Imagine yourself joining a beauty pageant, it could be Mr. or Miss Universe. Now it is time for the question and answer portion, and your question goes like this: “What do you think is the most difficult job in the world and why?” Would you feel any pressure? How would you address that?
Ladies and gentlemen, I have asked myself exactly the same question when I was twelve. And I still have the same answer until today.
One and a half decades ago, I could still recall the principal’s speech delivered on our graduation day. The message was clear to me—it said if you’re just a mere grass crawling on the ground, don’t ever wish of becoming a giant tree. I understood that, I was just a grass, but it really didn’t matter to me then. I knew the principal was somehow frustrated, he wanted his niece to be in the highest honors, but the teachers gave that award to me. Not to brag, but I worked for it. I studied until late nights, and would wake up early dawn to help in the household chores. I had been used to living life the hard way. I knew we were not well-off. I had to go to school on slippers. You wouldn’t believe me but I had my first pair of shoes when I was in fifth grade. I had to wear only two or three clothes for the whole week so I had to wash them everyday.
On weekends, I would go to basketball games and sell candies and cigarettes or at the cemetery where I could peddle my candles and hand-made flowers. In one way or another, somehow, I had contributed to the family income. I was aware we didn’t have enough money to make both ends meet. But I knew I could make a difference, because I knew that for every sacrifice I had offered, there was somebody who did more.
Many years had passed but every single detail of each experience I had is still very memorable for me. Looking back to my last year in college, that was the hardest part for me. It was the time when I had to live with my aunt who was sick and her husband was away. I had to take care of the kids. I was a working student then, finishing my thesis, so I had to leave school around ten in the evening. I would be home by eleven, sleep by eleven thirty or twelve midnight, wake-up at 4 a.m., prepare breakfast, pack the kids’ lunch, drop them off at school, and I had to be on my way to the city before 6:45 a.m., otherwise I would be trapped in the peak hours traffic jam. That was my daily routine from Mondays through Fridays. That wasn’t easy but I survived! I knew I had to be strong. During those times when I felt tired and wanted to give-up, I would think of someone who had been my inspiration for years. This person had worked so hard. So unconditional is her love I could not repay. Had it not been for her, I could not have become what I am now. I know I didn’t fail her. I just did the least that I could do.
Now posing the same question to myself again—what is the most difficult job in the world? I would still say the same thing, it’s motherhood. You cannot command a child to grow up this way and not that way. You see, it takes critical formative years to rear a child. Somehow in little ways, I know I had made my mother proud. Her efforts are not in vain. Now, I am confident to say that my life is a tribute to her.
Ladies and gentlemen, this month we celebrate Mother’s Day. Let us show them how much difference they have brought to this world. Motherhood for me is still the most challenging job in the world but the most rewarding of all! Salute to all the moms out there!