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June 8, 2011


"WHY did summer go so quickly/Was it something that you said?"

I think that's how the lines in that song go. Yes, how did summer go so quickly?

By mid-May, it was still supposed to be the heart of summer—fierce hot sun, warm breezes, and out on the beach, blue skies and bluer sea, and the warm white sand tickling your toes as you walk barefoot down the beach in some skimpy outfit that, hopefully, you prepared your summer body to fit into.

Next to Christmas, and sometimes more than Christmas, summer is my favorite season. It's sun and sand and sea, moonlight walks along the beach, or just sitting in the sand staring out to sea, wondering what those flickering lights in the distance are, thinking about people who are out there somewhere beyond this vast expanse of water that separates us. Sometimes remembering someone very dear and very far, and feeling such longing and such loneliness for the sound of a voice, the touch of a hand.

But beyond summertime and summer romances, May is also a special month for women, particularly for that one woman in our life to whom we owe our existence—our mother. The second Sunday of May is the day set aside for this special lady who gave us life, nurtured us, brought us up, taught us values, kissed our hurts well and gave us love and understanding. She shed tears for us when we were hurting, or our hearts were broken, and even kept our secrets for us.

We call her by many names: Mother, mom, mommy, mama, madre, nanay, ima, inay, ina—and by whatever name she's called, in whatever language or dialect, the name evokes tenderness and love and caring. In our Catholic faith, she is Mama Mary with the Child Jesus in her arms, the perpetual mother giving unconditional love to her children. She's also Mother Earth and Mother Nature, two of the mothers most abused by her children.

Sadly, in this our present time, in this century of remarkable technology, that image of the perpetual mother, the eternal woman, seems to be fading.

"Where's Mom?" the grade-schooler asks, coming home from school in mid-afternoon and heading straight for the kitchen. But it isn't Mom in there with ready merienda of milk and cookies. It's Violy the maid, eyes and ears on the Korean soap opera she's watching on TV. "Where's Mom?" the teenage high-schooler asks an empty quiet house as she makes her way to her bedroom, flops down on the bed, cellphone in hand, or TV remote perhaps, and loses herself in her own teenage world.

So where's Mom indeed? Well, she could be in some plush office in Makati, seated in her corporate chair holding a meeting with her board of directors. She could be at a spa getting a body massage in a dim-lit room with soothing piped-in music. She could be at the salon having her nails done, her foot spa'd, her hair re-bonded or her face whitened, facialed, or masqued. She could be with some amigas relishing the latest chismis over hot coffee and doughnuts, or iced tea and bibingka, or making a fourth at the mahjongg table. She could even be at the computer, monitoring her Facebook and Twitter accounts, updating herself on whatever's going on among friends, non-friends, and even strangers.

But then, Mom could just be at the supermarket, shopping for her family's favorite food which she will cook to her family's perfect liking.

In our hearts, whatever be our age, Mom will always be Mom—the one who kisses our hurts well, who listens patiently, who finds a way even for the impossible. The tight warm hug, the strong firm voice, the gentleness, the tenderness. Who else could that be but Mom?

The views expressed are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of HerWord or BusinessWorld.

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