. I asked her how she learned them. She said she used to sing in the choir of our St. Stephen Parish and for the decades of devotion she made to Our Mother of Perpetual Help in Baclaran. At times when I visited her, we sang together classical Filipino serenades that my papa taught her and me like “Pakiusap”and “Madaling Araw.”

Remarkably, my mom could recall lines from the Proverbs section of the Bible. On top of her head, she would blurt out, “Trust in the Lord with all your heart. Remember the Lord in everything you do.” I thanked her for reminding me always to keep believing and trusting the Lord and to keep believing in myself. Another favourite line of hers is: “be generous and you will be prosperous. Help others and you will be helped.”

My mom wasn’t perfect…she was a human being but she did her very best. My own children used to accuse me of being overprotective to them.  I used to accuse my mom the same. I admit there were times we can’t seem to see eye to eye to each other. She was hard on me but deep in my heart I knew she loved me. She was after my well-being. She was concerned about my future. She wanted the best for me and my siblings. I recognized that….I learned that…..I understood that.


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