She married at the very young age of 18 at the height of her dreams of having a career, but because she couldn't have her own way - she married my dad through the influence of my grandmother - who's quite a very strict Spaniard and approves of my dad very much.
My sister was born after just a few years and I followed 11 years after. When she was pregnant with me, my father fell seriously ill and was bedridden for three years. It was my mom who single-handedly took care of my father, the household chores, my sister as well as her personal needs and work. It was one of the toughest times my mother had to endure, but she did it nonetheless.
Despite all her sacrifices as a wife and as a mother, she was as steadfast and resilient all throughout. She never let any difficulty get the best of her and instead always wielded all of her will to overcome all kinds of challenges and obstacles. Of course she does have her weak moments just like any human, but she makes it a point not to show this to anyone, not even to us.
By nature, my mother is an achiever whether in school or any kind of work that she was involved with. It's not so much being a perfectionist, but being second-best is and will never be part of her vocabulary. When she starts something, she will definitely do it the best way she can the first time and will finish it no matter what. She is a person who will never compromise her beliefs, outspoken and quite well-versed in terms of legalities and makes her a formidable foe for those who would even attempt to step on her toes.
My mother was considered the driving force behind our family, she gave importance to values, respect, proper decorum and etiquette as well as responsibility, professionalism and high work ethic standards. She was a friend you could talk to about anything under the sun and she can be a friend to our friends as well. She's a counselor, someone to lean on, someone you could tell jokes to even if it's corny and a person who would always want the best for her children, even if it means sacrificing her own dreams and aspirations.
She was our greatest fan in every endeavor and achievement and she was our foremost sympathizer during times of misfortunes and failures. Someone who would take up all the sufferings and pain rather than allow her children to experience them first hand.
Even now that my sister and I are both married, my mom is still a mother to us. She never fails to give us advice about life lessons, frustrations and disappointments. Even if we are miles apart, our bond remains as steadfast as it was when we were younger.
Society usually frowns on the closeness of sons and mothers and labelled it as: "mama's boy". I will never comprehend society as a whole, but will never be ashamed of the immense love that I have for my mother. If not for mothers in general, there wouldn't be any future leaders, future professionals or even future generations.
I do not know when my mother and I would be reunited, but we do find the time to communicate and touch base, so to speak. It is during these special occasions and holidays that I get to miss her a lot and even the family that I was a part of. We grew up full of love, affection and attention from our mother and this is what makes our household, a home worth coming home to.
While growing up, I yearned to have the same qualities that she has and achieve as much as she did. It wasn't just brought about by her expectations for me to be as efficient and strong as she is, but because she just wanted me to be more: "life-resistant" or "life-ready" for that matter.
It's only now that I realize that I am her in my own unique way, as effortless, unnoticeable and unexpected as it could be and I wouldn't have it in any other way. The majority of the knowledge and experiences that I have imparted in my 8 years of teaching, practically came from her. So in a sense, it's as if it has always been her educating the many students that I have encountered, it was her giving advice to some of my friends that needed it the most and it was her who consoled those that needed a shoulder to cry on or cracked jokes to those that needed a good laugh.
The way she is to me, IS the way I am exactly to my students and my friends. It's a no-brainer that we're so much alike in many ways that I could ever imagine.
So, if people ask me who my mentor is or why I am the way I am - I always proudly tell them of my maternal affinity as well as proclivities. She will always be the mentor behind the educator and the reason for my existence.
"Yo soy hijo de mi madre!" ("I am my mother's son!")