Today is my mother's 70th birthday. Well, we think it is; her birth records were lost when the municipio at her place of birth burned down. She could be either a year older or younger.
My mother is a woman who has weathered storms, both literal and figurative. At a tender age she was tossed about on a boat headed to Manila from Bacolod, losing her shoes in the process. She nearly died when she rolled down the stairs (pushed by her sister who didn't know better... they were both really young kids at the time). She's endured less-than-perfect familial and romantic relationships in her lifetime, raised two children almost by herself (my father had a lot on his plate, and I do mean a lot) and managed a couple of showbusiness careers. She emerged a strong, feisty, you-better-not-push-me-around kind of woman.
What many people don't know is how soft she actually is. Sometimes, even I forget that side of her.
I know how easy it is to make her cry (it doesn't take very much at all). I've seen the tears fall at heartbreak, be it her own or someone else's... I've seen the front she puts up to show the world at large, and I have also seen it fall, behind closed doors, only for her family to witness. She's tough, but only on the outside. Given what she's had to go through, I can't blame her for protecting her delicate interior.
The only thing I can wish for my Mom on this special day is happiness... in her life, with her loved ones, with herself. If I went through what she's had to, I'd be dead by now. That she's still standing and able to smile earns my absolute respect and admiration.
I love you, Mom. Have a Happy Birthday.