Thursday, May 11, 2006

Mom's The Word

Ours is not a Hallmark Card-type family. Meaning, we don’t smile at each other goofily, hug each other and say, “I love you” every 30 seconds. (Yikes. I’d consider that type to be on the other end of the dynsfunctionality continuum!!)

If I start going Hall-marky on my family members, they’d most probably think I’m dying or have gone bonkers. I’d feel the same if they did that to me.

Before you start thinking we’re a heap of cold fish, I would have you know that I can go “Hall-marky” to friends who are into it. It all depends on the cultural norms of the relationship I am in.

But before I get carried away with that stuff (hmmm….this topic merits a lengthy blog), I’d just like to talk about my mom. As I said, we weren’t brought up amongst sunshine and roses. There were lots of things that happened when I was a kid that scarred me—but who doesn’t have childhood scars?

I credit my mom for bringing us up well despite the scars.

She was a tower of strength in tough times, yet she taught us not to lean on her so much that we become weak and spineless.

She made sure our wants and needs are provided for, forsaking her own, yet not so much as to make us giddy and greedy over worldly excesses.

She disciplines us when we misbehave, but just enough for us to know our boundaries and not so much that she breaks our spirit.

She cares for us when we were sick, but doesn’t fuss over us so much so that we become soft and whiney.

Mom is the only daughter of Chinese immigrants who came to make a new life in the Philippines many years ago. Her own childhood was empty of gentility and creature comforts. Rough was a word they lived by. All these toughened her spirit, but thankfully, not her heart.

I remember sharing a box of tissues with her over soppy movies. I also remember her being concerned for strangers even over small things, like when an old lady was at a loss on where to line up to buy food in a cafeteria. I also remember her going out of her way to act as peacemaker over many a family mess (hers or a friend’s).

Our house will never make it to the cover of Martha Stewart Living. There are stacks of magazines and newspapers piled high on certain strategic corners of the house—a sign that my mom has not gotten over her hoarding tendencies probably developed during her tough childhood days. The kitchen wall has a stain of oil splattered on it— a sign of the many delicious Cantonese dishes she’s whipped up for us. The curtains in the living room don’t match the sofa’s upholstery—a sign that she is more concerned with the fact that we had curtains and a living room to enjoy!

She’s no paragon of love modeled by silly smiling TV moms who lovingly feed their kids with MSG-smothered instant noodles. (Thank God!) She has shown her love in so many other ways—and the fact that three of us kids grew up relatively level-headed, confident and considerate of others, is enough proof of her love.

This blog would no doubt embarrass her (and me—if she reads it). Thankfully, she doesn’t know (or care!) what hi-tech nonsense a blog is. She’s too busy these days being the doting grandma to my two nieces.

I pray,
for the most unselfish human being I know,
a mom who never considered her own needs, only ours,
that as she now basks in the warm glow of her sunset years,
the Lord will be merciful to her and shower her
with much joy…and love,
no matter how soppy.
She deserves it.


Beng said...

Your mom should definitely read this! Sayang naman if she doesn't get the chance. Your last line says it: "She deserves it."

Gypsy said...

shy ako eh...hehehe. I did text my sis in law, whos often on line, so hopefully she'll tell my mom..:)

Beng said...

ah, the subtleties of love. :-)