Mother's Day has come and gone, but the day before that a little girl asked me a question that needed an answer. She asked me, "are you Preemie Girl's real mother?" Now, I don't know why little girls would even think to ask such questions, but I would make a smart guess that they learn about these words and ideas from the adults around them. I don't think an innocent child would know that there is such a thing as a "real" mom (or dad, for that matter), if they are not made aware of the difference or this was not pointed out to them by...yes, adults. But that is another story.
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The Woman of Substance My mom was born in Cebu City on May 1, 1934, the Feast of St. Joseph the Worker to Norberto Yanson Riego, a ship captain and Estrella Guingona Meñes, a pharmacist. They named her "Erlinda" although she claims that she has another name, Maritza but she never got a record of it because birth records in Cebu before the war were destroyed by fire. From age three, she was raised in Manila where she had her secondary and college education at the Philippine Women’s University (PWU), graduating Cum Laude. She was the student council president, an Intercollegiate Girl of the Philippines, the school's representative to national student organizations. She rubbed shoulders with national leaders, so much so that people around her thought they had her future life all figured out.