Walking in Her Shoes

 

I have walked in my mother’s shoes both literally and figuratively.

When I was seven, I would sneak into my parents’ bedroom on a Saturday, just after they’ve left for work, to try on my mother’s heels. I was intrigued by how she kept her balance as she walked on what appeared to me to be fashionably crafted stilts. An untold number of failed attempts at even making a few awkward steps made me realize at an early age that there was (and still is) an inequity between genders. More importantly, it made me appreciate how kick-ass women are because they were able to excel in their line of work, even when handicapped by something as unnecessary as heels.

Fast forward to my graduation from university, I find myself becoming a chemist like my mother. And much like her, I chose the path of becoming a teacher. Although not my first choice for a career, I found myself staying on for about 15 years now. This is where I would gain greater insight into my mother’s life — the long days and sleepless nights that came with dedicating yourself to the task of being a teacher became a shared experience. It made me understand how when you’re the child of a teacher that you have to share her with each and every one of her students. And my mother has been teaching for close to 50 years now, so that’s quite a huge number of ‘adopted’ siblings.

However, as my ma adds a flourish to her legacy as a great teacher and a lifelong learner, I find myself diverging from her path. I have come to realize that the future chapters to my book lie elsewhere, but I can now say for certain that there are no regrets about everyone and everything that has gotten me to this point.

But before we reach that point of divergence, let me just say —

Ma, I wanted to understand you, so I spent a couple of years walking in your shoes. And although it may not always show, I do love you all the more for it.

Happy Mother’s Day.

__________

*The picture in this post is a panorama of a sunrise at Madridejos, Bantayan. In it are two of the women whom I love most in this life; my mother, Joy, and my wife, Susan.
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