Celebrating Ma's 78th Birthday

Ma on an ATV with grandson Christian. 2017

          We celebrated her 78th birthday last night.  Every birthday is a chance to recall her influence.

          My sister and her family from the States visited June this year.  That was when my wife took the photograph above. 

          Thinking independently and having the courage to stand on my decision are traits I learned from her.  I learned to weigh and make decisions because of her.  I can be decisive but (hopefully) not reckless.  I can weigh options, think of the benefits and cost, and take responsibility for my decisions.

          She submitted to my father but at the same time she has initiated major decisions in our lives -- like taking the family up north to live in a mining community for 18 years.  That was how our family lived a relatively better life compared to life in the province.   My 3 older siblings finished college because of another major decision.  Father worked in the Middle East for 4 straight years.  That wasn't a choice he made on his own.  I believe Ma prodded him again.

          Photo above shows one of her other traits.  She is adventurous.  She can take on any new experience.  Sometimes without any hesitation.  And to this extent, she is more adventurous than me.

          Last June, while we were still deciding who gets to sit with whom on an ATV adventure ride and who would be left to tend my niece, Violet (her youngest grandchild and her namesake), I turned and saw her already seated with my nephew!  So that was it.  The question has been settled long before it was raised.   That's me and baby Violet at the rightmost edge of the photo.

Ma pretending to drive the ATV.  Mayon in the background.

          She is getting older.  Sometimes she accepts it.  Sometimes she ignores it.  One thing is constant -- no one can tell her what to do.  She still takes the long 42 km. jeepney ride to the city.  Sometimes more than once a week.  I would ask her, "Where are you going?"  She responds, "Why do you need to know?"

          She lives life on her terms. Nothing and no one will stop her. No one ever did. No one ever can. I hope she wills at least 10 more years into her life. I pray God wills it too. Not for her sake, but for ours.

Celebrating her 78th with grand kids Third, Violet and Joy and my wife, Nerissa.

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