I’m going to take advantage of this day to tell the world about my Mom.
When I first started toying with the idea of doing the Peace Corps my parents were, understandably, confused. Particularly my Mom. You see, my mother grew up in the Philippines. And while her childhood was full of family and love and a lot of good memories, it was also a hard life. And she was proud of all that she was able to give to my sister and me – things that she didn’t have growing up. Why would I want to give that up to go live in a hut somewhere?! Why not just finish school and get a good job?!
She came around though and, being the wonderful mother that she is, was finally able to accept and appreciate my choice to join. She has since turned into one of my biggest cheerleaders and strongest supporters. She has provided me with more insight than anyone else and is the person I often turn to when I need consolation. Why? Because she’s been in my shoes.
No, my mother never did the Peace Corps. But she left her family at a young age (younger than I am now). She married my father, she got pregnant with me, she left her home country (without knowing when she would be able to come back) and moved to a new one. She struggled to perfect her english, she missed her family and, being an army wife, was often without the company of my father. The fear I had going into this situation? The loneliness I sometimes feel? The “why am I even here?” feelings? I’m sure she had all of those and to a much more intense degree that I ever will. Because I have other volunteers to turn to, I have the internet to ease communication, I have a set date for my return to my “old life”. She didn’t.
And you know what she tells me when I’m down?
Baby, I know it’s hard. I’ve been there. But I would do it all over in a second because I loved your father and now I have my two beautiful babies and it was more than worth it.
She’s a stronger woman that I could ever hope to be. And she’s beautiful and feisty and hilarious (any of my friends who have met her can attest to this). She loves my sister, father and me with a fierceness that I almost sometimes can’t even comprehend. She’s one of those rare people that you can’t ever find a gift for, not because they’re picky, but because they say “I don’t need anything, I have everything I need and love and that’s enough” and they mean it.
I love you, Mom.