March is known as women’s month, March 8 being International Women’s Day. But in the Philippines it is also considered graduation month.
To close this very special month, we thought of reprinting a graduation story written by Inquirer columnist Cathy S. Babao-Guballa, which, on close reading, is also a “herstory” of three generations of women.
In the article, Cathy ruminates about the high school graduation of daughter Pia and how she feels having graduated too “after more than a decade of shuttling her to and from school.” She then goes back to her own school days when her mother, actress Caridad Sanchez, was doing the same thing for her.
Read on and be reminded of how we felt – or would feel – “graduating along with our own kids”.
Our sincerest thanks to Cathy for allowing us to have this article reprinted on our blog.
Parents graduate along with their kids
Written by Cathy S. Babao-Guballa
The movie in my mind began to play again the other day as my daughter graduated from high school. After 14 years, we finally bade goodbye to familiar roads, corridors and faces. Notice that I said “we.” Because after more than a decade of shuttling her to and from school, I felt I had graduated too.
Watching her walk up the stage to receive her diploma, I thought about how my mother felt 27 years ago. Perhaps back then, she had felt the same way I do now.
Mom had driven me faithfully, with me in my green and white uniform, to and from the sprawling green campus on Katipunan. On rainy days, she would wade through flood to pick me up, totally oblivious of her celebrity status.
In school in the ’70s and ’80s, I was always known as the girl who wore Pocahontas pigtails, and the one whose artista mom drove her to and from school each day. My high school diploma was as much my mother’s as it was mine.
Some three decades later, my daughter graduated with the entire caboodle cheering her on, including her yaya.
How different it was for me back in 1983, when I had only my mother and brother to cheer me on. The summer before graduation, I had lost my father to a heart attack. On graduation day in 1982, I missed him terribly.
For my daughter on her graduation day, there was mostly joy, though I’m pretty sure that the day did not pass without her remembering her own loss too, many years ago, when she lost her kid brother to sickness.
Graduation season always makes us both wistful and hopeful. Time flies by too fast, but I keep telling close friends how grateful I am that for most of those 14 years, I was hands-on in raising my daughter. Our children are truly our greatest blessings.
Commencement exercises also mark the beginning of a new chapter in her life, and I must slowly learn to let go. The circle of life goes on as our daughter finds herself on the very same campus that her father and I once found ourselves in.
This morning, my daughter and I walked through her new campus as she began making preparations for her new life come June. I eagerly walked her through the many corridors that were once so familiar to me. Though much has changed, a lot of things remain the same. I thought it was uncanny that she opted to wear a yellow Ninoy Aquino shirt with the classic Ninoy image and “Ninoy lives in my heart” written on it. The very same shirt was in vogue when I was a freshman in college on the year that Ninoy was assassinated.
And so the memories of the years spent on campus – both happy and sad, came flooding back. Passing by the bookshop, I could not help but purchase a blue and white shirt that resonated with me that morning. The shirt, emblazoned with a quote from the school’s most famous alumnus (Dr. Jose Rizal) on his thoughts about our school, called out to me – “I spent many happy years there.” Though high school was fun, I found college years to be even better. I pray that it will be the same for my daughter and for the many other graduates who leave their comfort zones this month. The world lies waiting for you – seize it with faith, kindness, diligence and compassion. Congratulations!
[This article was published in the March 25, 2009 issue of the Philippine Daily Inquirer. Please click here to read the original column online. Visit the following blogs to read more articles by the writer: Midlife Mysteries, Cathy Chronicles, and Grief Is A Journey. ]