Wearing the black toga, she stared back at me. Her eyes gleaming in excitement; heart pounding like it’s about to get off the rib cage. She flashed a smile. Tears started to stream down her cheeks. Then I felt it — the damp stains of my very own tears. I stood before the mirror with a soft voice whispering “this is for you, Mom,” then went out of my room. I’m ready for my Graduation Day.
The last five years felt like forever of storm of paper work, requirements, exams and anything under the sun that have to be in its place just as not to affect the two-digit mark on my class record. Holding my diploma high up in the air, it was like holding my Mom’s pride higher than what we could have achieved. Finally, she’ll have her chin up for making me march on my graduation day in one of the country’s most prestigious school-Ateneo de Zamboanga University (ADZU).
I remembered how hesitant I was when I received the Blue Eagle Scholarship half a decade ago. My mom encouraged me to enroll in ADZU but the world knows how expensive the tuition is. Yet she said we can do it as long as we’ll help each other. This is how important education to her. We did-but it was never easy. Watching my classmates wear the branded shirts while I sulk in the corner wearing the second hand ukay-ukay faded blouse she bought me for only 15php, I can’t help myself from wishing for more. But never did I complain for I know I sacrificed my younger sibling’s allowance for me to graduate in ADZU that’s known for high quality education-a pride that my Mom told me I will carry through the years.
Yet time changed me. One day, our class decided to go to Cebu City for an educational tour. My Mom hitched a ride with our hired bus so that she can save money for fair on her way back to our hometown in Sibugay Province. I was so embarrassed knowing I was with my classmates and the bus seats were counted already. And worse, she was talking with my crush! I was so humiliated that I was unaware that my facial expression was too obvious for her to notice. After she took off the bus with her sober look, that’s when it occurred to me how stupid I was and was so sorry until now for what I’ve done. She actually cried when she got home, one of my sisters told me-that crushed my heart.
On the day of my graduation, I give this tribute to my Mom who never stopped trying. We were poor but she didn’t give me the reason to stop from reaching the education she always dreamed of attaining. Every time I am tired and in dire need of strength, I think of her. She never failed to give all her efforts for us her children to invest a high quality education we will be using in the future and that, a million thanks will never be enough.
Mom, I offer you this diploma as my tribute to all the great things you have done. You may not be here today to witness this BIG day but I know you’re in my heart wearing that smile. I may have been suddenly pushed from my nest without the knowledge of flying when you passed away two years ago but somehow I learned to flap my wings. All credits to you for making me preparing a strong lady out of me. You knew I could do it-and you were right.
The BEST hero
You taught me that there’s more to this life than branded shirts and convenient living-and that’s LOVE. Wherever you are, you will always be the best teacher, best woman, best mother and most of all, my best hero. Thank you, Mamang. You will always be in our hearts. We love you.
(This article is based on the eyes of my eldest sister, Mariecris, who is now a Certified Public Accountant and currently traveling across the country as an accountant in a big company.)