My mom had me when she was 17 and she never had it easy. She said her craving for chili pepper was madness, and her appetite for buko (coconut) was exceptional. She was often ill on her fourth month of gestation, and worse, during her eighth month she slipped and fell down half a flight of stairs, injuring herself. Everyone feared for her life and for the baby inside of her, too.
Fortunately, we both survived that ordeal but the agony wasn’t really over for my mom. On the 24th of October in 1988, in the midst of Typhoon Unsang (international name, Typhoon Ruby), one of the strongest typhoons to strike the Philippines, my mom fought for her life and mine. The typhoon flooded our town and made roads unpassable. My mom went into labor at home without her doctor and midwife. I cannot imagine the pain she had to go through, I cannot even breathe every time I try to imagine her struggles on that fateful day.
When she held me in her arms for the first time, she said she felt like she was reborn. She said that my birth was her renewal.
Thirty years ago today, my wonder woman mom battled for my life and hers, and that’s why I am here today celebrating and living my blissful life.
I’m the joy to her pains, she added.
She told me again this story today while we were hiking to visit the San Francisco Javier chapel in Hanginan. It took us almost four hours because we chose the longer and more challenging route that gave us a better glimpse of the breathtaking mountain and ocean views.
Today, my friends and loved ones are celebrating my birthday and I’m extremely grateful, but today isn’t really about me. It has always been and will always be about my dearest mother (and of course, my loving father, too, who helped my mom in making and raising me well).
Today and everyday of my life, I celebrate the day my wonder woman fought for my life three decades ago today. That alone, I can’t thank Daddy God and the Universes enough.