Always. Mom is the word. The first word that always sprang out of my mind, the first person I thought of, whenever I did something. I would imagine how she would react if she found out what I was doing at the moment, and if it was something she wouldn't approve of, I would smile mischievously, thinking I scored again.
My mom was nowhere near perfect. She worked more than she mothered her children. There were no warm baths, reading and tucking-in-bed at night. It was just plain good night, no kisses and hugs. No birthday cakes, no gifts in fancy wrappers. I would get cash from my parents and Grandpa-- yes, at grade school, just cold hard cash.. On a Christmas day, Grandpa even gifted me and my sister stock certificates from the school he was running. The only real gift I ever received was the little tricycle my Grandpa brought home for me on my birthday after promising him I would manage his school after he dies.
Daddy was the good guy-- he never lifted a finger on me and my sister. Always the stern one, Mama was the contrabida. Whenever my sister and I did something she didn't approve of, the belt-- my Daddy's-- would come out. Even when we were already in our teens, we were still scared of the belt. For this, I hated my mom. When my Dad fell ill and eventually died, my Mom became this stronger, sterner, more resilient version of a mother, more capable of raising two kids all by herself. I was seven that time, and I realized there was no more good guy to save me from the villain that was my mom.
"My sister and I became sort of wrapped up in our own world. The more Mom established the rules, the more we created our own."
Home before six. I played at my cousins' house til 10am.
The farthest I could walk to is school and church. My childhood friends and I would ride our bikes and would go as far as the nearby town.
No dating. My sister started going out with cute boys right before she even started wearing bra. While I, of course, obliged, having no one to date. As a child, I was awkward. I was a late bloomer. I didn't have a lot of crushes like the other girls did. Now, in my 20's, I am a crazy teenager..
"If caught red-handed, we were punished. We did what we wanted to do-- there was no stopping us. To mom, it was crazy and it drove her mad-angry. To me, it was anarchy."
And mine bloomed into a full blown anarchy when I reached college. I did "The Forbiddens"-- all except do drugs. I just didn't have the opportunity to befriend a junkie but given the chance, I would have tried it once.. I did all these to forsake my Mom, but only in moderation. Yes, of course, I hated her but at the same time, I loved her-- still love her, actually.. And I wasn't bent on self-destruction. The consensus would agree, that I was the best girl in our clan because I did great in my studies.
"In between the Bloody Mary's, partying and Black Bat's, I still found time studying and even excelling in accounting, and later, in the health and sciences."
I remember when I was two. I always clung, like a gecko lizard, to the hem of my mom's dress. One day, she and my sister were going somewhere and as they were about to leave, I cried and flailed my arms wildly; I wanted to go with them. My grandma held me in her arms and I cried all day and only stopped when Mama was there again beside me.
I remember when I was riding this tiny mountain bike and I braked much too abruptly and the next thing I knew, I was on the concrete, plus a scraped shoulder cap, knee cap and elbow. My Mom scolded me and hugged me tight and made me promise never to do crazy stunts again.
"I remember having my first period and I cried. She held my face and looked me in the eye and told me I am normal and explained the baby-making machine I dreaded. I was thirteen and I slept beside my mom that night."
I remember when I was in my third year high school and I had mumps and it was recognition day and I didn't want to show up with swollen parotids but my Mom encouraged me to go up the stage and receive my With Honors medal.
I remember when I was a freshman at Saint Louis University and mom visited me and my sister and we walked the streets of Baguio City and later, when it got so cold, we cooped up inside the apartment room me and my sister shared and heated the casseroles my Mom so lovingly prepared.
I remember my Graduation Day and we were running late and there were no more seats for parents and family and Mom didn't care because she's too preoccupied with the fact that her bunso was finally going up that stage..
I remember when a certain incident happened and it brought Mama and me closer than ever.. It concerned fat drops of tears, and lots of hugging and comforting. She had no one else to seek comfort from and I had no one else to confide to and so we only had each other to turn to..
Just like that, it all went away. I realized nothing in life measures up more than the acceptance and understanding of a mother. No matter how many arguments you had, no matter how much you hurt each other, you're still together.
"Perhaps the umbilical cord is a metaphor for the perpetual bond children have with their mothers. Maybe, what they call 'mother's instinct' could be derived from that metaphor."
I guess there is no clear, standard definition of the perfect mother. In my own standards, my mom is perfect. She tried so hard to keep me from making mistakes, but knew she couldn't be there watching me forever. Finally, she accepted the fact that she can no longer keep me away from the sun, nor shelter me away from the storms.. She had allowed me to grow, rain or shine. Allowed me to take the path I wanted to take..
|Mom with Pussycat and Lola (:|
When I was growing up, I didn't want to be like my mother. Yes, we still argue about mundane things, we have different opinions about almost everything. But she's my Mama, always. No one can ever replace that. I know I can never grow up into the splendid woman that she is.