“My dear child” said Thetis, mother of Greek warrior Achilles while counselling her son who was asking for blessings before going to war, “be happily married. You can live in peace with a wonderful family, a doting wife and wonderful children. They will love you truly. Their children will always remember you with fondness and their children’s children…. and then, your name will be forgotten. If you go to war, your courage will be remembered, your greatness preserved even for thousands of years. But in that war, while you will be celebrated and honoured, will be your doom. That day you fought would also be your last.”
I never, even for a while, entertained the thought of being remembered for ages. Much more so, believe that I am one of those characters I constantly would look up to with reverence. Suffice it to say, I merely wanted to be remembered as a good child, a doting son to a wonderful mother. But mothers are all the same, whether mythical or common place.
And just like in mythology, I remember mother counselled me sometime ago which nearly corresponded to what Thetis said to her son who was on the way to battle the Trojans. My mother directed me, “My dear son, I will always be with you and I will always guide you everywhere, just be obedient. Study well and be a scholar someday if you can. It will be your legacy and mine.”
Like Achilles who got into war, I went to school. I tried to be an obedient child but it was, by far, a great effort to be a scholar. I merely contented myself instead on recalling that which I read about a Chinese sage who wrote,” If you want to be remembered, do any of this: write a book, plant a tree or sire a son.” The sage never mentioned any reference to war and so, I took note of it and heartedly committed his aphorism in my mind. Later in the day, as I thread life’s convoluted paths, I was able to write several books. Not contented, from the proceeds of my works, I was able to buy a parcel of lot where I planted trees. Not contented still, I sired children. That way, I can fulfil what Achilles tried before but got doomed but in my case, I am still alive to see what the world had intended as far as my accomplishments have amounted to.
And, with everything thrown along the way, from rusted nails to shards of broken glasses and occasional dead cats, this time without any shade of threatening spears and swords, although there were bits of painful glances and innuendoes, there is fun.
Writing made me write more (prose and poetry) and encouraged me further to publish so much. Planting trees was so enervating that I even tried to miniaturize nature. And of course, the familial way, multiplying my clan. That would make any Greek hero a run for his money. That in itself, again, is doubling the fun.
I even upped the ante by honing my skills in fine arts, like caricatures, portrait sculpture and painting. With a space in between time, I tried my hand and trained my ear in music, playing the guitar, the electric organ and the drums. I never auditioned in media but there I was for almost a year on airwaves as an opinion broadcaster. I exerted efforts too in automotive, photography, culinary science, acupuncture, drafting, surveying, publishing and in martial arts, just about anything my hands could lay on.
That was of course my way of expressing my devotion to my mother whose affection to her son cannot be equalled.
Compressing everything in a short lifespan just to be remembered at times is the curse of mythical figures which to a large extent is a recipe for enjoyment. It could be copied, it could be a template, it could be an inspiration. This is what every mother wanted for their children in the first place.
Mothers indeed can push their children to the limits of their capabilities. Had it not for Sta. Monica, the Church would not have a St. Agustine. Had it not for Nancy Hanks Lincoln and step mother Sarah Bush Johnson, Abraham would have been one of the bums in slave infested USA. Had it not for Sarah Chaplain, Charlie would not have contributed his genius to the world of entertainment. So on and so forth.
All mothers are the same, well, except that their children had a choice to be different.