High Blood

A wonderful feeling to do one’s duty

03:28 AM May 10, 2016

I was at the polling place at 6 a.m. and found that, already, there were three lines of people just checking which room they were assigned for voting. Some senior citizens were directed to a room on the third floor, but I appreciate the thoughtfulness of this forced exercise. Anticipating the worst, I had taken my pill for nerve pain and it must have helped; I got there in one piece.

On my way down, I passed the same people still lined up by the stairway.


I had been paying attention to the voting tips in the newspapers and on TV. These enabled me to accomplish, hassle-free and in the least amount of time, this task that would daunt a senior citizen. It was a wonderful feeling to do one’s duty and quickly get out of there. I hope the best man or woman wins.

The barangay secretary had promised to have me fetched at 6 a.m. and taken to the polling place. But when we called the barangay to confirm this, no one knew anything. The excuse was that it was too early and the office personnel had not come in yet. I was afraid to go to the polling place by myself, not knowing exactly where it was, but I decided to be brave for my own sake. I took a taxi and, following my nose, found the place.


On my way back, a tricycle conveniently passed by me and I took it to get home. I told the tricycle driver to drop me off at a famous pizza restaurant beside which our gate is located, but an unseen hand decided to take charge: The driver, who was a bit talkative, dropped me off at a burger place instead. The temptation was too great to ignore, so I found myself having breakfast and reading my favorite newspaper, the Inquirer.

But the words of the tricycle driver lingered in my mind. He had asked me if I felt there was any change from the last presidential election. I said yes, the prices of commodities were higher by a few pesos more, the number of street dwellers has tripled, and criminals have become more daring. He said the candidates of the last election made many promises yet unfulfilled, and I couldn’t agree more. Maybe we should constantly air recordings of the promises these candidates made, so we can hold them to their words.

At 7:30 a.m. I was back in my condo unit. And I can’t believe the luck I had despite having started on a worrisome note.

* * *

Yesterday also, many sons and daughters continued celebrating Mothers’ Day. The “eat all you can” restaurants were filled to the last seat. The “mom’s lunch” was free if there were four diners, so, in effect, these sons and daughters were really treating themselves.

But lucky are those moms who have children who acknowledge and have not forgotten what their mothers sacrificed for them.

What is it like to be a mother? Well, first, there’s the pain suffered during childbirth. It is said that no other pain can compare. But even before that fateful birth event when, it’s said, a woman has one foot in the grave, she has already given up her life for her child. She lost her calcium supply to the fetus, and after she gives birth she will find that she has lost her hair, her teeth, and her tiny waistline. A few years more and she would look like a wreck before she knows what hit her.


A woman must marry a man less good-looking than she so that when this happens, he would not have a reason to leave her. But no guarantees, mind you.

A mother’s pain is not over after childbirth, and the joy experienced in cradling an adorable child in one’s arms is short-lived. She still has to go through the mental and physical stress of seeing that child, say a son, through the years of babyhood, boyhood and manhood, and then when she needs him the most, he finds another woman to replace her.

Well, offspring will not forget a mother’s sacrifices, and during birthdays, Christmases and Mothers Days, they are there to take her out to lunch, never mind if they don’t come around again after that to see to her financial or emotional needs until the next obligatory lunch.

Mothers Days, birthdays and Christmases are also times of longing and sadness for many mothers. Some sons are so full of greed that they demand papers to be signed even as the mother lies on her hospital bed recovering from a mild stroke.

A son, without any sense of shame, loudly declared his wish, saying: “Why doesn’t she just drop dead!” One son asked his mother for money to fix his motorcycle even as she lay dying. Still, he was no hypocrite; he never shed a tear even as she was being laid 6 feet under. Another son has constant fights with his mother because he wants his share of her wealth like it was really an entitlement for him. I can easily guess that the first thing on his agenda when she turns over her properties to him is to throw her out in the streets.

Woe unto the mothers who cannot imagine that this tiny, helpless bundle of joy can turn out to be the monster who will be the death of her when he grows up.

Still, I hope you mothers all had a happy Mothers’ Day!


Shirley Wilson de las Alas is pushing 78 and “feeling younger,” she says. “Although I can guess that I will be pretty ugly in a few years more, I realize that to enjoy life from day to day, doing what one loves to do—like reading, writing and playing a musical instrument—is more important than worrying about wrinkles.”

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TAGS: Elections 2016, motherhood, Mothers’ Day, Parenting, Philippine elections, relationships, Senior citizen, Seniors, Voting
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