By Herman M. Lagon
Dear Mama Diana,
As your 80th birthday dawns this February 11, I am filled with overwhelming gratitude and admiration for your incredible journey. You, Mama, have been our real-life Wonder Woman, a beacon of strength, love, and wisdom that has guided us through every step of our lives.
After Papa passed away in 1990, you faced the daunting task of raising us four impish kids alone, amidst financial hardships and the endless challenges of single parenthood. Yet, you never faltered. Teaching at two colleges and a university, and even tutoring at night, you showed us what real dedication looks like. Your commitment to our education and well-being, emphasizing its value not just for personal advancement but as a means to contribute to our community, has been the foundation of our upbringing.
Your sacrifices have taught us the true meaning of grit, grace, and gratitude. Even in the toughest times, you never let us feel the absence of love or basic needs. Your ability to balance toughness with love, to instill discipline while trusting us despite our shortcomings, has been nothing short of remarkable.
I am particularly thankful for your unwavering support during my college years, guiding me through my distractions and responsibilities, and even “bribing” me to take the civil engineering board exam while I have already fallen in love with journalism, youth activism, and parenting Psyche Mae. Those moments were pivotal, teaching me to stick to my “why,” persevere, trust my abilities, “sharpen my saw,” and never settle for less, which leads me to pattern my career journey to yours in the academe. Your tough love, high standards, and allergy to mediocrity were not just about academic excellence but about preparing us for life’s challenges.
Mama, your unconditional love has been a masterclass in selflessness and sacrifice. It is a lesson I cherish deeply, even if I am still learning to live it out as fully as you have. Your example has made me a better person, albeit not even half of you, instilled with the values and virtues you hold dear.
On this significant eight-decades-in-the-making milestone, it is clear that nothing compares to a mother’s love. It is the purest form of love, offering unconditional guidance, support, and protection 24-7. Celebrating your 80th birthday is not just about honoring your age; it is about acknowledging the wisdom, experiences, and legacy you, with God’s grace, have built over these years, touching the lives of thousands of your students, relatives, and friends.
As your son, I am incredibly proud and grateful for the golden lessons you have taught us, the unconditional love you have shared, and the concrete example you have set. Your octagenarian birthday is a milestone that celebrates your life and the impact you have had on everyone around you. We, your children, your grandchildren, relatives, colleagues, and friends are all a testament to your extraordinary life.
Here’s to you, Mama Diana, on your 80th birthday. May this day be as bright and beautiful as the love you have shown us all these years. I look forward to celebrating not just today but many more milestones and decades with you. Your legacy of love, grit, and passion is a gift that keeps on giving, and for that, we are eternally grateful.
With all my love and admiration,
Your naughty son,
Doc H fondly describes himself as a ‘student of and for life’ who, like many others, aspires to a life-giving and why-driven world that is grounded in social justice and the pursuit of happiness. His views herewith do not necessarily reflect those of the institutions he is employed or connected with.