For Greek philosopher Plato, beauty is, in essence, the object of love, an idea fitting for Love Month. What has beauty being an object of love to do with February?

In my meandering mind, it makes sense. We are our parents’ love objects. There are exceptions, I know, but no matter how much we suffer because of a bad childhood, the Universe finds a way to correct our symmetrical personality, if we allow it.

I had a chance conversation with Cheezy, a mother of three, this week. She said her mother was not the demonstrative type, rarely giving hugs and kisses to her brood of nine children. She instead balanced this lack of physical gesture of love with demonstrative courage and strength to go on after her husband passed away, leaving her with nine mouths to feed. It was not easy.

Cheezy said, “My mother was an early riser. She was a stickler for punctuality. She did not want to be late for her work as day maid or her sideline selling food. And she demanded the same excellence from us. Maybe that’s why I’m now time-conscious and exactly the same as my children.”

Cheezy has a steady job to provide for her children. She shows them the same grade of love her own mother gave her. She might not hug her children that much yet they feel her care for them from head to toe.

Another woman I talked with this week was Jess who comes from a family of 11, she being the youngest. As she talked, I felt her pride for her mother.

Jessa said, “My mother was the youngest of 10 children, eight girls and two boys.” There was asymmetry in how love was distributed in the family.

Jessa’s father had the notion that only boys should finish a college course and for the girls, an elementary education was enough “because anyway you will get married and your husband will take care of you.”

Jessa’s mother, who herself lacked formal education, did not buy that notion. “My mother was strong and not easily discouraged.”

She found a way to send Jessa off for higher education, fighting for her daughter by engaging in small scale business, never getting loans, and holding on to her faith that God is enough.

In response, Jessa hooked scholarships throughout her school years and tucked in a few academic honors to her credit.

Jessa’s mother gave full trust in this youngest child as she pursued her university education in Cebu City. Her mother silenced naysayers when they said Jessa would fail because of early marriage to a city guy. “My mom taught me not to be envious of other people and to be circumspect when it came to trusting people.”

It is this legacy of love that Jessa is passing on to her six children.

You may know a Cheezy or a Jessa in your neighborhood. They look ordinary. Talk to them. They have a love story to tell.