The tiny scar on my mother’s face

Once, there was a little boy who threw a chair at her face. It wounded her forehead, and it left a scar.

But she continues to love the little boy anyway.

Because she believes that love should be forgiving, and love should be sacrificial. It must be selfless, and it must be biblical.

If love isn’t all that, maybe it isn’t love at all.

Love means sucking the phlegm out of your newborn’s nose because he’s ill and he couldn’t breathe. It means waking up in the middle of the night, knocking at neighbors’ doors, begging for packs of ice because your baby is having a convulsion.

Love means searching for a tawa-tawa plant because your children have Dengue — and you’re so poor, you couldn’t send them to a clinic. Herbs might work, and prayers too, and if your love won't save them, maybe the love of God will.

Love means taking care of that old lady with terminal colon cancer, the same lady who pushed you in front of a running bus when you’re young.

Love means giving all the money you earn from your first job to the woman who didn’t even send you to college. Although you know you’re good at storytelling, this talent didn’t stand a chance.

They tell you you’re the eldest. They tell you college isn’t for you. They tell you to find work instead.

So, you ensure that your children will have proper education because you believe that this is love — that despite what you lack, your children’s lives will be better than yours.

Love is to walk many miles to sell whatever merienda you could make, so you could earn enough today and secure a breakfast for tomorrow, one that isn’t hot coffee mixed with cold rice from last night.

Love is to tell your child that he may or may not be an honor student, but he will remain your child.

Love is to wake up at three am, begging God to fulfill your children’s dreams because the fulfillment of their dreams, whatever those are, is the fulfillment of yours.

My mother is a sunken chest of stories, and the depth of her love is a lifetime compared to mine. Quite frankly, I questioned this love many times, like that one time she didn’t let me shave and fix my brows.

The world may disagree with her meaning of love, but I know this love is pure — whatever you call it, biblical or not.

When I look at her, sometimes, the scar is the first thing I see.

It reminds me every day that, once upon a time, there’s a little boy who threw a chair at his mom’s face — the same mom who sucked phlegm out of his nose when he was a sick and dying baby.

Maybe one day, the scar will fade away. Maybe it will not. But it’s comforting that despite the scar, my mother wouldn’t unlove me.

I still wish I didn’t throw that chair.

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Hello! Ako si Jomar. I am a storyteller.

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Jomar Villanueva

Jomar Villanueva

Hello! Ako si Jomar. I am a storyteller.

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