There is Something About Mothers

By: Anjji Gabriel

“For the hand that rocks the cradle, is the hand that rules the world.”

                                                            William Ross Wallace

“For nothing is impossible with God.”

                                                            Angel Gabriel to Mary (Luke 1: 37)

It was already night when a young man went out to see his beloved girl friend.  He told her that he really, really loves.  His girlfriend told him in response, “do you really, really love me and can you prove it?” The young man said, “Yes, I am willing to do anything to prove my love for you is true!”  His girlfriend asked the young man to get his mother’s heart and bring it to her as a proof of his love for her.  Immediately, the young man took her mother’s heart and rushed back to bring it to his girlfriend. In his haste, his feet slipped, fell down and cried out in pain.  Then he heard a voice and he realized that it was her mother’s heart asking him, “Are you hurt, my son?” 

When I first heard this story/poem, Ballad of a Mother’s Heart by Jose La Villa Tierra, I thought to myself this is a crazy story.  Will a young man kill his mother, pluck out her heart and bring it to the woman he loves?  Will a girl really ask her boyfriend to do such a crazy thing just to prove his love for her?  This is why we have parables or exaggerated stories that teach us moral lessons.  You may have heard this story before so I will no longer belabor the moral lesson here. 

What I wanted to share with you are three stories about mothers whom I knew.  Not only did I know them but also I actually experienced the kind of love they knew and practiced.  My experience of these mothers’s love led me to believe that “there is something about mothers!”

The first story is more than 2000 years old while the two other stories were more recent.  All of them though happened in the year of our Lord (Anno Domini)!

“How will this be,” Mary asked the angel, “since I am a virgin?” She seemed confused when Angel Gabriel broke the news that she has found favor with God and that she will be with child and give birth to a son and she will name him Jesus. The angel explained everything that will happen and concluded with these powerful words, “For nothing is impossible with God.”  Mary believed the angel and treasured everything in her heart. 

Thirty years after the child grew up in wisdom and stature.  He was invited to a wedding party that he and her mother attended.  The wedding party was not yet over but the host ran out of wine.  Mary turned to Jesus, saying, “They have no more wine”.  Jesus replied, “woman, why are you involving me in this.  My time has not yet come.”  Mary called the servants and told them, “do whatever he tells you.”  Then the miracle of turning water into wine happened.  The host would have been embarrassed had they ran out of wine.  Instead, he was praised for being a great host by serving the best wine for last!

What is it about Mary that she knew what was the best thing to do in that situation.  This story must be thereal origin of the truism that “a mother knows best”.

I know another woman named Agripina, who at a young age of 23 gave birth to his first-born child.  She was a dressmaker while her husband was jobless during that time.  She bore six more children after the first child.  How she and her husband raised them and sent them all to finish college was short of a miracle.   Maybe not like the turning of the water into wine, but it is still a miracle in my book!

She needed to support the meager income of her husband to be able to make both ends meet and ensure that there is always food on the table.  She raised hogs, ventured into an eatery business, sold on installment leather goods made in Marikina, and provided care giving to elderly people to earn some money.  She did everything she could to keep her promise to all her children that she, together with her husband, will send all of them to school and get their college degrees.  She kept this promise. 

In the year 2020 at a very ripe age of 87 she moved to the other side of heaven to be with her husband who went ahead of her 13 years before.  When we celebrated her first year anniversary in April of this year we stayed at our own homes to pray and share the food that we prepared for this special occasion.  I was pleasantly surprised to know that she still has money in the bank that my sister used to pay for the food she ordered and delivered to each family to share and celebrate this special occasion.  She is on the other side of heaven and yet she was able to provide the food for all of us for a meaningful commemoration of her first year death anniversary.  There is something about my mother!

I miss her but I will never forget her.  I fondly call her, “Nanay Elay” and she always knew me as her first – born son.

Her sacrificial love is really something inspirational and for my sisters aspirational too.  This is something about mothers that continues to surprise me.

There is another special person in my life.  At age 24 she said “Yes, father”, in response to the question of the priest officiating our marriage,  “Lynda Ana, do you take Angelito to be your husband to have and to hold from this day forward, for better or for worse, for richer or for poorer, in sickness and in health, to love and to cherish, until death do us part?”  I also pledged that vow to her and gave her the “arrhae” saying, “I give you this “arrhae” as a pledge of my love and dedication to your welfare” that she gladly accepted.

This was the beginning of our journey as husband and wife and later as parents to our four children.  We were credentialed Certified Public Accountants (CPA) so we both landed good jobs to raise our family well. 

With four school-aged children, the challenge of a working mother became real for my wife.  She wanted to guide and tutor our children so they would do well in school.  She desired this in her heart so she prayed to God that if I earned enough income to support our growing children and increasing household expenses, she would stay home and become a full time homemaker. 

She had a high paying job as a senior manager in a multinational company when God reminded her of her prayer.  I also had a steady job in a public accounting firm and was eventually admitted to the partnership.  This allowed me to share in firm’s profit and to earn enough income to support my family.

She thought long and hard about this decision that she needed to make and to keep a promise she made when she prayed to God about her heart’s desire.   “Should I give up a steady career and a high paying job to become a full time homemaker instead?” was her question. 

We were both CPAs so projecting the household expenses and how much income needed to support them was the easy part.  My wife’s giving up her flourishing career as a senior manager was the more difficult decision for us. 

She chose to care for the children and manage the household affairs over the prospects of a promising career.  I am truly grateful for her courage to devote more time for the children and for our family.  Her choosing the career of a full time homemaker made a difference in our family.  All our children performed well in school and finished their chosen degrees.  I was able to focus on my work to meet the challenging demands of serving our people and our clients.

I chose the word courage to describe my wife’s decision.  Courage or bravery is one of the virtues of a true warrior.  Together with loyalty and truthfulness, they are the virtues of a true warrior.

I was reminded of a scene in the movie, Mulan.  When the heroine, Mulan, successfully saved the emperor and the dynasty by demonstrating the virtues inscribed in her sword, loyal, brave and true, she was invited to lead the team of warrior to protect the emperor and the dynasty.

Mulan declined the offer of the emperor because she wanted to go back to her family and make it right with them. 

The emperor’s response to Mulan was one of the highlights of the movie, “Devotion to family is an essential virtue.”  He allowed Mulan to go back to her family. 

At a later scene the commander of the emperor’s army visited Mulan, who was now reconciled with her family.  He gave her a gift from the emperor.  It was a new sword to replace her sword that she lost when she battled the enemy who wanted to kill the emperor.

The three virtues of the warrior, loyal, brave and true, were inscribed on the sword.  When she turned to the other side, there was a fourth virtue inscribed which read, “devotion to family”.

My wife’s pursuits may not come close to those of Mulan’s, the legendary warrior, but her courage to become a full time homemaker is one of the virtues of a true warrior.  She also devoted her life to our family, an essential virtue in the words of the emperor.

Devotion to family is one of the “somethings” about mothers.  I saw that in my wife, Lyn, the mother of our four children.

Sacrificial love is another “something” about mothers.  My Nanay Elay passed on this kind of love to all of us.

Nothing is impossible with God is the other “something” about mothers.  Mary of Nazareth, the mother of Jesus, knew this.  She is one mother really who knows best!

As we celebrate Mother’s Day today, I invite you all to a toast to all Mothers of the world. 

William Ross Wallace immortalized a fitting toast to all mothers in this poem:

The Hand that Rocks the Cradle

Blessing on the hand of a woman!

Angels guard her strength and grace;

In the cottage, palace, bovel!

O, no matter where the place!

Would that never storms assailed it;

Rainbows ever gently curled;

For the hand that rocks the cradle

Is the hand that rules the world.

Infancy’s the tender fountain;

Power may with beauty flow,

Mother’s first to guide the streamlet.

From the souls unresting grow.

Growing on for good or evil,

Sunshine streamed or darkness hurled;

For the hand that rocks the cradle

Is the hand that rules the world.

Women, how divine your mission

Here upon our natal sod;

Keep, O keep the young heart open

Always to the breath of God!

All true trophies of the ages

Are from mother love impearled;

For the hand that rocks the cradle

Is the hand that rules the world.

Blessings on the hand of women!

Fathers, sons and daughters cry,

And the sacred song is mingled

With the worship of the sky –

Mingled where no tempest darkens,

Rainbows ever more are curled!

For the hand that rocks the cradle

Is the hand that rules the world.

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