Good ol’ mom. We take our mothers for granted. We don’t give them enough credit for who and what we have become when usually, they are the primary sculptors of their children.
Before there were “Tiger Moms,” there were women like my mother, a first-generation immigrant who came to this country after WW II.
She was among the large number of Filipinas allowed to immigrate to the U.S. with their husbands, the soldiers and sailors who fought in behalf of America in WWII.
“Mom” didn’t have a college degree but because she finished high school, she was allowed to be a teacher in the small barrio where she was raised in the Philippines.
When she came to America as a young woman, she found herself processing tomatoes in a California tomato field to supplement the low Army paycheck earned by my father.
Later she worked in a cannery canning those same tomatoes for delivery across the country. I remember her plastic apron was so soaked with tomatoes that the fruit couldn’t be removed from the plastic and came home smelling of the juicy product.
While my father was on overseas assignment for the U.S. Army, my mom had to fend for herself in a strange land, learning to drive, paying the bills and raising three increasingly Americanized children.
Fortunately we lived in a neighborhood where the other Filipinas were also wives of military men and they all found themselves in similar situations at one time or another. The Filipino mothers watched over all the children, cooked for each other and formed a strong support system before that term was invented by psychologists and sociologists.
As the father of two daughters, I have to acknowledge the immense influence their mother had on the two young women who have become two of my best friends. They are better people because of their mom.
This video reenactment is based on a true story. The little girl, Anchara Poonsawat, grew up to earn a bachelor’s degree in 2013 and to become her own self-assured, confident woman.
(Ed Diokno writes a blog :Views From The Edge: news and analysis from an Asian American perspective.)
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