[Mother’s Day] The best gift

Ghio Angelo Ong
What is the best gift your mother has given you?

ALWAYS FORGIVING. Ghio will never not ask for forgiveness from his mom again. Photo from Ghio Angelo Ong

MANILA, Philippines – Last Maundy Thursday, April 5, Mama and I got the chance to visit Walkway: Reflections on the Stations of the Cross at the Bonifacio High Street. Set up at the al fresco mall’s lawn, it was a creative and interactive representation of the Way of the Cross by Catholics where devotees can read the messages related to the Passion, death and resurrection of Jesus, see some art installations and participate in activities that can let them reflect on how Jesus went through the last and most painful stages of His life.

Station 10 shows the scene where Jesus entrusted Mary to his favorite disciple, John the Evangelist. But the reflection was not all about that. It told how Mary watched her son grow up to face every challenge during His public ministry, and endured seeing her son suffer what was said to be the most gruesome punishment in all of history. It also said that the same characteristics of Mary are the very nature of most of the world’s mothers: ever-caring, ever-patient, ever-supportive.

But it was what was written in the “Act” portion of the reflection that made me break down and eventually cry, not minding the crowd who were also reflecting on the same message.

Come on, who could dare deny the fact that your Mama (or whatever you call her) has sacrificed almost everything for you to live in this world full of harsh realities?

I am the youngest in a brood of 4, born 24 minutes before Ash Wednesday ended, 20 years ago. Mama was 39 years old at the time. Despite her age, it was a normal delivery, and I came out of her womb healthy. I had often thought that a woman of such age would not be able to bear a child for 9 months. Yet, she did.

I spent my toddler years grabbing most of Mama’s time, even during office hours. Yes, she used to bring me to her office, where she was secretary. I was the apple of the eye of her colleagues. Good thing I was able to relieve their stress, though on her part it must have been a hassle, carrying me on her way to and from work. 

Soon, I would be diagnosed with mild autism, which turned out to be only a form of speech deficiency. Mama had no choice but to resign from her work to look after me and manage my condition; so did Papa. It was a difficult situation to deal with then; I would frequently become short-tempered and freak out, yet Mama would always watch me from the window of the hospital room where I underwent neurology tests, no matter how long it would take.

It is moving for me even now, thinking how she gave up her career and a possibly brighter future for our family, just for me.

As I started attending school after overcoming my disability, and Mama was still there for me. She would eagerly go up the stage every time I received awards, excited to receive the medal and put it around my neck, collect all my awards, even flaunt them to her friends.

She was and always is forever proud of whatever I achieve, big or small; even passing my internship application for RAPPLER.

I will also forever cherish every moment I spend with her. I will always be her chaperone. She will always be the “cushion” I hug whenever I feel down or just want be sweet to her. After all, she’s the only person I look forward to being with day after day.

But, just like any relationship, there are times when Mama and I would disagree on some matters. It would often end with us being bitter towards each other. I would blame her for messing up my plans, and Mama would say how annoyed she is about my pride and arrogance.

I seldom asked for her forgiveness. I firmly stood by what I believed was right.

After reading the Station 10 reflection, though, I started to feel regret.

I broke down and sobbed so hard on Mama’s shoulder. I told her how much I loved her and said sorry for, I guess, every wrong I made, each shortcoming I had committed. She just answered, “Bakit ka nagso-sorry? (Why are you saying sorry?)”

STRONG SUPPORT SYSTEM. Ghio with his mom and the rest of their family. Photo from Ghio Angelo Ong

Forgiving and forgetting. These are what a mother can do. Her child can disregard everything she has done for him as he goes on with life; but at the end of the day, he would always seek for her comforting forgiveness, and she would be there, always ready to grant it.

Above any effort she makes for her dear child, forgiveness will always be a mother’s best gift. And for that she will be loved.

Beyond eternity. – Rappler.com

(Two days left before the Father’s Day month of June. Share us your “father story.” Email your story and photos with subject heading WORLD’S BEST DAD to desk@rappler.com. See you on June 17, 3 PM, for a live Tweet convo @rapplerdotcom #loveyoudad.)

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