My mother-in-law, Maria Barbara Garrido Guerrero Manibusan (Bobbie) is an amazing woman! Her parents are the late Jose Crisostomo Guerrero (Manggåfan Robat) and Maria Leon Guerrero Garrido (Manggåfan Enriken Måtak).
At the very young age of 16, she fell deeply in love with her soul-mate and married Joaquin (Kin) Taitano Manibusan (Manggåfan Le’le). Together my in-laws had and raised eight children, which of course included my wife Josephine Marie (Fena). This essay is going to be one of the rarest moments I will ever call my mother-in-law Bobbie, and father-in-law, Kin.
For the next 18 years of Bobbie’s marriage to Kin, she dedicated much of her time and attention towards raising their children. Unless you have ever tried, raising eight children with extremely limited resources is quite an obvious challenge. Another challenge called for a certain balance on ensuring all eight children receive equal portions of her love, time and attention. I should know I too come from a family of eight siblings!
I also had a chance to observe the dynamics of my wife’s family, since we were married some 20 years after her parents were married. I then became the oldest of the siblings and six of eight children were still in school at the time! I literally had the opportunity with my wife to help share in the upbringing of some of her siblings. Ah, but I digress…
So back to Bobbie…She was about 36, when I married Fena. Amazingly during that time, Bobbie was in her second year of studies at the University of Guam (UOG). So between raising eight children and the added strains of studies, it compounded her challenges. Talk about i Fuetsan Nana; absolutely incredible!
In addition, she was studying hard towards her goal of becoming a special education teacher for Guam’s public school system. However, because she was married and started having children at a young age, she withdrew from high school. It turned out to be a lengthy sabbatical; but she was determined, tested out and received her General Education Development(GED) high school equivalent, prior to enrolling at UOG. At the age of 38, she achieved her dream and was awarded her Bachelor of Science in Special Education degree from UOG.
Shortly after her graduation, she became a teacher. She taught devotedly within Guam’s public school system. During her teaching years, the family would get together towards the end of the summer and help her prepare her assigned class room for the opening school year. During several occasions, when the government’s budget was quite lean, this involved personal purchases such as paint her classroom, an air condition to ensure her students remain cool during the day, and decorating her class to the point where her students can feel the aura of comfort and that learning can also be a fun experience. Indeed, Bobbie and Kin spent a lot of personal time and funds for the benefit of her students.
Unfortunately, due to health conditions she had no choice but to accept a medical retirement. Bobbie has an ailing heart condition and her diabetic condition has also been problematic. Despite having a teaching career and an unfortunate end to it (at least with the public), she has always remained the backbone of her family. Bobbie is known for her creativity and to this very day, although not as often as before, she continues to engage the children in arts and crafts learning activities.
Sundays are indeed, a day of God and a day of family unity and gatherings. Practically every Sunday, we meet up at the family compound in Mogfog. Once we are there, it seems like we are in another world, because nothing else seems to exist except family time! We have many beautiful photos and video recordings covering our family gatherings. We would even have exclusive performances from her grandchildren.
Everyone’s a winner!
Bobbie’s maternal love, instincts and guidance for her children, grandchildren and great grandchildren will remain eternal. We are drawn by these strengths that seem to bring us back for more.
I am deeply honored by her wealth of love and inspired by her determination and accomplishments! I am also very blessed to be a part of this family! Hu guaiya hao Mom!