She is a special woman to me. Hundreds of students call her Ma’am, tens call her Ate, but only three call her Nanay – that’s my sister, my brother and me.
Born Maria Theresa Aboga, the first of five children. She grew up in a poor family but her dreams went beyond what her situation allowed her to. She dreamed of finishing school whatever it takes. She sold palitaw and bananaque in streets, all for her dreams to finish school. She did well in her studies but lack of finances threatened her dreams of getting a college degree.
By the grace of God, she got a scholarship in Gregorio Araneta University Foundation (presently called De La Salle Araneta University). She finally had a chance to finish school but sadly, only Science courses were honored for the scholarship, so her love for Psychology and dreams of being a counselor must be set aside first. She graduated Magna Cum Laude, worked as a teacher then married my father Ben Gayares. She then became a mother of three. Still her dreams of getting a Psychology degree stayed with her for years and years.
After more than two decades of being a working mother of three, she and my dad finally finished sending their last child to school – me. Then, only then, did she consider her dreams of taking Psychology and being a counselor. She and her friend Tita Sally were the oldest in the batch of Diploma in Counseling students in Alliance Graduate School. She could have been discouraged because of her age in the pool of young graduate students but she had more determination than ever to reach for her dreams. Just last April, she graduated and is now very happy doing what she always dreamed of doing. She is living life to the full.
I am not just sharing this to you because of the fact that she’s my mother who loves me and whom I love. I’m sharing this to you because her life is an inspiration to me and everyone who dares to dream. She is the very example of what C.S. Lewis said, “You are never too old to set another goal or to dream a new dream.”