Of May flowers and mothers
May is one of my favourite months. It is the month when flowers start to bloom. And yes, it it getting greener here in Winnipeg. Not only is May the month in which we celebrate Mother’s Day, I celebrate my birthday in May, as well.
A celebrity once said, “A birthday is something between you and your mom, whoever you are in the world.” I couldn’t agree more.
Although my birthday is still a couple of weeks away, let me share with you the circumstances of my birth.
Mama was in labour with me for three days. I was a breach baby and had to be delivered by C-Section. Surgery cost a lot of money and it took Papa three days to come up with the required fee. My poor mother suffered labour pains for three long agonizing days before I was born. When I was a little girl, she would show me the long vertical scar on her stomach and she would tell me how I was born. So, you see, as a young girl, I was already aware of the suffering that my mother went through just to have me. But that doesn’t compare to the challenges that she had to deal with when she decided to leave an abusive relationship and raise sis and me as a single parent.
Seeking for greener pastures, Mama left the Philippines to work here in Canada in 1980. She left sis and me with relatives. It was hard on all of us but sis and I understood why she left. Although, being a mother now, I couldn’t imagine leaving my kids – not being there to help them with homework, going to their school activities, graduation, missing their birthdays, not being there every single day. I now realize the unselfish sacrifice my mother did just so that she could put her beloved daughters through college. I now realize the selfish acts both sis and I did back then and how we must have broken Mama’s heart.
It was in May 1989 – a few weeks before my flower birthday* – when I learned that I was pregnant with my first baby. I was 24, unmarried, and confused. Although I was reluctant to leave my beloved partner, my motherly instincts kicked in right away when I learned that my sponsorship paper had finally been approved. It didn’t take me very long to decide whether to leave or not. Life was just so hard back home and I had to think about my baby’s future. I left my partner behind – of course, hoping to sponsor him later – and I was reunited with my mother after nine long years.
*I have learned that a flower birthday is when you turn the age of your date of birth. If you were born on the 12th of the month, you have your flower birthday on your 12th birthday.